Discover our events!

To foster interaction between students and family businesses, we invite extraordinary personalities: owners of family businesses, external executives who work in a family firm, and so-called next-gens who might or might not want to work in their family-owned company. We also cooperate with the annual WHU Campus for Family Business to offer more insights into the diverse topics revolving around family businesses.

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Our events

Upcoming Events


We are excited to announce this year’s Summit will once again take place on the Vallendar campus. On the agenda will be fascinating panel discussions, specialist lectures and other speakers on the subject of family businesses and their distinctive characteristics. The aim is to facilitate a lively exchange and networking between WHU students and members of family businesses. We are looking forward to welcoming you again this year.

Recent Events

14.09.2023 WHU Family Business Summit ​

The Family Business Summit 2023 uniquely catered to students, offering them a rare opportunity to engage directly with German Mittelstand family business owners. The summit emphasized the significance of bridging the generational gap, providing a platform for insightful discussions on succession planning, leadership development, and the integration of innovative ideas. Attendees not only gained valuable perspectives on the challenges faced by Mittelstand businesses but also forged meaningful connections with experienced family business leaders. The event successfully nurtured a collaborative environment, empowering students with the knowledge and inspiration to contribute to the resilience and growth of these influential enterprises. 

09.11.2022 Guest Speakers Event: Alexander Schaeff & Dr. Sven Tischendorf

Learning from those who failed: How to identify, avoid and combat crisis

Alexander Schaeff, CEO of the globally active high-tech company Schaeff Group, is an entrepreneur with turnaround experience and conducted his doctorate at WHU on internal causal conditions that lead to crisis. 

Dr Sven Tischendorf is one of the leading German restructuring practitioners and a trusted special situation investor. He advises numerous prestigious domestic and foreign companies, PE firms, investors and entrepreneurs on complex issues. 

In an interactive talk, they will shed light on various crisis scenarios using examples of German family-owned enterprises from theoretical and practical perspectives. 

15.09.2022 WHU Family Business Summit

As our main event the WHU Family Business Club hosts a summit as the pre-event for the Campus for Family Business, a conference organized by the Institute for Family Business and Mittelstand. Our event is aimed for students and alumni of WHU. The day is filled with interesting speeches, discussions and networking possibilities in an open atmosphere at our WHU campus in Vallendar. 

21.07.2022 Company Visit: Maschinenraum

Mittelstand and Startups – Joint Co-creation?

We are happy to announce our in-person company event, in collaboration with Maschinenraum!

Maschinenraum is an innovation ecosystem from Mittelstand for Mittelstand, initiated by Viessmann. They unite the power of German Mittelstand and family-owned businesses to build sustainable solutions and jointly tackle future change. In their physical space in Berlin (4.500sqm), they allow Mittelstand and Startups to connect, collaborate, and innovate, right in the heart of Prenzlauer Berg.


To start off, Tobias Rappers (Managing Director Maschinenraum) presented the concept of Maschinenraum, followed by a tour through the space. The speakers from XPRESS Ventures, abcfinlab and BestNights VC (the Jägermeister VC) discussed how Mittelstand and Startups can co-create. And finally, pizza, drinks and open networking will top off the evening.


Company Visit: PERI Group

Great news! The first company visit organized by the Family Business Club is taking place!

 We will be visiting the headquarters of PERI Group in Weißenhorn. The company has been on the market as a family business for over 50 years, being a pioneer in formwork and scaffolding technology. The group success lies in their core values as they always thik first and foremost of the benefits for their customers. Cooperation based on partnership and trust is a fundamental value of the company, forming the basis of their customer relationships.  

From the hands of Alexander Schwörer, PERI’s Owner and Deputy Chairman of the Board, we will have the chance to get insights into different company departments and understand the critical role the company’s values are playing to make PERI successful


31.05.2022 Sixth Guest Speakers Event: Jan Geenen & Udo Belz

Finanzierungen im deutschen Mittelstand: Implikationen und Besonderheiten

Jan Geenen, in der zweiten Generation seiner Familie Geschäftsführer des mittelständischen Baustoffherstellers KANN in Bendorf, und Udo Belz, Leiter Vertrieb Hessen, Rheinland-Pfalz und Saarland bei der IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG, werden am 31.05 auf dem Campus in Düsseldorf eine interaktive Diskussionen über die Finanzierung von Familienunternehmen haben.

