ESMT MBA in Berlin


andy.j.

Is Berlin really a good place for MBA? i also think it is a great city(visited a few times in the past), and it is considered a cheap place to live in, compared to other citys in Europe, but i keep hearing from people, that the job market there is very difficult, and that if you are looking to do a MBA in Germany, you should probably do it where the money is - in Frankfurt or Munich.

Is Berlin really a good place for MBA? i also think it is a great city(visited a few times in the past), and it is considered a cheap place to live in, compared to other citys in Europe, but i keep hearing from people, that the job market there is very difficult, and that if you are looking to do a MBA in Germany, you should probably do it where the money is - in Frankfurt or Munich.
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a_mukerjee

You are right, in Berlin it is not easy to find a job, there are a lot more workless than in other big German cities. Munich and Frankfurt are more centers of business than Berlin.
But the MBA at ESMT sounds promising, and it is not so easy to find programs in Germany with interational appeal and reputation. For instance the MBAs you can do in Frankfurt are not as good as ESMT as far as I know.

Maybe it is possible to expand your networking and business relations during studies Germany-wide? But in case you are looking for a good part time job already during your studies I presume you won't be able to integrate one in Berlin.

You are right, in Berlin it is not easy to find a job, there are a lot more workless than in other big German cities. Munich and Frankfurt are more centers of business than Berlin.
But the MBA at ESMT sounds promising, and it is not so easy to find programs in Germany with interational appeal and reputation. For instance the MBAs you can do in Frankfurt are not as good as ESMT as far as I know.

Maybe it is possible to expand your networking and business relations during studies Germany-wide? But in case you are looking for a good part time job already during your studies I presume you won't be able to integrate one in Berlin.
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ontheway

12-months MBA at ESMT is such an intensive program that one will not find any spare time for a part time job. I personally visited ESMT and attended a case study master class on Strategy. I must say that I was really impressed with ESMT campus, professors and current students. I have visited IE Business School, Madrid and ESMT campus is simply far better than that of IE Business School.

All-in-all, ESMT seems to be a good bet and I am pretty sure that it will make to the FT rankings soon. Just to add the colors to the ESMT picture, here you can find the promising placement report for MBA' 07 class: MBA' 07 Placement Report

I would like to make a note regarding 39,000 EURO MBA fee. Out of 31 students, 25 students get a scholarship for more than 20,000 EURO each. Few of them even get 100% scholarship. Therefore comparing the costs at ESMT with INSEAD or IE is not a genuine one.

12-months MBA at ESMT is such an intensive program that one will not find any spare time for a part time job. I personally visited ESMT and attended a case study master class on Strategy. I must say that I was really impressed with ESMT campus, professors and current students. I have visited IE Business School, Madrid and ESMT campus is simply far better than that of IE Business School.

All-in-all, ESMT seems to be a good bet and I am pretty sure that it will make to the FT rankings soon. Just to add the colors to the ESMT picture, here you can find the promising placement report for MBA' 07 class: <a href="http://www.esmt.org/fm/291/MBA_Class_of_2007_placement_report.pdf">MBA' 07 Placement Report</a>

I would like to make a note regarding 39,000 EURO MBA fee. Out of 31 students, 25 students get a scholarship for more than 20,000 EURO each. Few of them even get 100% scholarship. Therefore comparing the costs at ESMT with INSEAD or IE is not a genuine one.
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JohnnyL

Hi there,

when you know German just have a look at the German press and you will know why they grant the conditions mentioned above. There are much better options, believe me.

Best,
JL

Hi there,

when you know German just have a look at the German press and you will know why they grant the conditions mentioned above. There are much better options, believe me.

