Since 2020, the continuing education programs Cross Media and Digital Business Management at the University of Applied Sciences Magdeburg-Stendal have organized the symposium “Cross Media – Transform Business” – a conference that addresses the issues of digital business and management. This year’s conference on February 5 and 6 2021, was held under the motto “Commerce – Change – Middle Class: entrepreneurial into the future” and, due to the current Corona situation, took place digitally via Zoom in combination with the online whiteboard Miro. Here, participants could interactively take part in online lectures, workshops and presentations.

On Friday, Thomas Wünsch, State Secretary of Saxony-Anhalt, and Stephan Papenbreer, City Council of Magdeburg, opened the two-day participatory event with a welcoming speech. Suitably with the motto “Trade – Change – Middle Class”, the keynote speech by Prof. Dr. Martina Stepper from the Technical University of Kaiserslautern introduced the main topic. She presented strategies for today’s (and tomorrow’s) city centers to increase their attractiveness so that they continue to be viewed and used as popular city locations alongside the growing, location-independent e-commerce offering.

Daniel Nauck and Martin Nowack then presented the results from the “Shopping 4.0” teaching project. The project took place over the course of two semesters: In the summer semester of 2020, students from the Cross Media and Digital Business Management master’s degree programs surveyed retailers in Magdeburg about their (digital) strategies for dealing with the first “clowdown” of the Corona pandemic. From these surveys, the students derived concrete, innovative marketing ideas in the following semester, which should promote attention to the retailers and their offers. These were presented by the students in short presentations during the symposium. The ideas include, for example, apps and digital applications that clearly present the regional offers of merchants (“Shopping-Ping App”, “Digital Merchant Map”). Other ideas combine already existing facilities in the city center with digital information, such as the “Merchant Benches”: Benches in the city center are to be provided with QR codes that draw attention to the retail trader located in the outer city districts, so that offers in the city center advertise to merchants in further surrounding areas. A final highlight of the first day was the virtual sofa talk, to which the business representative of the city of Magdeburg, Sandra Yvonne Stieger and three retailers from Saxony-Anhalt were invited. The talk guests had a lively exchange about their needs and experiences of the lockdown and provided interesting insights for all participants.

The second day of the symposium was opened by the rector of the University of Applied Sciences Magdeburg-Stendal, Prof. Dr. Anne Lequy. Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Katzlinger-Felhofer from the partner university Johannes Kepler University in Linz explained the “Crossteaching” research project. In this project, students from the Cross Media, Digital Business Management and Risk Management degree programs worked in inter-university teams to conduct scientific research on ethical issues in digital business. In addition to insights into consumers’ willingness to pay for sustainable fashion trends or the possible influence of Google Predictions on user’s opinions and other exciting research contributions, Sarah Krennhuber (JKU Linz) and Chris Seehafer (HS Magdeburg-Stendal) reported on their research on “Mobile Payment”. Mobile payment methods via smartphones are not yet firmly established in countries like Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In the crossteaching project, they addressed consumers’ concerns about mobile payment and developed initial approaches to solutions that banks could use to reduce users’ concerns.

In conclusion, the organizers of the “#CMTB21” conference shared their experiences from the past semester with each other and with the students. The feedback on the symposium was consistently positive. The exchange between practice and the teaching was very valuable successful for both sides!