Entrepreneurs: Beware of Big Liabilities

The Zollverein School in Essen, Germany was a great hope for the business design field, starting the first MBA of its kind in Europe. But this newspaper story lays out a tale of caution for anyone starting a venture like this. In short, it seems the gorgeous new building they constructed to house the school has become a real estate liability. Even with taxpayer funding, the operating costs are a burden.

The dot com downturn of 2001 sank some firms like Scient but not others like Razorfish. The difference wasn’t client base or capabilities (or even the fact that I was working at Razorfish :), it was real estate liabilities. Scient invested in a lot of expensive offices whereas Razorfish put their spare cash in the bank for a rainy day.

Let’s hope the Berlin C-School — through partnership with Steinbeis University — avoids this issue.

Don’t own nothin’ if you can help it. If you can, rent your shoes.” — Tom Peters Forrest Gump


  1. … the interesting thing from my perspective actually is that concept-wise the building itself is capable to host anything else except for (MBA) classes. While lots of ‘experts’ praise it for the architectural concept from a lecturers perspective I find it very limited.

    It’s a great building for hosting symposiums, art exhibitions or vernissages etc. So maybe from a Freudian perspective the building will soon fulfill its purpose … ;-)

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