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50 Years of Business Administration at Reutlingen University - 50 Years in Business

ESB Business School is celebrating a special anniversary: 50 years ago, the first business degree programmes were launched at Reutlingen University. This laid the foundations for a consistently internationally focused education in the areas of Business Administration and Business and Engineering. From the very beginning, the forerunners of today’s ESB Business School were “Truly International”.

On this page you will discover interesting and curious facts from 50 years of business administration at Reutlingen University.

Read even more about our anniversary in our news. In the course of the winter semester, we will also publish interviews with Prof. Dr Hendrik Brumme (President of Reutlingen University), Prof. Dr Christoph Binder (Dean of ESB Business School) and Prof. Dr Oliver Götz (Vice Dean of ESB Business School) on this page.

A Quick Glance at the History Book

Success in business for 50 years: From the very beginning, the School of Business at Reutlingen University has offered a highly international study environment with integrated stays abroad and the first fully integrated double degree programme in Europe. In our picture gallery you can recapture the success story of today’s ESB Business School.

A modest start: The story of the department for Business Administration at Reutlingen University began in the 1970s in this humble building, fondly referred to as the “Schwarzwaldhaus” (Black Forest House) by students and staff.

The Reutlingen Association of Business Administrators (Verein Reutlinger Betriebswirte, VRB) was founded in 1977. It was the first one of its kind for the departments of Foreign Trade and Manufacturing Management.

The signing of contracts with Ècole Supérieure de Commerce de Reims and Middlesex University London on 16 March 1979 marked the birth of the European Degree Programme for Business Administration (Europäisches Studienprogramm für Betriebswirtschaft, ESB).

The contract signing for the new double degree programme took place on “neutral” ground at the IHK Reutlingen.

The first students in the new German-French double degree programme in winter semester 1979/1980

After the start of the German-English double degree programme, former Minister of Science of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg Helmut Engler (l.) and former head of Reutlingen University Prof. Dr Hans-Joachim Fahrenwald (r.) visited principal Dr Raymond Rickett (centre) at Middlesex University London.

On the look out for a new Spanish partner university, the “jury” (Study and Examinations Board) discuss possible candidates in London, 1981.

More than number crunching and business as usual, Reutlingen Business Administration students with English principal Dr Raymond Rickett at the annual Sports Weekend in London, 1983

Several pieces of art by renowned artists can be found on Reutlingen University campus. Seen here: Part 1 of the sculpture “Baum mit Vogel” (Tree with Bird) by Prof. Friedrich Gräsel, photo taken in the 1990s. Today the sculpture is located in front of Building 20 where some lecture rooms of ESB Business School can be found.

Team spirit: ESB goes skiing at Bolzano (South Tyrol), 2008

A question of motivation: ESB cheerleaders at the start of the traditional ‘Cycling for Charity’ relay event in 2008

The international network of ESB Business School is continually growing. Our partners are either on the other side of the globe or within the European vicinity - as can be seen here at the signing of contracts for the German-Polish link in 2008...

...or at the signing of contracts of the German-Dutch link in the same year.

One of ESB’s welcome parties in 2008: The new students obviously enjoyed the swamp soccer match.

ESB Business School’s students and alumni experience the unmistakable ESB spirit.

Networking on a par with corporate partners: Students and companies touch base at numerous career fairs.

Prof. Dr Nello Gaspardo gives a lecture on body language in the annual alumni gathering in 2012.

In 2013, ESB Business School’s quality management system was accredited by the Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA). Reaccreditation took place in 2020 without any further stipulations and ESB continues to bear the seal of the accreditation council for a further 8 years.

Meeting of ESB Business School’s student representatives in 2013

Cycling for Charity: Every year students of ESB Business School collect donations for a good cause. As seen above, the start of 2008’s cycling relay

Virtual graduation: In autumn 2020, ESB Business School’s traditional graduation ceremony took place online for the first time.

ESB Business School supports small and medium-sized companies (KMU) with various research projects. In the picture: The project team of 5G4KMU, a project encouraging the conversion to 5G technology

At the Economic Forum (Wirtschaftsforum, WiFo) 2021, experts discussed challenges and prospects of the German hospital sector. The Economic Forum has been organised by students of ESB Business School since 1996.