Best,
JL
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Evan2007

Hi JohnnyL - At this point, you are probably right. But the most recent report I've read earlier this year in FT's German version (I think) wasn't quite so negative. It mentioned that the school was getting on track after a shaky start. It will be interesting to see how it develops over time. Having visited the campus myself a while ago I agree with the other commentators that it leaves a good impression. Evan

Hi JohnnyL - At this point, you are probably right. But the most recent report I've read earlier this year in FT's German version (I think) wasn't quite so negative. It mentioned that the school was getting on track after a shaky start. It will be interesting to see how it develops over time. Having visited the campus myself a while ago I agree with the other commentators that it leaves a good impression. Evan
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JohnnyL

Hi Evan2007,

I agree with you that the ESMT campus is rather impressive. But the academic quality and their appearance in the public is still very poor.

Only the articles in Die Welt, a newspaper owned by Axel Springer (one of the sponsors of ESMT!), and those written by a journalist called Axel Gloger are positive. The coverage of other publications (e.g. Spiegel.de, FTD) transport a very negative image of ESMT.

Best,
JL

Hi Evan2007,

I agree with you that the ESMT campus is rather impressive. But the academic quality and their appearance in the public is still very poor.

Only the articles in Die Welt, a newspaper owned by Axel Springer (one of the sponsors of ESMT!), and those written by a journalist called Axel Gloger are positive. The coverage of other publications (e.g. Spiegel.de, FTD) transport a very negative image of ESMT.

Best,
JL
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Evan2007

Hi JL - Cool. I love that you are watching these journalists so closely! A friend of mine who knows I'm looking into German schools rummaged up an article in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, "Traum vom Berliner Harvard" from September 7, which is not quite as negative a coverage you mention.

What are your favorites in Germany, by the way? Evan

Hi JL - Cool. I love that you are watching these journalists so closely! A friend of mine who knows I'm looking into German schools rummaged up an article in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, "Traum vom Berliner Harvard" from September 7, which is not quite as negative a coverage you mention.

What are your favorites in Germany, by the way? Evan
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JohnnyL

Hi Evan,

You are right, this article is not as negative as many others which I have read in last time. On the other hand, the fact that they are far away from getting an international accreditation, that they hardly received a German accreditation (the report of the Wissenschaftsrat can be found in the Internet) and that they obviously faked a Mexican ranking is a clear evidence of incapacity. So be beware of that school! MBA Channel, which seems to be an independent German information site, has reported many times about ESMT in a very negative way. And Berlin is far away from being an economic or financial centre in Germany.

As far as I can overview it, Mannheim with its triple accreditation, its ranking positions and its tradition and WHU with its very good EMBA and its close ties to companies seem to be the key players on the German market.

Best,
JL

Hi Evan,

You are right, this article is not as negative as many others which I have read in last time. On the other hand, the fact that they are far away from getting an international accreditation, that they hardly received a German accreditation (the report of the Wissenschaftsrat can be found in the Internet) and that they obviously faked a Mexican ranking is a clear evidence of incapacity. So be beware of that school! MBA Channel, which seems to be an independent German information site, has reported many times about ESMT in a very negative way. And Berlin is far away from being an economic or financial centre in Germany.

As far as I can overview it, Mannheim with its triple accreditation, its ranking positions and its tradition and WHU with its very good EMBA and its close ties to companies seem to be the key players on the German market.

Best,
JL
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Evan2007

Hi JL - Yeah, Frau Schwertfeger really went after ESMT in the Financial Times, huh? Just read it. (Were you aware that the journalist you mentioned before, Axel Gloger, also writes or wrote for FT?) Anyway, yeah, I dunno. We'll keep our eyes on them - one eye cautious and the other one hopeful. The idea of a solid business school in Berlin is just too good, but maybe we're just aren't there yet. I don't think it's that critical that Berlin isn't a financial center. Neither is Lausanne (or Mannheim), I guess. Take care! Evan

Hi JL - Yeah, Frau Schwertfeger really went after ESMT in the Financial Times, huh? Just read it. (Were you aware that the journalist you mentioned before, Axel Gloger, also writes or wrote for FT?) Anyway, yeah, I dunno. We'll keep our eyes on them - one eye cautious and the other one hopeful. The idea of a solid business school in Berlin is just too good, but maybe we're just aren't there yet. I don't think it's that critical that Berlin isn't a financial center. Neither is Lausanne (or Mannheim), I guess. Take care! Evan
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JohnnyL

Hi Evan,

Yes, Frau Schwertfeger must be called the iron lady within the German business school world. But in most articles, she seems to write the truth. She was the first person to report about the financial problems of GISMA, she found out that ESMT faked a ranking and she pointed out the weak points of ESMT from the beginning.