Das Management von KANN konzentriert sich auf die Fokussierung des Unternehmens auf die Bereiche Betonwaren, wo eine marktführende Position in Deutschland erreicht wurde, Transportbeton und Logistik. KANN hat bundesweit 1.200 Beschäftigte. Die IKB ist eine auf den gehobenen deutschen Mittelstand fokussierte Spezialbank und entwickelt professionelle Finanzierungslösungen für die strategischen Herausforderungen und Bedürfnisse ihrer Kunden.

Mit langjähriger Erfahrung in diversen Führungspositionen, werden die Redner über die Implikationen und Besonderheiten rund um Finanzierungsthemen von Ihren vielfältigen Erfahrungen berichten.

31.03.2022 Fifth Speaker Event: Bastian Müller

We are proud to present a new speaker event with Bastian Müller, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of WM SE.

Headquartered in Osnabrück, Germany, WM SE is one of the most successful wholesalers of automotive spare parts, accessories, tires and workshop equipment in Europe.

Before joining his grandfather’s family business as the 3rd generation, Bastian Müller completed his studies in Bremen and Kansas City, Missouri. Subsequently, he started working at BOSCH as a marketing and sales trainee until he decided to return to his home town after six years.
Since 2015, he has been a member of the Supervisory Board of WM SE and since 2018, serves as the majority shareholder of the enterprise group, which commissions approx. 45 million automotive parts generating 1.6 bln. in revenue last year.

Two years ago, Mr. Müller was appointed Chairman of the Supervisory Board, according to him: “WM is and remains a family business, which for me stands first and foremost for reliability, trust and quality. I am very proud that this company is now in the hands of the third generation of the family and look forward to continuing this tradition.“

29.11.2021 Fourth Guest Speaker: Janek Kraus

After our WHU Family Business Summit with inspiring speeches and a great exchange of ideas, we are very excited to introduce our speaker for our next event in November!  

Janek Kraus, co-CEO of Wikingerreisen, stepped into the family travel business as co-CEO soon before the Covid-19 crisis hit. With a promising career in investment banking, Janek still chose to follow the family roots and has not regretted his decision ever since.  

Janek will provide his perspective on the challenges during the Covid-19 crisis and with a personal note, will walk us through the decision to leave what in the eyes of many is considered a safer job to jump on a real entrepreneurial journey.

16.09.2021 WHU Family Business Summit

As our main event the WHU Family Business Club hosts a summit as the pre-event for the Campus for Family Business, a conference organized by the Institute for Family Business and Mittelstand. Our event is aimed for students and alumni of WHU. The day is filled with interesting speeches, discussions and networking possibilities in an open atmosphere at our WHU campus in Vallendar. 

30.06.2021 Third Guest Speaker: Alexander Schwörer

With great pleasure we announce our next guest speaker: Alexander Schwörer, owner and deputy chairman of the supervisory board of Peri. On Wednesday 30th June, he will come to the Düsseldorf Campus to speak at our first hybrid event. 

Alexander Schwörer will be giving his insights about generational change and the relevance of having a family business culture. We will have the chance to get first hand insights into his role as brand ambassador. 

31.05.2021 Second Guest Speaker: Verena Bahlsen

We are very excited to announce our next event, on Monday 31st May. Verena Bahlsen will be giving her insights and experience about the challenges of intergenerational communication and will be open for questions during the event.

Verena Bahlsen is part of the 4th generation of the Bahlsen family and therefore an active shareholder at the Bahlsen Group. She is one of the founders of HERRMANN’S, an international network for food innovation. HERMANN’S is a subsidiary of the Bahlsen Group.

24.03.2021 First Guest Speaker: Tobias Bachmüller

Tobias Bachmüller is managing partner since 1996 at Katjes Fassin GmbH & Co. KG. Over the years, he build the family firm into the strong number two behind HARIBO and is continuing to grow into other European countries.

He will shared with us his personal story, his way into Katjes, and what WHU students can learn from him that want to become managing partner of a family firm but do not have a company within their family. Thank you Tobias Bachmüller for this amazing kick-off!

07.04.2021 Networking Aperitif

To enable networking in a more personal atmosphere, we invite you to participate in our networking aperitif. The event will take place on the platform . 

We are excited to get to know WHU students and alumni who share our passion for family business and are looking forward to interesting exchanges and new friendships.

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management
Burgplatz 2, 56179 Vallendar