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Alexander Birken new chairman of the board of trustees at HSBA

Alexander Birken, CEO of the Otto Group and graduate of HSBA's predecessor school, is the new chairman of HSBA’s board of trustees. While demonstrating his commitment, he makes an appeal to politics as well as the business world, not to miss out digitalisation.


"For me, the fact that HSBA is so dedicated to providing education and training on digitalisation and sustainability, and taking on a pioneering role, was the reason why I decided to become chairman of the board of trustees this summer," said the 54-year-old. At the same time, he warns: "If education, business and politics are not intensively dedicated to digitalisation and its effects and opportunities, Germany will have completely lagged behind in five years." Birken sees "educational institutions and companies in the obligation to tackle the digital transformation and to provide explanations for the future of work, business and society. "

Therefore, Birken also welcomes the new HSBA programme "Digital Transformation & Sustainability", which starts in 2018: For the first time in a degree in economics, it combines the two future topics of digitalisation and sustainability and qualifies the graduates to master the challenges of a rapidly changing digital world in a sustainable manner. The Master's degree programme is based on the UN's global goals and offers the perfect prerequisite for a career as a change manager, project manager or CEO. "The change of business models, principles of order and value chains demands the corresponding skills and qualifications of the employees. Companies have to reinvent themselves", explains Birken. "Students who have completed this programme can help decisively," adds Uve Samuels, Managing Director of HSBA. "We are delighted to have Alexander Birken as a graduate of our own dual model at the head of our university, someone who has demonstrated with his company how to successfully shape digitalisation."

Two further new study programmes at HSBA combine traditional business topics with digitalisation, MSc Business Development and MSc Finance.

In addition to its degree programmes, HSBA has developed a "Digital Toolbox" that is not only available to all students of the university, but also companies. Behind the "Digital Toolbox" hides a focused programme of seminars and workshops to help master the task of digital transformation.

"Many universities, also and especially those with a focus on economics, still today teach for a world that ceases to exist", describes Uve Samuels a central problem. "That's why we not only offer solutions and support to our students, but also to companies, so that they can position themselves well for the future."

This includes seminar offers for companies on the subject of "Digital Transformation" as well as the DI-Lab of the HSBA. Here, start-up atmosphere is created within companies: In a spin-in center with workshop character, new business models are reviewed and developed. This allows companies to optimally prepare for the challenges of innovation-driven competition, from development to prototype testing.

Alexander Birken