The financial crisis has taken center stage in business school classrooms around the world. Rightfully so, says the finance chair at one of Germany’s leading business schools.
How is the financial crisis affecting the way you teach finance?
One positive thing about the things that are going on right now is that we can learn a lot from them. You can empirically analyze how markets react in extreme scenarios. This is something you find in our lectures. Our lectures are focused on recent developments anyway, but this year we are teaching a lot about the financial crisis.
Of course, we also have conferences where we invite academics, as well as professionals. One example was the Campus for Finance New Year Conference recently where we had a lot of CFOs and CEOs here, one Nobel laureate, and a lot of professors. We were talking for three entire days about the financial crisis – what the reasons for it are and what can be improved in the future in order to avoid these developments that we have right now.
Daisuke Motoki (Photo: FIBAA)
So, if you can’t find many German MBA programs in the international rankings yet, where can you go to find out which programs are good?
Try the Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA), which has been accrediting business programs in German-speaking countries since 2002. We spoke to Daisuke Motoki, head of accreditation procedures at FIBAA, about German MBA programs and how prospective students can use the FIBAA website to inform themselves.
Will some German MBA programs become “household names” internationally, like IMD or INSEAD?
I think so. Some of the schools, like Mannheim, GISMA, and WHU-Kellogg are already strong, internationally-oriented programs. First of all, they are taught completely in English, which is basically a prerequisite to be able to attract international students, as well as an international faculty. International orientation is of course not only of interest to foreigners; many Germans are also very interested and attracted to programs with this strong international focus.
Well, you can’t knock ’em for lack of ambition. Founded by 25 German corporations in 2002, the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) wants to be the “INSEAD in Germany,” and they want to get there fast. We asked ESMT MBA Director Francis Bidault about the school’s plans and the German MBA market.
Francis Bidault (Photo: ESMT)
How would you assess the German MBA market right now?
There are lots of programs that are called MBA. The vast majority are either in German or bilingual. But only a handful are in English, and can really claim to be international. I could mention 10 or 15 names, and when we look at those programs that market themselves internationally – we are talking about 10 or 12, not more.
There are some quite good ones, but they are not yet in the rankings. I’d mention Mannheim, Koblenz (WHU), once in a while you see GISMA or Leipzig, and of course, ESMT. Those are the main names, but of course there are many more.
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)
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.
Hi there! This is the first in our series of interviews on MBA programs in Germany. Torsten Wulf directs the MBA program at HHL Leipzig, one of the top MBA programs in the country. We asked him why German business schools have taken so long to become competitive internationally.
Torsten Wulf (Photo: HHL Leipzig)
When will we start seeing more internationally competitive MBA programs in Germany?
I think that will happen pretty soon. We have a total of around 250 MBA programs. You have the leading schools: HHL, Mannheim, WHU in Koblenz, GISMA, ESCAP-EAP, and then you have a number of emerging ones. ESMT is doing very well right now, and I think in a couple of years they will be a major competitor because there is a lot of money behind it. Frankfurt Goethe Business School is saying that they are going to offer a full-time MBA program from next fall. A couple of the larger universities are considering setting up their own business schools, as Mannheim did. Aachen is doing that and probably Cologne will follow.