I agree with you that Berlin needs a solid business school. But I do not believe that ESMT will manage to get to this level. Perhaps IMD, LBS (or Mannheim or WHU) should establish a branch there. :o)

Best,
JL

Hi Evan,

Yes, Frau Schwertfeger must be called the iron lady within the German business school world. But in most articles, she seems to write the truth. She was the first person to report about the financial problems of GISMA, she found out that ESMT faked a ranking and she pointed out the weak points of ESMT from the beginning.

I agree with you that Berlin needs a solid business school. But I do not believe that ESMT will manage to get to this level. Perhaps IMD, LBS (or Mannheim or WHU) should establish a branch there. :o)

Best,
JL
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AALRO

Dear Evan & Johnny

It' s been quite interesting to follow your comments on the ESMT..., as I am really interested in doing an MBA in Berlin, I decided to go check out the Campus, and I was really satisfied... I ' ve also been doing some research on the proffesors and most of them come from well known MBA schools (INSEAD, IMB... etc..) wich seems great.... I also contacted former MBA students and I got in contact with 3 of them (classes 06 , 07 ) and I got really good comments ...., besides, they all got promising Job offers (consulting, energy ) and are still sattisfied with their desition..... It is clear that when you read strong articles such as those you have mentioned.. you'd rather go somewhere else.. but from what I've learned of ESMT, particulary from their ex-MBA's I believe that it can be a very promising option..

Alex

Dear Evan & Johnny

It' s been quite interesting to follow your comments on the ESMT..., as I am really interested in doing an MBA in Berlin, I decided to go check out the Campus, and I was really satisfied... I ' ve also been doing some research on the proffesors and most of them come from well known MBA schools (INSEAD, IMB... etc..) wich seems great.... I also contacted former MBA students and I got in contact with 3 of them (classes 06 , 07 ) and I got really good comments ...., besides, they all got promising Job offers (consulting, energy ) and are still sattisfied with their desition..... It is clear that when you read strong articles such as those you have mentioned.. you'd rather go somewhere else.. but from what I've learned of ESMT, particulary from their ex-MBA's I believe that it can be a very promising option..

Alex
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LaVoz de G...

On the other hand, the fact that they are far away from getting an international accreditation, that they hardly received a German accreditation..


ESMT got the AMBA accreditation now: http://www.esmt.org/eng/about-esmt/esmt-internationally-accredited/

Still, I agree that Mannheim has the highest rated MBA program in Germany right now.

<blockquote>On the other hand, the fact that they are far away from getting an international accreditation, that they hardly received a German accreditation..
</blockquote>

ESMT got the AMBA accreditation now: http://www.esmt.org/eng/about-esmt/esmt-internationally-accredited/

Still, I agree that Mannheim has the highest rated MBA program in Germany right now.
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Evan2007

Wow. I thought that accreditation would take longer.

Anyway, yes, Mannheim and Leipzig probably still reign in Germany.

Wow. I thought that accreditation would take longer.

Anyway, yes, Mannheim and Leipzig probably still reign in Germany.
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JohnnyL

Congratulations to ESMT. On the other hand, they hardly managed to get accredited by the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) a few months ago. This accreditation looks on the academic quality and what they wrote in their report (it can completely be read in the Internet) was not very positive! MBA-channel.com published an article on that topic ("Accreditation with harsh criticism").

All in all, the AMBA accreditation might be a little step forward for ESMT. But they are still far behind the top schools in Germany.

Best, JL

Congratulations to ESMT. On the other hand, they hardly managed to get accredited by the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) a few months ago. This accreditation looks on the academic quality and what they wrote in their report (it can completely be read in the Internet) was not very positive! MBA-channel.com published an article on that topic ("Accreditation with harsh criticism").

