Standing ovation, applause, a souvenir photo. Then Jürgen Weber's last lecture in the fall semester 2019 will be over. But the professor smiles and says that he will certainly not find it boring. It's not in his genes.
He is indeed a bit melancholic when he looks back on the last 33 years. For more than three decades he has had a decisive influence on the scientific field of controlling. Weber took over the chair of business administration, in particular accounting and controlling, the not-so-airy title, at the age of 33 after his habilitation at the University of Nuremberg-Erlangen. The private business school WHU was still in its infancy at the time. Private education still was a bit shady in Germany in the 1980s, and the university itself was initially housed in a former elementary school in a rather modest manner. Jürgen Weber believed in the project - so much indeed that, among many other offices, he even took over the dean's position himself for some time.
He received several calls from other universities. "Now and then it's quite nice to test your own market value," he says with a smile. He never left. And he has never regretted his decision to study business instead of chemistry after graduating from high school. He likes the possibilities of burying himself in detail and yet identifying an infinite number of application references at the same time. Like every new generation, he wanted to tap the muff of the dusty teachers that came before him, relying on case studies and practical relevance early on. Science in an ivory tower was never his style. Today he misses holistic learning in higher education. "In the past, you had to think through more by yourself, question critically and at the end of the semester you could put the pieces of the puzzle together," says Weber. "That is no longer possible due to the short learning blocks and the more school-like system after Bologna. The young people are no less intelligent than before, but unfortunately, they are less able to perceive the big picture. This is simply no longer conceptually designed." This leads to the fact that important competencies are later missing: "In my job, I have to be able to think outside the box. To solve new problems independently. To link old knowledge in a new way. "Recognize the big picture." To do this, however, you have to be able to digress from the actual subject matter in class, to dare digressions, to go to the limits of your own knowledge and imagination. The system, however, has become much too narrow for this.
To stimulate independent and critical thinking, to classify the acquired knowledge into a whole social, into a larger cosmos instead of being able to call up the contents of slides for a short time, that was always the superior goal of Jürgen Weber in all his courses. Now his last lecture, for the time being, has been held. However, at the age of 67, he is not retiring. Ambition and thirst for knowledge are as great as ever. The Institute for Management and Controlling (IMC), which he - together with Utz Schäffer - founded in 2008, and which he now runs together with him and Marko Reimer, will continue to be driven forward by his experience. The fact that he is leaving teaching behind does not mean that he is now taking a step backward, but rather that he is stepping up his efforts in research: "There are some projects that I am currently working on - but above all, there are some that are still pending in the future".
For young colleagues who are just entering the teaching profession, he has concise advice: "Tell what is important to you. A professor can only explain and convey successfully if he stands behind what he is telling. "You must be on fire for something," Weber is convinced. "If you can't do that, you'll never be a good professor."