New B-School Born In Berlin

Most of the inaugural MBA class at Berlin School of Business and Innovation, which opened this spring. BSBI photo

There are only three German business schools in the 2018 Financial Times ranking of global MBA programs: Mannheim Business School, ESMT Berlin, and WHU Beisheim at Nos. 61, 88, and 94, respectively. Mannheim fell six places from last year, and Berlin dropped 14. (A minor victory: Beisheim was unranked in 2017.) The picture isn’t so grim in another ranking: ours. In the 2017 Poets&Quants list of international B-schools, Mannheim sits at No. 11, ESMT at No. 25, HHL Leipzig at No. 66, and WHU Beisheim at No. 68.

Still, it was another humdrum year of accolades for German B-schools. Their perennial also-ran status reinforces the fact that despite being Europe’s biggest economy, Germany has never been a top destination for business student talent like England and France are. That’s unlikely to change any time soon, even with the announcement that a new school launched this spring in the German capital.

The Berlin School of Business and Innovation welcomed the first cohort to its 18-month Global MBA this spring, 11 students ages 24 to 28 chosen from more than two dozen applicants hailing from around Europe and Africa. BSBI, which also offers an undergraduate business program, has concentrations in marketing, finance, tourism, hospitality events management, and fashion retail; the school’s first candidates find themselves in a program “designed to build a career in international business giving learners a truly global perspective,” says Sagi Hartov, the school’s managing director.


The new B-school is part of Global University Systems, which is focused on low-level academic offerings like the London School of Business and Finance. Still, while it may never compete at the level of Mannheim or ESMT — or the schools that regularly outshine them in the rankings — expectations are high at BSBI, Hartov says, not least because of the school’s location.

“We are excited to welcome our first students here in Berlin,” adds Hartov, who is also the executive dean and academic director at London College of Contemporary Arts in London, in a statement announcing the launch of the BSBI Global MBA.

“This is a highly sought-after destination for higher education, and we are happy to see that our academic offer has already been able to attract candidates eager to further their studies with us.”


Sagi Hartov, managing director of the new Berlin School of Business and Innovation. BSBI photo

Berlin and Germany may be highly sought-after destinations in higher education in general, but they are bringing up the B-school rear among Europe’s top economies. Countries that have at least one school ranked higher by FT than Mannheim, Germany’s highest-ranked school: the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and France. The UK has seven schools ranked higher.

Can BSBI change that? Unlikely. To paraphrase one recent German correspondent with Poets&Quants, that would be like the University of Phoenix saying it’s competing with Wharton.

No doubt, the new school’s administrators have no such lofty ambitions. But spirits are running high in the new MBA program.

“At BSBI we are truly committed to helping our students build a successful future,” Senior Program Manager Beate Appel says in a news release. “Our goal is to create new opportunities and provide them with a platform to excel in their chosen field, offering affordable quality education with career-oriented programs that will equip them with the necessary skills to become accomplished professionals.”

All BSBI programs are marketed for both the local German market and students from around the world. The Berlin School’s postgraduate programs have been selected among those offered by Università Telematica Internazionale UNINETTUNO, to be delivered by BSBI faculty through a blended method of on-campus lectures and study activities in Berlin, as well via the UNINETTUNO e-learning platform and didactic model.

All courses use hands-on teaching methods, such as case studies, visits to businesses, guest speakers, and classroom discussions. Students are provided with free German language lessons and will undertake an internship to enhance their understanding of the German workplace.


The first students arrived in Berlin this spring, introduced to the school by Appel. Following an induction they took part in a study week dedicated to German language and culture, and lessons began in early June.

BSBI works in collaboration with several international institutions. The Language Gallery will provide German language classes for students across all courses, while e-learning provider InterActive Pro will support with online delivery. Students will have access to a wide range of services, according to the news release, including employability counseling and career guidance. Moreover, BSBI has partnered with Global Hospitality Services and Leonardo Hotels to help students gain work experience in the hospitality and tourism industry. Meanwhile, the school is working to secure more corporate partnerships, with a particular focus on entrepreneurship and integration with the German market. 

All courses require internships, which will give students the opportunity to practice in the working environment related to their program of choice and access employment opportunities.

“We want our graduates to be able to enter the job market as highly qualified professionals, and we will be helping them throughout their studies and after their graduation,” says Hartov, principal of Creative Arts for Global University Systems and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts who previously taught as visiting professor at London Academy of Music.



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