All in all, the AMBA accreditation might be a little step forward for ESMT. But they are still far behind the top schools in Germany.

Best, JL
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JSchoewe

Hello all!

I am considering to do my MBA at ESMT as well, and from what I have found out, ESMT is not as bad as it is portrayed here. Of course there is negative press on ESMT - it is a young program and a young school - however there is positive press as well. I dont think one should judge the academic quality based on press articles...

I have attended an on-campus info day, sat in on a class and have spoken to alumni and current students. The insight and feedback I got there was a very positive one and I think someone who has already gone through the program can judge ESMT better than any journalist ever will...

To anyone who is interested in reading something authentic about ESMT (and not one of Bärbel Schwertfegers somewhat biased articles...) I recommend a series of articles by Stephan Swinkels (current MBA Student at ESMT) who writes for Financial Times on ft.com:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7a0fd6d4-1887-11de-bec8-0000779fd2ac.html

Cheers!

Hello all!

I am considering to do my MBA at ESMT as well, and from what I have found out, ESMT is not as bad as it is portrayed here. Of course there is negative press on ESMT - it is a young program and a young school - however there is positive press as well. I dont think one should judge the academic quality based on press articles...

I have attended an on-campus info day, sat in on a class and have spoken to alumni and current students. The insight and feedback I got there was a very positive one and I think someone who has already gone through the program can judge ESMT better than any journalist ever will...

To anyone who is interested in reading something authentic about ESMT (and not one of Bärbel Schwertfegers somewhat biased articles...) I recommend a series of articles by Stephan Swinkels (current MBA Student at ESMT) who writes for Financial Times on ft.com:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7a0fd6d4-1887-11de-bec8-0000779fd2ac.html

Cheers!

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JohnnyL

Hi JSchoewe,

An independent journalist (Bärbel Schwertfeger) is biased and a current ESMT student, perhaps backed with a generous scholarship like many at ESMT, is not - this is what I call logical reasoning... I hope you have already passed your GMAT! :o)

Concerning the academic quality of ESMT, you only have to have a closer look at the accreditation report of the Wissenschaftsrat and you know what I have meant in my earlier postings. Since you seem to be German you won't have difficulties in finding the harsh criticism between the lines.

Best,
JL

Hi JSchoewe,

An independent journalist (Bärbel Schwertfeger) is biased and a current ESMT student, perhaps backed with a generous scholarship like many at ESMT, is not - this is what I call logical reasoning... I hope you have already passed your GMAT! :o)

Concerning the academic quality of ESMT, you only have to have a closer look at the accreditation report of the Wissenschaftsrat and you know what I have meant in my earlier postings. Since you seem to be German you won't have difficulties in finding the harsh criticism between the lines.

Best,
JL
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JSchoewe

Dear JL,

you seem to take this discussion very personal, is there a specific reason why you dislike ESMT so much?

Perhaps we have a different definition of "biased", but for me a journalist who exclusively reports negatively on a certain subject seems not very objective...
As you can imagine in my search for an MBA Program, I have been following the press on all my choices very closely, and there are also positive articles about ESMT. There never is only a negative side to an aspect, and in my opinion Mrs. Schwertfegers one-sided articles prove that she might not be as independent as you claim she is. As said - this is of course my personal opinion, and you dont have to agree.

I still think it is important to find out about a school first hand for yourself, and I do value feedback from alumni and current ESMT students more than articles in the press. They are the ones that should know best, and no matter if "like many at ESMT" (this sounds like you must have very detailed knowledge of their figures?) backed by a scholarship or not , I don't see a motivation to lie about the program to potential students. Or would you, as a student enrolled in an MBA whose quality your have discovered to be poor, recommend this to other people?

I have not read the report of the Wissenschaftsrat, but I will do that. I can tell you in advance though that I am positive the WR would not accredit an institution that did not deserve it. Wouldn't you agree?

