The ESMT MBA: What You Need To Know
If proof were needed that ESMT Berlin is no ordinary business school, just check out its location: in the former National Council building of the old East German state, where the standout feature is a spectacular, 20-meter high socialist-realist stained glass window depicting the GDR’s heroic workers.
Founded in 2002 by 25 mostly German multinational businesses, ESMT is one of just four triple-accredited schools in Germany and was recently ranked number 1 in Germany and ninth in Europe in the FT European Business School Ranking for the second year in a row, and ranked 79th in the most recent FT Global MBA rankings. In the Poets&Quants composite ranking of non-US MBAs, it came 22nd, making it the second highest-ranked German program.
Its most recent full-time MBA cohort had 51 students from 24 countries, with 28% from Asia, 21% from North America and 12 percent from Latin America. The class, whose average age was 30, mainly had backgrounds in engineering (29%) and business/management (23%).
This MBA is a fine way to move country and jump into Europe’s wealthiest economy. Of the most recent class, 80 percent moved country, around the same changed job function, 70% changed industry and a full half of them changed all three, making the so-called triple-jump. It should also be added, 10 percent started their own business, as you might expect in Europe’s start-up capital.
The impact of Berlin’s teach culture can clearly be seen in the types of jobs that MBAs go into. While, predictably, consulting is the top sector for graduates, taking 25% of the most recent class, the next most popular sectors were technology, e-commerce and fintech.
ESMT is keen to go beyond the old one-size-fits-all MBA, and is striving to personalize the course as much as possible. It is offering specializations in key areas currently sought after in the German job market – Managerial Analytics, Innovation & Entrepreneurship and Strategic Leadership. If graduates want to give back, they can choose to participate in the fully-funded Responsible Leaders Fellowship following graduation.
Following a recent overhaul, the full-time MBA program now has three areas of focus: one, integrated thinking, on the grounds that the traditional siloed courses (microeconomics, marketing, etc.) don’t reflect the more fluid nature of modern business; two, digital thinking, because jobs have changed and students need to be experts in innovation management, business model innovation, change, and disruption; and three, creativity.
The new-look ESMT MBA will encourage students to think innovatively and to take more control over their learning process. ESMT’s MBA will have a shorter core segment and more electives and career-oriented options. The idea is to produce leaders with a T-shaped expertise: competence across the range of MBA subjects and skills, complemented by a deep knowledge in one area. The focus will be on fostering business intelligence — for example, linking R&D with business outcomes — to promote innovation management and leverage the school’s location in Berlin to sharpen students’ entrepreneurial skills. For those looking at more traditional jobs, there will be plenty of interaction with industry, too.
In the spirit of not letting a crisis go to waste, ESMT reacted to the pandemic and the resultant enforced hybrid learning by investing €400,000 to convert three of its auditoriums into “hybrid classrooms,” with video walls, tracking cameras and mics that pick up who is speaking. The school says that hybrid learning will be part of the future learning experience for all of its degree programs – it currently also offers a Master’s in Management, Executive MBA and Part-Time MBA, and plans to add a fully online MBA soon.
Nick Barniville, Associate Dean of Degree Programs:
Our MBA is shaped by two things. One, it is in Germany, meaning that we have a technology and innovation focus which mirrors the German economy. Many of our graduates find their first post-MBA jobs in Germany, so in many ways we are preparing them to work in this economy and we have employability boot camps to help them with that. But secondly, we are in Berlin, which brings a strong entrepreneurial flavor as well. Berlin is a very cosmopolitan city, many languages are spoken, and it is a very fluid, tolerant, and accepting place that is open to new ideas. That naturally gives us a very strong focus on innovation that comes through in many elements of the MBA.
ESMT MBA Rankings Data
ESMT MBA Employment Stats
ESMT does not list top hiring organizations but rather lists an example of companies that have recruited the school’s graduate MBAs.