Change in Perspective: Dr. Annette Veltmar on business@school
What made you want to get involved in business@school as a coach around the millennium?
I worked at BCG from 1995 to 2015, most recently as a Principal, and was asked in 1999 if I wanted to coach at the Munich International School (MIS). That was the first time the school had gotten involved, and there was a lot of participation. The project had the same structure as it does today: getting to know business in large companies, business in small companies, and then developing a business idea as a team. It was an exciting time and fun to see things from a different perspective.
Now your sons are attending the same school where you were a coach for business@school and both of them have chosen business@school. Did they make the decision independent of you and your history with business@school?
I did provide a little support in the process. The business@school course competes with sports and Model United Nations at school, so it’s not an easy decision to make. At home I mentioned that I was a coach with business@school and that it is an intense, work-filled project year, but it’s so much fun and you learn so much. It was my older son that motivated my younger son to participate.
Now you’ve been able to see and experience business@school from another perspective through your two sons. What have you seen from that?
Both boys made big strides in their development while participating in business@school. My youngest is in the middle of it, and it’s really rewarding to see how he’s growing with the responsibilities and how his interest in business issues is being sparked. A couple weeks ago, I was able to be present for the phase I presentations and was very impressed by how confidently and professionally the groups presented their analyses. Last week, the student teams went to the companies they are going to analyze in phase II, and my son thought it was really cool. He constantly talks about the company and was definitely impressed by their visit. Now it’s not an issue anymore that the project requires a lot of work because he realizes the value of it.
Do you think business@school helps in finding a profession?
business@school was definitely influential for my older son. He now studies management and technology (at TUM), and I think that he had a clearer idea before other students of what that all entails, thanks to business@school. It served as a foundation for deciding whether he wanted to study business management or economics, and I think that without his business@school experience the discussion wouldn’t have been as thorough.
What is your impression as a mother and business expert of the topic of economic education, entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurial spirit at school, and how relevant is business@school there?
Of course, business plays a much larger role in schools than 25 years ago when business@school was formed as an answer to desperate requests for economic education. With business curriculum, students are now being taught theoretical concepts, but they don’t learn what those things mean for a company. I think business@school is an important complement: It provides hands-on experience, the real-world application, and a peek behind the scenes of business and entrepreneurship.