JSchoewe

Dear JL,

you seem to take this discussion very personal, is there a specific reason why you dislike ESMT so much?

Perhaps we have a different definition of "biased", but for me a journalist who exclusively reports negatively on a certain subject seems not very objective...
As you can imagine in my search for an MBA Program, I have been following the press on all my choices very closely, and there are also positive articles about ESMT. There never is only a negative side to an aspect, and in my opinion Mrs. Schwertfegers one-sided articles prove that she might not be as independent as you claim she is. As said - this is of course my personal opinion, and you dont have to agree.

I still think it is important to find out about a school first hand for yourself, and I do value feedback from alumni and current ESMT students more than articles in the press. They are the ones that should know best, and no matter if "like many at ESMT" (this sounds like you must have very detailed knowledge of their figures?) backed by a scholarship or not , I don't see a motivation to lie about the program to potential students. Or would you, as a student enrolled in an MBA whose quality your have discovered to be poor, recommend this to other people?

I have not read the report of the Wissenschaftsrat, but I will do that. I can tell you in advance though that I am positive the WR would not accredit an institution that did not deserve it. Wouldn't you agree?

JSchoewe
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JohnnyL

Dear JSchoewe,

Don't worry, I don't take this discussion personal. I simply don't like the way ESMT communicates and tries to communicate via different channels.

I have had a closer look at nearly all accredited business schools in Germany (personally or at the respective fairs) in the past few months and concerning ESMT, I have the impression that they do a very aggressive marketing, but what they offer is still far below average. The building is impressive and Berlin is a great town, but that's all. And it is not only Barbel Schwertfeger who seems to dislike ESMT. Or have you ever read something positive in the Handelsblatt, Wirtschaftswoche or Suddeutsche Zeitung about this school??? At one of the fairs I had the chance to talk to at German journalist (not Schwertfeger!) and that person told me exactly why they ignore ESMT. Academic excellence, the missing accreditations and ranking positions (including ranking faking!) are only a few issues that person mentioned... For me, this information is much more reliable than the information you receive by current students and alumni. No matter if they are backed with a scholarship or not - when they act clever they won't tell you anything bad about the school since thy lower their own image/market value by doing so.

Best,
JL

Dear JSchoewe,

Don't worry, I don't take this discussion personal. I simply don't like the way ESMT communicates and tries to communicate via different channels.

I have had a closer look at nearly all accredited business schools in Germany (personally or at the respective fairs) in the past few months and concerning ESMT, I have the impression that they do a very aggressive marketing, but what they offer is still far below average. The building is impressive and Berlin is a great town, but that's all. And it is not only Barbel Schwertfeger who seems to dislike ESMT. Or have you ever read something positive in the Handelsblatt, Wirtschaftswoche or Suddeutsche Zeitung about this school??? At one of the fairs I had the chance to talk to at German journalist (not Schwertfeger!) and that person told me exactly why they ignore ESMT. Academic excellence, the missing accreditations and ranking positions (including ranking faking!) are only a few issues that person mentioned... For me, this information is much more reliable than the information you receive by current students and alumni. No matter if they are backed with a scholarship or not - when they act clever they won't tell you anything bad about the school since thy lower their own image/market value by doing so.

Best,
JL

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ontheway

Dear All,

I've gone through all the posts here and found that discussion is mainly about the ESMT critics. Just to make it clear, I applied to three business schools at all: one is in top 5 (FT rankings), another is in top 10 (FT Rankings) and ESMT. Now, don't ask me why only these three and how come ESMT at all came to my mind while applying to other top 10 business schools in the world. May be I'll write another post about it.

Well, there are always arguments, if one wants to argue. There are always positives and negatives for every entity but at the end of the day decision is yours. Trust me, most of the times decision is subjective. I heard you saying that your decision is rational and based on the concrete data such as MBA rankings. Should you trust FT rankings, Business Week Rankings or Economists Rankings? Which ranking you trust is again a subjective decision. As you?ll read during your MBA that 90% of the buying decisions are emotional and people claiming that their buying decisions were rational actually try to justify their emotional decisions and cover it up with some post-buying rational.

