Entrepreneurial thinking in training: majoring in economics and responsibility

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Copyright:  Images from the Protestant boarding school Schloss Gaienhofen.

Entrepreneurship should be part of the training, experts like the former IBM manager Gunther Dueck demand. What can that look like in concrete terms?


Here writes for you:


Jan Thomas Otte 55Jan Thomas Otte is a consultant for Accentur, journalist, coach and research fellow at Princeton University.


Entrepreneurial thinking in training

Gunter Dueck. A few months ago, the philosopher, speaker and former IBM manager in the Enquete Commission of the German Bundestag called "Internet and digital society" to integrate economic and entrepreneurial thinking and acting into the training.

In southern Germany practical business lessons are already being practiced at some private high schools. Just like at the Evangelische Internatsschule Schloss Gaienhofen, which is not a business school, but a “normal” school.

Zumwinkel's tax evasion on the curriculum

The Lake Constance ripples outside, the last 13 classmakers indulge for their upcoming high school examination. Teacher Klaus Dinkelaker talks today about tax evasion with the example of Liechtenstein.

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How was it with the affair of ex-Postchef Klaus Zumwinkel? He hid several million euros in the Principality before the German financial authorities.

Sense and nonsense of manager salaries

The students read a newspaper article, Dinkelaker starts his PowerPoint presentation. After a few “slides” there is a mixture of frontal instruction and discussion.

The 19-year-olds talk about the sense and nonsense of millions of managers, the greed for more money, the global flight to taxpayers like Liechtenstein or the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean.

Basis for value orientation

In 90 minutes formulate the 25 students more questions than answers: diligent, committed, no one talks in between, even the class Kasper reports brave.

Not everyone has gotten one of the coveted course places, for some a welcome career springboard, to supplement the still young CV a little. Klaus Dinkelaker is satisfied. He wants his students to recognize the subtle differences in working life, to think about dilemmas, to learn to look from both sides.

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Basics for a responsible job

Suppose the students get a responsible job somewhere else in the world: In his lesson, the students are supposed to get the foundations along the way. They should become good, better managers - ethically, so his hope.

Dinkelaker's children have also attended his classes. His son starts an international consulting company for managers in the autumn. A classical bank theory before business studies would have found Father Dinkelaker in order.

Business and responsibility as a school subject

Business terms such as buy-out phase, CEO compensation or value chain have long been familiar to the students of the high school in Gaienhofen. From the 10th grade onwards, they can apply for a place in “Economics and Responsibility”, which is taught until they graduate from high school.

But there is also religious education, where there are concepts like Christian charity, guilt and forgiveness. In some students, these concepts are more abstract than the commercial vocabulary.

“For us, morality and profit are not opposites”

“For us, morality and profit are not opposites,” says Dinkelacker. Together with his colleague Oliver Nöldeke, he has been teaching the subject for 5 years. Dinkelaker in English “business and society”, Nöldeke in German “economy and responsibility”.

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2007 started the first course, which so far has not been given in Germany. The school was advised by a team of economists. The people in charge had realized that it was too late to teach the economy until the course of studies.

Model project in the southwest

Headmaster Dieter Toder hopes that his students will also take on responsibility for society in a globalized world of business. After school in rowboat, sailing or vocal ensemble.

After graduation from high school and studying in the professional life somewhere in the republic or even abroad. Most students already know what they want to do, which subject they want to study from the winter semester.

Frederic Seng, for example, made his internship in England with a personnel agent specializing in aviation companies. There he improved his language skills, but he also noticed the lack of know-how. From October, he wants to study economic law.

A kind of advanced economics

For Frederic, the subject “Economy and Responsibility” was a kind of advanced business studies: “I want to understand what makes companies tick,” says the 19-year-old.

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Frederic has also learned something else: how prices are generated. And how they affect their affected, internationally operating companies through their daily grasp on the shop shelves.

Economy soon regular subject in many other schools?

It is foreseen that economics as a subject will soon be taught at many other schools. Globalization does not stop in front of the Gaienhofen Gymnasium.

His teachers have to react to global trends: "The experience from this can flow into the further development of economic education at the high school", according to the Stuttgart Ministry of Culture. Maybe not today. But the day after tomorrow.

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  1. Alessandro Vaninetti

    Great contribution, something would have to do more schools.

  2. Ludwig Fuest

    I can only advise everyone to start their own business. Being your own boss is the best you can do. Unfortunately, many do not even dare to do this - precisely because they did not learn something like that in school. A good approach here.

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