Interview: Christian Homburg of Mannheim Business School

Mannheim Business School was recently accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA), making it the only German business school to get the “Triple Crown” of accreditations from AMBA, EQUIS, and AACSB. The school’s president explains why Germany is a good choice for MBA students from abroad.

When will we start seeing MBA programs in Germany become bigger players on the global market and in the rankings?

Christian Homburg, (Photo: Mannheim Business School)

Christian Homburg, (Photo: Mannheim Business School)

It’s only a matter of time. Although Germany may not become an MBA country to the extent that the US and the UK are in the conceivable future, a handful of business schools have the potential to earn a very good position in the international rankings. Up to now, German MBA programs were simply too young to be taken into consideration in the most important rankings. But this should change soon.

What are the main things that have had to (or will have to) change in German institutions to compete with other European business schools?

The quality of research and teaching and the infrastructure are certainly not reasons why the good German business schools haven’t been noticed enough on an international scale up to now. In my opinion, it is a basic requirement that German business schools should appear more confidently on the market. However, MBA programs demand another organizational framework, another teaching and thinking style than is common at many German universities, as well as a consistent market and service orientation of the overall organization. This is still often in short supply in Germany.

Are MBA students getting something at Mannheim that they couldn’t get at a top business school in Britain or the United States?

First of all, a good German MBA program should comply with the worldwide-accepted standards. These include, for example, that the program language is English, that it is a general management education, that the program is accredited by at least one of the renowned international organizations (AACSB International, EQUIS, AMBA), and that all participants have recognized career experience.

These guidelines nonetheless offer a school the opportunity to position itself on the market with its own, distinctive profile. Students of the Mannheim MBA, for example, can study completely in Mannheim, with a three-month term abroad at an Asian or North American partner university, or two terms abroad at European business schools. Thus they can choose the track which corresponds best to their personal interests and career goals. Furthermore, German MBA schools have the advantage that their programs have a relatively manageable number of participants. This guarantees highly individual counseling when it comes to placement, for example -something which the large international business schools that often accept several hundred students per cohort can hardly provide.

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For someone from Asia or North America, is an MBA in Germany a good option?

An MBA at one of the top schools in Germany is an excellent choice in any case. It offers a high standard of living in combination with comparatively moderate living expenses. It can’t be forgotten that Germany is the third-largest economy in the world, the world champion in export, and that it is considered to be the land of entrepreneurs and innovators. Among other innovations, the printing press, car, computer, and mp3 format were all invented here.

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