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Carsten Meyer-Heder Wishes the University Would Offer “a Bigger Picture”

After Christian Lindner comes Carsten Meyer-Heder. For the second time, the Department of Economics invited a politician to ground the academic world. Moderated by Dean Professor Jochen Zimmermann, the focus was on the digital economy in Bremen from a critical viewpoint.

Carsten Meyer-Heder, one of Germany’s most successful IT entrepreneurs, is the top candidate of the Bremen CDU and would like to become mayor. He was joined in the discussion by two top scientists from the field of economics: Professor Maik Eisenbeiß, marketing specialist and director of the newly founded markstones Institute, and Professor Lars Hornuf, expert in financial technology. He was ranked just recently as one of the top economists in Germany. Accordingly, lecture hall A 1070 at Wiwi1 was well filled.

Plan for a Forum

The discussion was not really confrontational, but why should it be in view of all the known future challenges? But in the course of the intensive hour there were suggestions, things to think about with a direct connection to the university, and a concrete idea that became a mission. Professor Eisenbeiß wants to implement it quickly. Students and graduates will have the opportunity to meet with long-established representatives of Bremen’s business community in a forum. Meyer-Heder wants to take care of that personally.

No Real Innovations

Because, according to his surprising view: “Wanting to support start-ups by teaching them how to write a business plan is nonsense.” Business models have become “boring” and there are only a few real innovations left on the scene. “Many start-ups were not concerned about innovation, but about money,” criticizes the IT entrepreneur. Passion is important here. “Big companies have passion.” In short, he would prefer to see “old Bremen money being used to support young companies.” Let’s see what comes out of the Economics Forum.

“Bremen Has an Image Problem”

What’s the matter with Bremen? Professor Hornuf, who commutes between Munich and Bremen, finds the city on the Weser river much more attractive. Even just because of the comparatively relaxed living situation. “In Munich, an engineer has to live in a basement without sunlight.” The students laugh. Marketing specialist Eisenbeiß also takes the same line of fire: “Bremen has an image and visibility problem,” he says with regret. “Nine out of ten of our graduates go to Hamburg or Munich. We create competencies and then lose them again. Prospects are missing here.” Lars Hornuf wants to know what the candidate wishes for the university.

Not Application-Oriented Enough

Meyer-Heder starts off positively: “We do a lot with the university. I’ve hired about 400 people who studied computer science here. However, they first have to be introduced to reality, and their work is surprisingly lacking in application orientation.” He also has the impression that everyone at the institutes is only interested in their own individual work instead of networking. “I would like to see a bigger picture from the university.” Maik Eisenbeiß disagrees: “I don’t think we want to do our thing.”

Making Mistakes Too

The CDU politician keeps listing what he wants to change in Bremen: get faster, try out new things, make some mistakes, break down outdated structures, network better, and implement pilot projects. Sounds good, but it’s still not very concrete. Lars Hornuf jumps in at lightning speed: “How about free Wi-Fi all over Bremen?” Meyer-Heder hesitates at first and then says, “Yes.”


Four men smiling
Discussing the digital economy (from left to right) Prof. Lars Hornuf, Carsten Meyer-Heder, Prof. Jochen Zimmermann, Prof. Maik Eisenbeiß