Giessen School as a corporate laboratory

  1. Jisin General
  2. pour, water


to: Qais Khanak


Klaus Ohmann and Dennis Walter (from left) display a product produced by students at Max Weber School and sold for Sense and Purpose. © Oliver Ship

Above all, companies are looking for employees who can solve problems. Often they only learn this in practical life. Or in a student company like “Sinn und Zweck” at Max Weber School. Visit team welcome bugs.

If you’re being honest with yourself, you have to admit that in some lessons he was staring so hard at walls that he could have punched a hole in there using supernatural powers. In fiction, anyone can be a superhero. It is even more impressive when the students not only stare at the walls, but work in focus for three-quarters of an hour, while the two teachers sit apart with their guest and tell them what this student company is all about. In “Sinn und Zweck” at Max Weber School, potential industrial employees are leaving the classic student role and taking responsibility for their own company – and have been doing so for 29 years.

real problems solution in class

The founders of the student company were teachers from several schools in Giessen, who knew and respected each other in private. Klaus Oemann explains that they wanted action-oriented lessons that bring students closer to commercial content. Along with Dennis Walter, the teacher is currently in charge of Mind and Purpose. At first there was a collaboration with Theodor-Litt-School, but since 2006 the student company has been an exclusive training project at the vocational school in Georg-Schlosser-Straße.

Sinn und Zweck currently manufactures two products: the Equinox bag in various designs and a wooden board game. It was previously manufactured in the youth workshop and finally assembled in the Max Weber school. Participants are concerned with purchasing, customer service and control including pricing calculation and marketing department, which is primarily active on social media. In addition, there is an IT department with two students who also take care of the home page, from which most requests are received. On average, this happens once a week. Oehmann says that a customer once wanted to order 100 presentation cases. The student company said thanks, but declined. Uman: “We don’t want to compete with the big companies. We feel very comfortable in this area.

It’s also not about maximizing the company’s rapid economic success. When investment and income are in balance in the end, everyone is satisfied. It’s more about the long run: In two years of their three-year training, prospective industry clerks from the age of 16 are employed in the company; This school year is on Tuesday in two lessons. “Usually, they have theoretical and complex problems in class,” Ohmann explains. His colleague Walter adds: “With Sinn und Zweck there are real problems that the students have to deal with.” One example: Under a new EU directive, student companies will also be taxed from 2023. “The Taliban are now making sure that we interact with them and operate within a legally secure framework,” says Oehmann. OR: Customer pays for ordered products – but not shipping costs. “Students have to clear things up with the customer,” Walter says.

The fact that “1,000 mistakes” can occur each school year, Uman says, is “exciting.” He doesn’t mean it maliciously, quite the opposite: “Mistakes are welcome, because participants learn what they can do better next time.” Walter emphasizes: “We only advise them. We allow students to make decisions, but we do not allow them to walk in the open.” It is important not to deprive future industrial clerks of this experience, which will be essential for their later career. At the same time, according to Walter, participants noted : “I can do anything, I’m socially involved and I make my own decisions.”

does not depend on he decided

So students can benefit from participating in the company because ideally, the ability to collaborate, create, think critically and communicate can be enhanced. At the same time, Ohmann says, the training project is exciting for companies. On the other hand, trainees can immediately apply what they have learned in practice in the company’s student company. In addition, companies can use “Sinn und Zweck” as a hands-on laboratory. “Because the theory can be tried and understood there,” the teacher stresses. In this way, new forms of work can be practiced and students’ reactions analyzed. It will then be possible to draw conclusions for daily work. In this context, there is also cooperation with the University of Frankfurt, management consultancy or Makerspace in Giessen.

The grades given by teachers alone show that the student company is exceptional. “Students have an opinion,” says Uman. In a one-on-one interview, they describe their successes and gather arguments for their good performance. Sounds a bit like negotiating a salary. Oehmann asserts: “Not everyone gives the other a grade of A,” they criticize themselves much more than we teachers do.

celebrate 30 years

Next year, the student company “Sinn und Zweck” will celebrate its 30th anniversary. A big celebration is planned – also with current and former responsible persons and students as well as with companies.

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