Date: May 5, 2015
Written by: Jeremy Palmer and Daniel Vaandrager
With the “spice boys” out of commission due to a run in with some questionable ethnic food, the remainder of our group took over a Koblenz public transport bus and headed to the Otto Beisheim School of Management at WHU.
After a warm welcome at WHU by our host, Ms. Schweiger, we engaged in a lecture with Professor M. Leitterstorf about family business financing. To complete our understanding of the complex issues surrounding family businesses and succession planning, we were divided into small groups where we re-enacted roles from a real-life case. Each group presented their decisions to the class and there were a number of unique solutions. The experience showed us the true struggles of a family business, and how succession planning needs to start early in order to avoid dividing the family during times of stress.
We enjoyed lunch in the WHU cafeteria, and then met back in the classroom to review what we had learned and how we could apply it to family business in Canada.
Following a quick discussion about our time in Koblenz we headed to the Marksburg Castle on the Rhine River for a guided tour. Marksburg is one of the few castles that was never overtaken during the course of many battles and wars, and still has some original structures from the 1200’s. This well-equipped castle even featured a cutting edge “Throne Room” that was the peak of waste disposal at its time. During our castle tour it was observed that even our professor was getting in on the selfie craze, although no photographic evidence could be obtained.
To end our day, the WHU staff invited us to a local restaurant, Alt Coblenz, where we enjoyed traditional German food and great company in their 14th century wine cellar.