Germany is a business education destination that offers a wide array of MBA options and bright career prospects. Aspiring managers are setting their sights on an MBA in Germany, attracted by the quality of education, the affordable programmes, and the robust economy.
Those willing to study in Germany have the benefit of being able to choose from a large pool of programmes and schools. There are hundreds of MBA programmes in Germany offered by all kind of institutions of higher education: business schools, universities, universities of technology (Technische Universitäten), technical colleges (Fachhochschulen), colleges (Hochschulen) and even art schools, both private and state-funded. You can either opt for the classic MBA degree, which focuses on general management, or make a less conventional choice by enrolling in a specialised MBA to focus on a niche industry such as healthcare management, logistics, or consulting. The vast offering of specialised MBA programmes has become the hallmark of German business education, with healthcare management one of the most prevalent specialisations in the country.
Quality of business education
In 2008, Mannheim Business School, became the first institution in the German-speaking region to attain the highly reputable 'Triple Crown' of specialised business education accreditations by AACSB (US), AMBA (UK), EQUIS (Belgium). ESCP Europe, ESMT Berlin, and TUM School of Management have since also attained accreditation by the three main bodies. With four triple accredited schools as of July 2016, Germany is at the top of the list of the thirty countries in the world only after UK (22), France (13) and China (6). In addition, some German MBA programmes are also accredited by local associations such as FIBAA and AQAS. Two German schools, ESMT Berlin and Mannheim Business School, also made it into the 2017 Financial Times Global MBA Ranking.
How employers value German MBA degrees
If post-graduation employment statistics are any guide, students don’t have difficulty finding jobs once they receive their German MBA degree. More than 90% of the class of 2016 at Mannheim Business School’s Full-time MBA programme have accepted a job offer three months after programme completion, while ESMT claims that 80% of its newly minted MBAs received job offers three months after graduation.
It’s worth noting that the majority of the graduates prefer to stay in Germany (75% of graduates from Mannheim Business School, 72% from ESMT and 67% from Frankfurt School of Finance & Management). Although many of the MBA programmes are taught in English, speaking German in Germany, as you would expect, goes with a number of advantages. As the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management points out in the description of its full-time MBA programme, strong German is extremely helpful when seeking an internship or a job in the country. The school even offers intensive German language courses at all levels for its international MBA students.
Students interested in a particular industry are well advised to research the track record of business schools in terms of employability of its alumni for that industry. Graduates of the Mannheim MBA work in companies of all sizes and branches; SAP, Robert Bosch, Amazon, PwC and Roche Pharma were the top recruiters in 2015 and 2016. If you target the banking, consulting, or the automotive industries, you may want to consider the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. For a career in the e-commerce or technology industries – ESMT Berlin has a lot to offer.
MBA students in Germany are able to use the services of career centres at their respective business schools, which can help them not just at the end of their studies, but from day one. The career centres advise and support students in all matters of career change and professional development. The services offered by such career centres include application training, organisation of career days and various networking events.
Learning and business network
Professionals who choose MBA programmes in Germany have a similar profile to those pursuing the degree elsewhere in Western Europe. The average age of the participants in the full-time MBA programme of Mannheim Business School is 30 years. MBA students there have about six years’ professional experience after their first degree. About 35% of the class are women. In terms of educational background, most of the students (39%) come from Engineering & IT and Business & Economics (33%). The class is highly international: local students make up just 17% of the class, with the rest coming from Europe (25%, excl. Germany), Asia and Oceania (28%), Latin America (15%), North America (12%), and Africa (3%).
The trends of internationalisation and increasing representation of women in the MBA classroom are evident at WHU Vallendar. Female students comprised 38% of the incoming class in 2016 and 40% of the class that formed in 2017. The represented nationalities increased to 19 in 2017 from 16 a year earlier.
Admission requirements and timeline
The good news if you don’t speak German is that most MBA programmes in Germany are conducted in English and German is not an admissions requirement, although it grants an advantage to those who see their career in Germany. The Mannheim Business School, even strongly encourages international participants to start taking German language courses prior to the programme start.
If you want to join the MBA programme of a renowned German business school, you need to have at least three years of professional experience. You also need to submit strong GMAT or GRE scores. WHU Vallendar, for instance, requires a GMAT score of at least 600 (on a 200-800 scale) or the equivalent GRE score. You also need to provide proof of your English language skills by achieving a TOEFL score of 100 (scale 0-120) or equivalent.
German MBA programmes normally stick to the one-year format that is typical across Europe. Different MBA programmes start at different times, so make sure you check the academic calendar of the school you want to apply to. The academic year at ESMT, for instance, runs from January to December, while classes at the Frankfurt School start in October. The MBA International Management programme at Munich Business School starts in September. Plan your preparation for admission a year ahead of the intended start of your studies. Preparation for the MBA admission tests and German language training to increase your job prospects, also takes time and early planning.
It is never too early to start researching for programmes that will fit your personality, career aspirations and potential. Germany offers a great deal of MBA and career opportunities.