Esther Schnabl studied geography with a focus on economic geography at the University of Hanover and the University of Bristol. From 2003 to 2007 she worked as a researcher in research and teaching at the Institute for Economic and Cultural Geography of the University of Hanover. In 2007 she was awarded her PhD on the subject of localization patterns and development dynamics in optical technologies clusters in Germany. From 2007 until 2010 she was employed as research analyst at McKinsey & Company in Düsseldorf. Since October 2010 she has been employed as a project manager in the Competence Center Policy – Industry – Innovation in the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI in Karlsruhe.