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ESMT Berlin Enters The Online MBA Game

EMST Berlin

Top-flight German business school ESMT is to launch a blended MBA, which will be taught 80% online and 20% face-to-face. The first cohort will enter the classroom — or the virtual learning environment — in September 2020.

The two-year program, which will be called a part-time MBA, will be taught in English and is aimed at employees of large companies, Mittelstand businesses and start-ups. It will have a focus on innovation and business transformation. ESMT is the first triple-accredited business school in Germany to offer a blended MBA.

Although there are hundreds of online and blended MBAs in the U.S., the market has been far slower to develop in Europe. Only a handful of programs comparable to ESMT’s are on offer, including four at UK schools — London’s Imperial College Business School, Warwick Business School, the University of Bradford School of Management and Durham University Business School – and three on the continent: Madrid’s IE Business School, MIP Politecnico di Milano, and Vlerick in Belgium.


The fee for ESMT’s program will be €38,000 ($41,800), although an early bird rate of €29,500 is available until June 2020. The cost of ESMT’s new offering is slightly below Warwick’s which now has a price tag of €39,012 for the cohort entering in June next year but significantly less costly than IE Business School’s online global MBA priced at 51,200. Warwick and IE’s programs were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 by the Financial Times this year. ESMT is entering the market at a time when more disruptive online options are coming to market in the U.S. Boston University’s Questrom School of Business will enroll its first cohort in 2020 for a program that will cost just $24,000, following the lead of the University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business which already has more than 2,500 enrolled online MBA students in its $22,000 iMBA program–half the cost of ESMT’s program (see The Low-Cost Online MBA Disrupters).

The first intake at ESMT will consist of two cohorts of 25 people, who will work together online and then come together face-to-face 14 times during the course, in which they will discuss and embed their online learning, as well as networking. Participants can choose to take the face-to-face portion in either Berlin or Munich, and because it is cohort-based, the school says that participants will be able to build a network just as they do in a full-time MBA.

The program is aimed at people who didn’t take a business-related master’s, who have at least three years’ experience who want to take an MBA, but not to give up work. The online portion of ESMT’s blended MBA will be delivered on the Insendi platform, which has been developed by a consortium of eight schools called FOME, which includes Imperial, IE, the University of Melbourne and Canadian school Ivey. ESMT’s program will be comparable to Ivey’s Accelerated MBA, albeit with a larger online component.


The program will be taught by the same faculty who teach ESMT’s full-time MBA and its structure will shadow that of a conventional MBA, with core courses followed by electives with a focus on “customer centricity, entrepreneurial strategy and innovation, digital business, and agility.” Participants will have the option to take part in overseas study experiences, compressed courses, treks and exchanges with schools in the Global Advanced Network for Management (GNAM) network of 30-plus business schools around the world.

“We know the market is there, and from a technology perspective we feel that we are now ready to deliver something that is now fully equivalent to a face-to-face program,” ESMT’s Associate Dean of Degree Programs Nick Barniville told Poets&Quants. ESMT already has experience of offering a blended MBA, as it currently delivers a customized program for Deutsche Telecom. “Our feedback is that it is equivalent if not better than a face-to-face program,” says Barniville.

The final application deadline for the first cohort is August 15, 2020.  For more information, or to apply, go to: degrees.esmt.berlin/part-time-mba