So, to continue the story, I was accepted by all three business schools. I researched like a mad guy on the internet, read all the articles these schools. There is tons of material shouting not to join top 10 business schools including for ESMT from the popular Ms. Bärbel Schwertfeger. At least, ESMT helped Ms. Bärbel Schwertfeger to be a celebrity amongst ESMT MBA aspirants.

I don?t want to analyze and make it my personal motto to stand either on Ms. Schwertfeger?s side or on the opposite one. After being accepted by all these schools, I found myself in a very difficult situation to align my post-MBA goals in terms of school reputation (branding), placements in my target industry and geographic location, ROI (Return On Investment) and family preferences. Please don?t come-up with comments such as, ?If you were not sure of joining these schools then why would you apply to?? I know there are many far smarter guys than me and there are many out there who?d suspect my logical mind-set, up to asking whether my GMAT was good. My GMAT was 95% plus (I don?t want to put exact number to feel myself superior) and it should give few out there a good idea about my critical reasoning and logical thinking skills, if it really does help at all. There is also one very interesting aspect about such guys who used to throw bold statements on others that MOST of these guys were either not able to make themselves an informed decision or not able to join any top league school.

I also looked at Germany?s top shot business schools. These are the German schools which got almost only positive information on the web. Probably, Ms. Schwertfeger also writes positive about the academics, rankings and placements of these schools. I decided to give them a shot. I visited their websites and found that, unfortunately, their application deadlines were over months ago. But, you know, when you have nothing to lose you are in a position to earn the most because you can try something unusual and don?t feel the heat of risking it. So, I sent an email to top two German business schools explaining my profile and expressing my intentions to get a place on the upcoming class. Guess, what? I got a positive response from both of the schools without even applying to them including possible scholarship options. I was requested to send the formal application form in order to complete the admission process and get a place on the upcoming class. I was flattered. I decided to go ahead with application process. I visited school?s websites and tried to find out more about the application process.

Once I saw the application form, I was shocked. I really mean it. If you have applied to other top business schools, you?ll understand use of my word SHOCK. Is this an application form? Are they going to make an idea of my persona using my employment history? And the best of all, final application form is a simple PDF document that you have to print and fill-up in handwriting. We are in 21st century, talking about the electronic currency and these top German MBA schools are still using the old-fashioned handwritten forms. There are no essays in the application form. As it seems they are not interested to know the applicant. Don?t tell me they?ll get an idea during the interview process. Please save your comments on that. I researched a lot about the faculty and other aspects of these top German MBA schools and came to a conclusion that most of these schools have re-packaged their so called masters (Diplom in German that combines Bachelor and Master degree together, so students directly get a Masters) in to an MBA. These schools are German recruiter?s top choice. Of course, it would be a shame if recruiters still won?t go there after decades of their establishments. But, recruiters used to go there to recruit Diplom students. If you live in Germany, you?ll know the importance of Diplom. Recruiters are obsessed with Diplom. Nobody gives a damn to MBA. But, now it?s changing because there is no more Diplom. German government has broken Diplom in to two parts Bachelor and Master, as usual in other parts of the world. Therefore, many new MBA schools are popping-up in Germany and older well established schools (who are current top shots) are re-packaging their final Diplom semesters? coursework as an MBA. I?m not saying that these schools are bad but it will take them some time to get out of Diplom mind-set. I won?t call them pure MBA schools. They have got the university culture and university style of teaching. Don?t be fooled by their claims of case studies. Having case studies in the course work and REALLY getting something out of case studies are two different things.

I did not join ESMT but one thing I can say (don?t forget this is my personal opinion) about ESMT is that it is the best German business school. Look at their admission form, their admission process, their faculty, their way of teaching and their faculty diversity as well as student diversity. Look at the faculty profiles and I bet you?ll be impressed. Many faculty members used to teach at top business schools such as Harvard, IMD, INSEAD, London Business School, Duke etc. What does Ms. Schwertfeger expect from such a new school? It is always easy to criticize someone. Give a baby time to grow-up and then assess it. None of the German schools compare to ESMT when it comes to practice MBA, when it comes to understand MBA. If you are just looking for placements as your only criterion then ESMT may not be the best choice today. But, as now the German government has broken Diplom in to Bachelor and Master, ESMT should be able to position itself well ahead. When INSEAD and IMD started they were not a great school. They are a great school today after operating for decades.

