Ulf Schäfer

Customized programs - practice groups

Practice groups

Focused on industry - a different approach to customized education

ESMT CS pursues an industry-focused approach and uses forefront research with discipline-based knowledge and real world implementation. The start was made in 2003 with two practice groups, namely Technology-Based Industries and Telecommunication, Transport, Utilities. Later on Financial Services, Consumer Goods, Retail and Media and Professional Service Firms were added.

Vertical Tabs

CGR - Consumer Goods, Retail and Media

CGR - Consumer Goods, Retail and Media

Consumer goods, retail and media companies are confronted with rapid change, triggered by constantly changing consumer purchasing behaviors. Faced with competing alternatives, consumers base their purchasing decisions not only on quality, but also on image and brand perception. The resulting importance of brand equity pushes managers to focus on marketing and advertising – an added  expense in a sector already plagued by tight margins. At the same time, firms must contend with private label competition, possibly non-optimal supply chain management – all in all a highly challenging business environment which ESMT CS addresses with in-depth executive education offerings.

CGR Clients:

  • Axel Springer
  • Bertelsmann
  • British American Tobacco
  • BSH Bosch Siemens Hausgeräte 
  • Coca-Cola
  • McDonald's
  • Metro


  • Fast changes in consumer behavior
  • Customer behavior often dependent upon brand and image     
  • High expenses for marketing and advertisement     
  • Low margins due to strong competition in many product categories


  • Making product and service innovation a core competence
  • Establishing superior brand management
  • Continuously increasing the efficiency and effectiveness  of all marketing activities
  • Leveraging sourcing and inventory management to reduce cost to the bare minimum
FIS - Financial Services

FIS - Financial Services

Financial services providers are confronting the challenges of financial crisis, regulation, consolidation, vertical disintegration, and globalization in significant ways. To survive and thrive, they must successfully differentiate themselves through sustainable business models and shorter time to market for new products and services. ESMT CS delivers sophisticated executive education programs that help major international financial services firms to adapt to this radically changing environment and rise to their industry’s new challenges.

FIS Clients:

  • Allianz SE
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Deutsche Postbank
  • European Central Bank
  • Generali
  • Gothaer
  • HypoVereinsbank - UniCredit Bank AG
  • KPMG
  • Munich RE Group
  • Talanx



  • Large-scale industry consolidation
  • Change in competitive landscape     
  • Converging markets     
  • Diverging business models



  • Qualitative growth
  • Vertical disintegration
  • Internationalization of cost structure
  • Establishing common corporate and strategic collaboration
ICT – Information and Communications Technologies

ICT – Information and Communications Technologies

Today, information and communications technologies (ICTs) are pervasive. From consumer to industrial markets the impact of ICT is everywhere to be seen. They have a big influence on our daily life, although we may not even know they are there as they operate silently in the background. Most of us are utterly dependent on our mobile phone for communication. Smart phones enable us to do everyday chores from banking to checking on the status of our investment portfolio to booking holidays and taxis to reserving tables at restaurants, all while on the move.  We now find sophisticated technology in our homes optimizing our energy consumption and regulating everything from water temperature to air conditioning, in our cars controlling its myriad components while simultaneously monitoring traffic flow and our driving, and even on our bodies keeping an eye on vital statistics.

Most businesses are critically dependent on their IT systems and could not survive for very long without them. For some, they are a source of competitive differentiation, providing them with opportunities for new business models, new products or service offerings, or to redefine the customer experience. More and more organizations are digitizing large swathes of their operations, often using ICT to redefine management practices and informate relationships in the wider ecosystem from customers to suppliers.  ICT has dismantled industries from newspapers to gambling as more and more businesses shift completely on-line or look to move towards an omnichannel.

Competing in this dynamic industry is a real challenge.  On the one hand we have a constant stream of new hardware and software innovations emerging.  On the other hand, new innovative applications of ICT can open up new market opportunities or create entirely new markets. These can as easily emerge from somebody’s bedroom as they can from multi-billion research labs. The velocity of the industry is immense such that one poor decision can put the very existence of a company in jeopardy. Today’s bleeding edge technology can quickly become obsolete. There is the constant threat of new entrants.

In our work with technology companies we have found that many can struggle in this environment. In B2B markets, many naïvely assume they their success is based on superior technology and consequently have not articulated a clear value proposition.  Sales teams can be unaware of the issues and concerns of customers, while at the same time an increasing number of vendors seek to move up the “stack” and engage more with business decision makers rather than technical staff. Traditional software vendors struggle to ditch their lucrative license fee models in response to the thread posed by the cloud - the classic innovators dilemma. Conventional notions of strategy become irrelevant in an industry shaped by constant change, innovation and uncertainty. At the same time as being an exciting industry it can also be paralyzed by fear and indecision.

TBI - Technology Based Industries

TBI - Technology Based Industries

Technology-based companies are driven by an everchanging set of innovations, products, and services.  Taking on the role of a highly sophisticated market  expert, they must constantly transform their organizations  with cutting-edge, forward thinking that anticipates customer demands. At the same time, they must build a successful link between their own internal engineering culture with a market-oriented strategy that addresses customer needs. Through its own institutional knowledge and expert contacts, ESMT Customized Solutions has helped many of the world’s best-known technology-based companies address these issues to achieve a competitive advantage in their industries.

TBI Clients:

  • Airbus Group
  • Audi
  • Bombardier Transportation
  • Bosch
  • Elster Group
  • Kaspersky
  • Hitachi
  • MAN
  • Robert Bosch
  • Rosatom
  • Salzgitter
  • TDS
  • thyssenkrupp
  • TÜV Rheinland


  •    Developing product and complex solutions on B2B markets             
  •    Engineering culture     
  •    Global competition     
  •    Highly specialized


  •     Integration of customer and suppliers
  •     Market orientation
  •     Organizing global value chains
  •     General management know-how
TTU - Telecommunications, Transport and Utilities

TTU - Telecommunications, Transport and Utilities

Over the past two decades, the European communication, transportation, and utility sectors have been deregulated, unbundled, and redesigned. Under growing competition, industry players must now look beyond standard practices to find new business strategies that deliver immediate results. And they must raise productivity while changing business concepts. ESMT Customized Solutions offers companies insight and practical advice from thought leaders within each of these industries. With a proven set of strategies and practices, we help them thrive under growing regulatory and public scrutiny, as well as balance the reliability of supply and operational excellence.

TTU Clients:

  • BDI
  • DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung
  • EBC
  • E.ON
  • Lufthansa
  • innogy SE
  • Sony Ericsson
  • T-Com
  • T-Systems
  • Vattenfall


  • Highly capital intensive, technology-based industries     
  • Public mission; safe service for mass market     
  • Monopolistic position in the past, now privatized and regulated     
  • Opening of markets leading to internationalization


  • Leveraging capital intensive assets
  • From supply to demand orientation
  • Enhancing capital market orientation
  • Internationalization of cost structure