In early 2021, the Logistics Research Centre moved from Reutlingen-Rommelsbach to the main campus.

Reutlingen University campus moved to Hohbuch in the 1970s. Since then, the grounds have continuously expanded. Pictured above is the south-facing view of the campus in May 2020

Happy Birthday, ESB!

Alumni of ESB Business School - Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

ESB Business School has been training specialists and executives for large corporations and small and medium-sized enterprises for 50 years – from global players to regional hidden champions. Thanks to a lively alumni network that now spans the globe, our graduates have been very well connected for many years. What do our successful alumni from the last 50 years associate with their time in Reutlingen?

"Founded in 1978/1979, ESB - at that time the European Study Programme for Business Administration - offered the first double degree programme in Germany - ten years before the introduction of the ERASMUS programme. Within a few years, ESB, by then the European School of Business, had become one of the most prestigious business schools in Germany - dubbed the "Swabian Harvard" by Manager Magazin." - Prof. Dr Hans-Jörg Tümmers, first Dean of the European Study Programme for Business Administration (ESB)

"Unbelievable – it’s been more than 40 years and there are so many good memories: my maxim “work hard and play even harder” for example. It was an awesome time with strong personalities and good guys. We were already practising diversity and ‘mental agility’. We were ahead of the times and were well prepared for our careers. I would do it again!" - Rolf Sigmund (ESB 1984), Holder Q+I Consulting & Advisory Board Member at L'Oréal

"50 years of Business Administration – my warmest congratulations on this great anniversary. 1971 is a very special year. I wish you all the best for the future. In 1993 I graduated from ESB Business School with a degree in business administration. That was exactly the right decision. I still benefit today from this excellent international study programme." - Lionel Souque (ESB 1993), CEO at REWE Group

ESB Business School is my academic home. Dedicated lecturers, an international, friendly community of students and an inspiring learning environment shaped me and I still carry the spirit today in my role as Head of Talent Acquisition at Deutsche Bahn. I very much enjoy my regular visits to Reutlingen University - whether as part of a lecture or to attend university council meetings. Happy Birthday, ESB Business School! - Kerstin Wagner (ESB 1994), Head of Talent Acquisition at Deutsche Bahn AG

"Reutlingen University offered me more than just a business degree: international and diverse awareness, building and cultivating relationships and lifelong friendships, balancing of operational knowledge and business expertise as well as the gift of listening to everyone involved to create a healthy team spirit. I owe a lot to Reutlingen University – my warmest congratulations on 50 years of ESB." - Christoph Schell (ESB 1996), CCO at HP Inc.

"My roots are in the subject area of international trade within the International Business degree programme, to which I have always remained loyal as a member of the alumniAWIB board. After the merger with Euro Alumni, today’s ESB Alumni e.V. came into being. The developments are continuing rapidly and positively – I am very pleased about that." – Matthias Kerner (AW 2003), CEO at bmp greengas GmbH

"I look back at my amazing time at ESB Business School with great pleasure. I especially appreciate the strong practical relevance, the international focus and the diversity, which prepared me perfectly for my professional life. I congratulate ESB on its 50th anniversary and I am proud to be a part of this network." – Sebastian Drescher (IB 2011), Associate Partner at Stryber

"My warmest congratulations on ESB’s 50th anniversary – I have very fond memories of my studies at ESB Business School. The project and practice-oriented studies provided me with an excellent preparation for my professional life. I particularly appreciated the opportunity to work together on real-world challenges, which also enabled me to make some close friends." – Meike Kastner (IBD 2014), Venture Partner at BSH Home Appliances Group

"Studying at ESB helps me to fully understand and actively shape business and technical processes. The lectures as well as the internship semesters and semesters abroad provided the ideal opportunity to do this. What I particularly appreciate about ESB Business School is the open exchange with professors, companies and international students." - Vanessa Kolodziej, student in the BSc Production Management (semester 7)

"ESB Business School makes it possible to balance work and further education – even under turbulent circumstances. Many thanks to all those who always ensure the best possible study experience. My warmest congratulations to the School on its 50th anniversary and here’s to many more successful, exciting years!" – Dennis Podrug, student in the MBA International Management Part-Time (semester 2)