I read somewhere that ESMT is trying hard to market itself. Do you think it should not? There are always scandals or wrong strategic moves from almost everyone and sometimes one is responsible oneself while at times one is projected wrong. Look at Harvard which made 700 million dollars loss this year through its investments. Would you say that a school that cannot manage its own investments cannot teach you investments? Oh, probably, you will still accept to go to Harvard? Every school makes mistakes, everyone makes mistakes but that is not the end of the life. If you are looking for an MBA in Germany and not for refurbished Diplom as an MBA, I?ll recommend you to give a close consideration to ESMT.

Dear All,

I've gone through all the posts here and found that discussion is mainly about the ESMT critics. Just to make it clear, I applied to three business schools at all: one is in top 5 (FT rankings), another is in top 10 (FT Rankings) and ESMT. Now, don't ask me why only these three and how come ESMT at all came to my mind while applying to other top 10 business schools in the world. May be I'll write another post about it.

Well, there are always arguments, if one wants to argue. There are always positives and negatives for every entity but at the end of the day decision is yours. Trust me, most of the times decision is subjective. I heard you saying that your decision is rational and based on the concrete data such as MBA rankings. Should you trust FT rankings, Business Week Rankings or Economists Rankings? Which ranking you trust is again a subjective decision. As you?ll read during your MBA that 90% of the buying decisions are emotional and people claiming that their buying decisions were rational actually try to justify their emotional decisions and cover it up with some post-buying rational.

So, to continue the story, I was accepted by all three business schools. I researched like a mad guy on the internet, read all the articles these schools. There is tons of material shouting not to join top 10 business schools including for ESMT from the popular Ms. Bärbel Schwertfeger. At least, ESMT helped Ms. Bärbel Schwertfeger to be a celebrity amongst ESMT MBA aspirants.

I don?t want to analyze and make it my personal motto to stand either on Ms. Schwertfeger?s side or on the opposite one. After being accepted by all these schools, I found myself in a very difficult situation to align my post-MBA goals in terms of school reputation (branding), placements in my target industry and geographic location, ROI (Return On Investment) and family preferences. Please don?t come-up with comments such as, ?If you were not sure of joining these schools then why would you apply to?? I know there are many far smarter guys than me and there are many out there who?d suspect my logical mind-set, up to asking whether my GMAT was good. My GMAT was 95% plus (I don?t want to put exact number to feel myself superior) and it should give few out there a good idea about my critical reasoning and logical thinking skills, if it really does help at all. There is also one very interesting aspect about such guys who used to throw bold statements on others that MOST of these guys were either not able to make themselves an informed decision or not able to join any top league school.

I also looked at Germany?s top shot business schools. These are the German schools which got almost only positive information on the web. Probably, Ms. Schwertfeger also writes positive about the academics, rankings and placements of these schools. I decided to give them a shot. I visited their websites and found that, unfortunately, their application deadlines were over months ago. But, you know, when you have nothing to lose you are in a position to earn the most because you can try something unusual and don?t feel the heat of risking it. So, I sent an email to top two German business schools explaining my profile and expressing my intentions to get a place on the upcoming class. Guess, what? I got a positive response from both of the schools without even applying to them including possible scholarship options. I was requested to send the formal application form in order to complete the admission process and get a place on the upcoming class. I was flattered. I decided to go ahead with application process. I visited school?s websites and tried to find out more about the application process.

