Dr. Wolf Schumacher: Innovative and international finance – Qualification creates stronger tie with Aareal


European Business School in Oestrich-Winkel.

The history of the Aareal Bank Group has been closely connected to the city of Wies­­baden for many decades. What was once an alternative solution realized out of ne­­cessity after World War II, has quick­­ly prov­en itself to be an ad­­van­ta­geous location. The Aareal Bank today is one of the lead­­ing international real estate specialists and is represent­­ed by em­­ployees from 30 different states in 19 countries on three continents – Eu­­rope, North America and the Asia-Pa­­cif­­ic region. Its head office in Wiesbaden is at an optimal location in the Rhine district due to its proximity, on the one hand, to the international banking centre in and around Frank­­furt am Main, and on the other hand, to the internatio­n­­al business university Eu­­ropean Bu­­­­siness School (ebs) in the Rheingau.
For internationally positioned companies like the Aareal Bank, it is especial­ly true: Expertise and innovative power are two of the most important success factors in international competition. The strongest companies are those that have the best employees available – and can keep them. In or­­der to fulfill professional de­­mands, constant training and continuing educa­­tion is a must.

Expertise, knowledge, know-how, quali­fi­cation – behind all these is the super­or­­dinate concept of “education”. A coun­try like Germany and a region like Hes­­sen must devote all their resources to holding their position as an economic centre. Ed­­u­­­cation is the resource that we can and must use to lift ourselves up in the fu­­ture of the globalized world. The Aareal Bank Group is aware of its social responsibility and in­­vests part of its earnings back into so­­ci­­ety in the form of education sponsorships.
It thereby not only promotes its own em­­ployees, junior scientists and trainees, but also makes an essential contribution to securing the future of the economic centre Wiesbaden and the region in general.
In the company’s internal “Aareal Acad­­emy,” a type of corporate university, the Aareal Bank combines all measures in its fostering of education. It follows the continuing education philosophy that employees should always continue to work on their expertise. In the banking segment of the Aareal Bank Group alone, each employee took part in training and continuing education seminars within the framework of the Aareal Academy on an average of five days in the work year 2008.
The Academy not only offers special pro­­cedures and programmes to employees, management staff and ex­­perts, but also techniques for personal human resources development, integra­tion programmes for new employees, spe­­cial trainee programmes, programmes for interns and – it should be particularly emphasized – cooperation with uni­­ver­si­­ties such as the Real Estate Man­age­­ment Institute (REMI), the European Bu­­siness School (EBS) in Oestrich-Winkel and the Uni­ver­sity of Cambridge. In ad­­di­­tion, through the subsidiary Aareon, the company is involved in close colla­­boration with the University of Eco­nom­­ics and the Environ­­ment (Hochschule für Wirt­schaft und Um­­welt) in Nürtin­gen-Geislingen in a degree programme in real estate management.

The Aareal Bank has had very good ex­­periences with the close association of science and practice for many years. In 2006 it established a professorship for the REMI and since then has been the main sponsor of the Aareal professorship for real estate investing and financing. With this collaboration, two high-performance partners have found each other who fit ideally together: in their demands to be active in their re­­spective areas and in their international position. In the view of Aareal Bank, REMI is a val­­uable interface to the scientific knowledge of real estate manage­ment instruction. Thus, the Aareal Bank can always be up to date on the latest state of the art in science. The advan­tag­es for employees are obvious: Through dialogue with the teachings, they can continue to de­­velop their expertise fur­ther. The Aareal Bank offers its employees various on-the-job courses of study to complete at the REMI – with great suc­­cess: Again and again, grad­­uates from the bank have been among the year’s best. In addition, reg­­ular specialist lectures by internal and external speakers are part of the every­day work of the Aareal bank­­ers. With the diverse possibilities of con­­tin­u­­ing education, the company attracts its em­­ployees to the location, since it offers constant vocational development: The Aareal Bank can recruit around 80 per cent of its specialist and management staff out of its own ranks. That makes the company an attractive em­­ployer.

Last but not least, the close combination of practice and science is also an advantage for customers, since special­ists at the Aareal Bank remain innovative, “up-to-date” and flexible in the search for new paths to solutions. Together with its knowledge of individual needs, the com­­pany can optimally serve its customers and build up and extend partnerships over the long term.
But it is not only the employees of Aareal Bank who profit from the social involvement of the bank in education. This close contact to practice is available to all students at the REMI. The students ac­­company “real” case studies and try to solve problems that actually occur in practice. For example, they make feasibility and economic viability calculations for various ongoing projects from companies and use questions from the sponsors as topics in their studies and dissertations.
In addition, since 2008 one important component of the cooperation between Aareal Bank and REMI has been the “Aareal Award of Excel­­len­­ce in Real Es­­tate Re­­search”. This research prize, awarded yearly, distinguishes outstanding sci­­en­­tific work in real estate management teaching and is granted with a bonus of 12,000 euros. It has been internation­­ally announced since 2009 and is triggering a great response: In 2009, 30 spe­­cial­­ist con­­tributions were received in total, a third of those from abroad. The prize is awarded by an independent jury.

With all these options, the Aareal Bank makes a convincing argument for more involvement of companies in science. Be­­cause science is an investment in the future. Strengthening Wiesbaden as an education centre also strengthens it as an economic centre. Whoever as­­sumes this responsibility also contributes to securing the future of the region.


Wolf_Schumacher_600x927[1]The author has been CEO of Aareal Bank AG since 2005. From 2003 to 2005, he held two positions in double function as the speaker of the board of the Deut­­sche Genossen­­schafts-Hypo­the­­ken­bank AG as well as deputy chairman of VR Im­­mobilien AG. Dr. Wolf Schu­macher was born in 1958, is a lawyer and earned a doctorate from the University of Ham­burg.