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Graduates throw their caps in the air once more

315 graduates from all over the world celebrate their graduation from ESB Business School

By Alfred Max

At a grand ceremony in Reutlingen's Stadthalle on 8 October, professors from ESB Business School presented certificates to the graduating class of 2022. For graduates, the traditional cap toss marked the end of their studies.Celebrating with them: families, friends and partners who had come from over 70 countries. ESB alumna Laura Gersch, now chief financial officer at Allianz Versicherungs-AG, Reutlingen's Mayor of Finance and Economics Roland Wintzen, as well as representatives of the University, School and alumni association offered their congratulations.

"Dear graduates, you can be proud of yourselves! Our standards are high - you have all made it," Prof. Dr. Hendrik Brumme, President of Reutlingen University, rejoiced together with the graduates. "A start in challenging times," as Prof. Dr. Christoph Binder, Dean of ESB Business School, noted with regard to climate change, the pandemic and war: "Your cohort is confronted with a new reality that is full of uncertainties. One thing is certain, however: you have received a solid education at ESB to help shape solutions for the challenges of your time as a leader with growing responsibility. Have the courage to change and the willingness to organise sustainable socio-cultural change with a healthy, critical common sense, commitment and persistent development."

Roland Wintzen, Mayor of Economics and Finance, promoted Reutlingen as a business location, saying "Your studies at ESB have given you the tools you need to start your own business and take on responsibility. To ensure a good start in Reutlingen, the city not only offers favourable start-up loans, but also cooperates closely with the university.”

Keynote speaker Laura Gersch, alumna of ESB Business School and now chief financial officer at Allianz Leben, gave the graduates some good advice: “Remain as people with backbone and attitude, be open to new things and have a clear compass of values. Bring your whole 'I' into your work with both reason and emotions. Listen carefully and say something when it matters to you." Meaningfulness and profit should both go without saying.

The issue of equal rights is a matter close to Laura Gersch's heart, because only 6% of fathers, but 66% of mothers work part-time. The result - in Germany there are glaring differences in the retirement pensions of women and men. On average, women's pension benefits are 40 percent lower than those of men. "However, children and a career are possible," added Gersch, who is herself a mother of two. "In view of the shortage of skilled workers, macroeconomically we cannot afford anything else."

The Otto Johansen Prize for the best Master's thesis was presented to Ewald Kiebler from the MSc Operations Management programme by Dr Jörg Meyer, chairman of Hochschule Reutlingen Campus e. V. The thesis deals with the topic of social robotics in the field of domestic help.

The focus of the review by Bachelor's and Master's students Marie-Carmen Vallejo König, Lukas Grahl, Svenja Höfer and Frithjof Dorka was the 'ESB spirit', the many international encounters on the Reutlingen campus and at the partner universities during the semesters abroad, as well as the countless events, parties and activities of the ESB student network, which allowed the cohort to become close despite the Coronavirus. "We have had the best four years of our lives here in Reutlingen - right up to now," they concluded.  

"We are happy if this is not a farewell, but a new beginning with you as alumni," affirmed Matthias Hartmann, Vice President of ESB Reutlingen Alumni e. V. He called on the graduates to become contact persons and mentors for the active ESB students in their future work.

The highlight of the graduation ceremony was the traditional cap toss, with which 315 graduates were released into a new phase of their lives.