Senior pupils studying economics at the at the Cantonal School in Menzingen had the opportunity to see what it was like to be an entrepreneur during a five-day workshop at the premises of the V-Zug household appliance manufacturing company last week.
As David Karrer, an expert in economic policy of the Zurich Chamber of Commerce, explained, the workshop, with guidance by professional staff, gave the pupils the opportunity to see what it was like to lead a company, discuss as a team plans to ensure it had a successful future, and then make sure the products offered remained marketable.
This Economics Week is actually organised by the Ernst Schmidheiny Foundation in cooperation with the Zurich Chamber of Commerce, each of the five days of the conference representing a year, the pupils initially concentrating on the setting-up of a company and what product they wanted to market, all with the support of two experts.
Over the course of the week, the students themselves had to take 37 key decisions, for example in whether to dismiss orengage more staff, increase or decrease salaries, or acquire new equipment, each one having a direct effect on the company’s figures, as indicated by appropriate software.
As Christian Bühler, a former CFO of the European IT company, said, one of the most difficult tasks for him was how to enthuse students for a specific aspect and to encourage them to embark on a new way of thinking. Nevertheless, by the time it came to the Friday afternoon, it appeared he had succeeded, all students presenting their companies in a most confident way.
One team, for example, had set up the Swissheat company, marketing portable microwave ovens, and showed a most professional promotional video about them. One member of this team, Fabio Flütsch, its CPO, said the week had made him realise that leaders in industry do not just sit in their office all day, but spend much of their time weighing things up very carefully, yet taking decisions as a team.
Daniel Weber, a specialist teacher in this area and business analyst at Credit Suisse, mentioned how the young students had had to learn to make their decisions based on social and economic sustainability.
This article is based on one by Carina Blaser.