Once I saw the application form, I was shocked. I really mean it. If you have applied to other top business schools, you?ll understand use of my word SHOCK. Is this an application form? Are they going to make an idea of my persona using my employment history? And the best of all, final application form is a simple PDF document that you have to print and fill-up in handwriting. We are in 21st century, talking about the electronic currency and these top German MBA schools are still using the old-fashioned handwritten forms. There are no essays in the application form. As it seems they are not interested to know the applicant. Don?t tell me they?ll get an idea during the interview process. Please save your comments on that. I researched a lot about the faculty and other aspects of these top German MBA schools and came to a conclusion that most of these schools have re-packaged their so called masters (Diplom in German that combines Bachelor and Master degree together, so students directly get a Masters) in to an MBA. These schools are German recruiter?s top choice. Of course, it would be a shame if recruiters still won?t go there after decades of their establishments. But, recruiters used to go there to recruit Diplom students. If you live in Germany, you?ll know the importance of Diplom. Recruiters are obsessed with Diplom. Nobody gives a damn to MBA. But, now it?s changing because there is no more Diplom. German government has broken Diplom in to two parts Bachelor and Master, as usual in other parts of the world. Therefore, many new MBA schools are popping-up in Germany and older well established schools (who are current top shots) are re-packaging their final Diplom semesters? coursework as an MBA. I?m not saying that these schools are bad but it will take them some time to get out of Diplom mind-set. I won?t call them pure MBA schools. They have got the university culture and university style of teaching. Don?t be fooled by their claims of case studies. Having case studies in the course work and REALLY getting something out of case studies are two different things.

I did not join ESMT but one thing I can say (don?t forget this is my personal opinion) about ESMT is that it is the best German business school. Look at their admission form, their admission process, their faculty, their way of teaching and their faculty diversity as well as student diversity. Look at the faculty profiles and I bet you?ll be impressed. Many faculty members used to teach at top business schools such as Harvard, IMD, INSEAD, London Business School, Duke etc. What does Ms. Schwertfeger expect from such a new school? It is always easy to criticize someone. Give a baby time to grow-up and then assess it. None of the German schools compare to ESMT when it comes to practice MBA, when it comes to understand MBA. If you are just looking for placements as your only criterion then ESMT may not be the best choice today. But, as now the German government has broken Diplom in to Bachelor and Master, ESMT should be able to position itself well ahead. When INSEAD and IMD started they were not a great school. They are a great school today after operating for decades.

I read somewhere that ESMT is trying hard to market itself. Do you think it should not? There are always scandals or wrong strategic moves from almost everyone and sometimes one is responsible oneself while at times one is projected wrong. Look at Harvard which made 700 million dollars loss this year through its investments. Would you say that a school that cannot manage its own investments cannot teach you investments? Oh, probably, you will still accept to go to Harvard? Every school makes mistakes, everyone makes mistakes but that is not the end of the life. If you are looking for an MBA in Germany and not for refurbished Diplom as an MBA, I?ll recommend you to give a close consideration to ESMT.
quote
JohnnyL

Hi ontheway,

It is a little bit astonishing/irritating how committed a person with only two postings in this forum is to a school at which he or she is neither enrolled nor employed. ;-)))

I do not know at which other German schools you did apply applied but at those which have visited or talked to I didn't have the impression that they just "recycled" their Diplom. I also could not find what you call a university culture there.

And to be honest, I do not care that much about the application form, but more about the selction process and who gets admitted. All in all, I did not have the impression that the smartest German brains teach and study at ESMT. This is my personal opinion and believe me, I really had a close look on nearly all accredited schools in Germany.

Best,
JL

Hi ontheway,

It is a little bit astonishing/irritating how committed a person with only two postings in this forum is to a school at which he or she is neither enrolled nor employed. ;-)))

I do not know at which other German schools you did apply applied but at those which have visited or talked to I didn't have the impression that they just "recycled" their Diplom. I also could not find what you call a university culture there.

And to be honest, I do not care that much about the application form, but more about the selction process and who gets admitted. All in all, I did not have the impression that the smartest German brains teach and study at ESMT. This is my personal opinion and believe me, I really had a close look on nearly all accredited schools in Germany.

Best,
JL
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