The ones of you, who had the chance to be in one of Prof. Fuhrmann’s lectures will probably agree with me that they are only slightly painful or maybe even funny. Connecting theoretical models and topics with the business world or the everyday life is the main focus in his teachings. Just now we talked about the water brand that the “girl in the red shirt in the fourth row” chose because of its marketing, then about the shoe brand that the “three young men in the third row” wear and about the strategies the company follows when communicating with its wholesaler and retailer. He is very open and likes to include students into the lectures whilst not being afraid of talking directly to us, with a – sometimes provoking – funny tone. “The people who know me a little bit, know that I am rarely politically correct”, is one of his signature phrases accompanied with a likable smile.
His atypical lecturing style might not include the modern didactic methods, as he says himself, but is greatly influenced by his past. After he did his doctorate at the age of 24(!) in Switzerland, he worked in several companies for 18 years and gathered business experience from all over the world, e.g. in the US, Asia and the Middle East. He came to the “HS Heilbronn” by coincidence and stayed, because he liked the contact with young people and the freedom one has when it comes to teaching and preparing lectures. Professor Fuhrmann was the first dean of the International Business faculty and the vice-president of the university’s supervisory board for 12 years. What motivates him as a professor is mainly his passion for lecturing and the challenge to present difficult content in an understandable and interesting way. The most interesting task seems to be helping students with their thesis, because he thus learns new things himself. Also, seeing the impact his lectures have on the students and the way they apply the new knowledge boosts Mr. Fuhrmann’s motivation. “Sadly, I don’t often get real feedback, because I never really know, were the students end up.”
During the 20 years of working at our university he noticed that students nowadays are way more flexible and open to new things like studying abroad in a different cultural context. He also feels like the students’ ability to concentrate for a longer period has decreased, students prefer lectures where knowledge is served in smaller portions with diverse didactic methods. Because students demand a different kind of lecture, Fuhrmann assumes that teaching methods and lectures will adapt accordingly. Students are the university’s costumers; thus, an arising demand should create an appropriate supply.
During our interview, he seemed a little upset that students don’t follow that attentively anymore. However, when I asked him specifically, he said he wasn’t pessimistic about the future or our generation. “My grandfather already complained about my generation and how it would all go down with us being the leaders. I believe every generation, in a way, thinks so about the following.” Our talk during the interview was relaxed and open. I could feel he enjoys talking and is very honest, but also reflects about his opinions and thoughts. Almost every break you can see him chatting with students while smoking a cigarette wearing hist tailor-made suit with cuff buttons. A marketer who likes to present himself, but also cares about the students and their opinions. Any last words, that you want to tell the students?
“I would not tell young people what they must do, but if you want a tip of an experienced man: train your brain, your ability to gather and remember information.”
Autor: Marc Hofrichter