Courage News: MBS Family Business Students Visit the German EQUA Foundation for Family Businesses

In two semesters, the Master students intensively scrutinized topics in context with “International Family Firms”, investigating the functioning of modern family enterprises. Recently, the study program closed with a venerable event: Over two days, the MBS students visited the Munich branch of Swiss bank UBS and the EQUA Foundation, both dedicated to promoting and supporting family enterprises.

Support for modern family entrepreneurs

On the Thursday after the excursion to UBS, the Master students’ business concentration “International Family Firms” ended with a visit to the EQUA Foundation (Eigentümer-Qualifizierung-Akademie = Owners’ Qualification Academy). It is the purpose of this non-profit foundation to “support owners holding interests in family enterprises in leading their companies responsibly and professionally with the goal of sustainably securing their long-term future.” 

After a warm welcome by the foundation’s Managing Director, Dr. Rena Haftlmeier-Seiffert, at the organizations premises in Munich-Schwabing, the students presented case studies to which they had applied the concepts they had studied in the past months.

Case studies from entrepreneurial practice

In this part of the academic program, the MBS students had scrutinized own family enterprises as well as “heavy weights” such as Otto Group. In their case studies, the Master students had thoroughly analyzed these companies: They not only had examined the entrepreneurial families themselves, but also their succession procedures and the specific perspective-related challenges of the individual company. The task also included analyzing the relevant market, technology and innovation environments and, based on these, designing specific survival and growth strategies.

After the presentation, a lively discussion with Dr. Haftlmeier-Seiffert developed, and many questions were brought up from both directions, once again enriching the Master students by another important experience.

The two-semester business concentration was wrapped up in a final lunch at Brasserie Schwabing. The students thanked their professor, Dr. Bergfeld, and his team, for two semesters of exhaustive preparation for a career as a successful leader and manager of a family firm. “I represent the fourth generation of our family firm that was founded in 1937. The topics in the business concentration were presented and discussed in a more than adequate manner. The take-out solutions and strategic advice we got were extremely valuable. Our lecturers and professors always took the time to support us personally in our respective presentations”, reported Master student Martin Keilhauer.

What remains to be done is to wish the students a great future in the context of their own family firms, knowing that they did receive the required intellectual equipment from MBS.