A first-hand look at SMEs

Klara Eckel guest speaker at exciting lecture at WHU.

This was a special event, even for the students of the ‘Value creation in family firms’ master’s course by Professor Nadine Kammerlander from the Institute of Family Business and Mittelstand at WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management. The hands-on programme at WHU is based on an intensive exchange between academia and business. Lectures by CEOs, founders and managers are therefore not uncommon at this renowned university. However, a lecture by a contemporary after the long summer break and additional time out due to the coronavirus was received with great enthusiasm by the young students, also obvious among the international participants who could not attend due to the current restrictions and connected via Zoom.

Trained miller Klara Eckel practically grew up in the company and took over production management at the headquarters in Niederzissen in 2019. The topics she covered in the lecture that participants found especially interesting included career development and its challenges, what is expected of the family’s second generation and how to prepare for the future, as was amply evident in the subsequent lively discussion. Viktor Eckel, eldest son of company founder Dr Antje Eckel who also recently joined the company after completing his doctorate, accompanied his sister and was delighted with the participants’ interest and the standard of the many questions they asked. No wonder the event lasted twice as long as expected and only ended due to the beginning of the next course.

Dr. Eckel extends its heartfelt thanks to the organisers of the event and looks forward to the next visit.