Master of Business Administration

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a postgraduate generalist management degree, which should cover all the main management functions. MBA is also the name for the acquired through this study academic degree. More recently ( since about 2009), however, numerous moderate specializations have developed under the label MBA, which are also recognized by the accreditation agencies.

  • 5.1 Accreditation in Germany
  • 5.2 Accreditation in Austria


A Master of Commercial Science said preform the MBA was first awarded in 1902 at the Tuck School at Dartmouth College in Hanover (New Hampshire) (New Hampshire, USA). The Harvard University in 1921, the second university that offered such a program. Universities in the United Kingdom followed. However, the importance of the MBA was - compared to bachelor and also in absolute terms - still low. Only since the 1950s, curricular standardization and profile building loomed through which a number of compulsory subjects such as accounting and finance is well established. By the early 1970s the MBA program of the American business press against the backdrop of increasingly gloomy economic, later, the oil crisis, a negative future was prophesied by falling student numbers due to lack of demand for MBA graduates. The opposite happened and the range of MBA programs quadrupled compared to last year tithe.

The first all- German MBA program was established in 1990 at the European Institute of the University of Saarland. One of the first German colleges with MBA program in 1993 was the Berlin School of Economics. In the 1970s, kept curricular innovations such as simulation games and training firms moving into the training. Since the 1990s, the increasing internationalization also shapes the image of the MBA programs. Communication skills are becoming increasingly important today.


An MBA program is designed primarily as a generalist management degree, which should cover all the main management functions. Limited specializations are permissible. Target groups of these programs include engineers, natural and social scientists, lawyers and doctors who want to qualify for management positions or high positions in the public service. Rarely, it is aimed at economists who have studied in the previous studies with different focuses.

As a Master degree program MBA in Europe is classified in the system of the Bologna process in the second stage of the study system. This means that the MBA usually requires a first degree (eg bachelor ) or an equivalent qualification preceded by a classification in the European Credit Transfer System is required, the MBA is complete with a master's thesis and comparability by a Diploma Supplement must be documented. According KMK decision of 21 April 2005 must also at MBA programs, because the financial statements is a "master" and the right to promotion, overall academic performance to be demonstrated by at least five years or at least 300 ECTS. Many MBA do not meet the respect of the new Bachelor degrees (usually with only 180 ECTS) and are located as previous accreditations five years are valid, in a transitional phase.

1997 developed MBA Guidelines ( Guidelines ) are of central importance for the understanding of MBA programs. They were developed by education experts and accreditation organizations from 19 European countries and the United States.

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements are not uniform in the universities. A formal minimum requirement usually a university degree ( bachelor's or master's degree) and several years' experience apply. In some universities, candidates without a university degree will be admitted, provided they have substantial management experience.

Are usual job application or cover letter that must be sent to the Admissions Committee or the Director of Studies and an admission interview. Some universities also an English proficiency test (TOEFL or IELTS ) and a GMAT is stored. For several years, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE ) from universities such as Stanford, MIT and Wharton, but also in Germany is used.

Design of the MBA programs


The curriculum of an MBA course covers all functional management functions, especially accounting, finance, marketing, sales, production management, information technology, business law and human resources management. Furthermore, micro and macro economics, strategic management and scientific methodology should be taught. From an MBA program it is expected that it not only conveys knowledge and methodological skills, but also trained leadership, entrepreneurship, negotiation and communication skills.

The international scale study Tomorrow's MBA ( November / December 2010 ) points to several recent trends: For many years the focus of many MBA students lay on the sectors Finance, Banking and Management Consulting. These preferences are obviously on the move. Business start-up is now one of the five most important issues for MBA students. The other four major themes are Strategic Management, Leadership, leadership and organization.

Only in North America say more than 50 percent of respondents said that they wanted to pursue a traditional two-year MBA program. Across the sample shows a desire to work and study more to mix.

Special shapes

In addition to the generalist MBA programs, which are usually designed for corporate managers, also programs with specializations in various management disciplines (including, for example, Controlling & Finance, Sustainability Management) established. These programs are intended for people who are seeking more of an expert as a management function. In addition, there are also those for start-ups and medium-sized entrepreneurs. Programs that are not carried out as post-graduate studies for applicants with work experience, but as a continuation of an undergraduate program (known as "Junior MBA" ) do not comply with the recommendations of the EFMD, an accrediting organization for business schools, the designations for other than MBA recommends.

Teaching methods and examination

For MBA programs characteristic is the strong emphasis on project work and group work and the use of case studies. As is usual in Masters courses at the end of the course to submit a master's thesis and defend in an oral final exam.

Organisation of studies

The standard period of study studying full-time is between one and two years, which corresponds to 60 to 120 ECTS points, 60 ECTS programs after a transitional period are only suitable for graduates with a diploma because of Mastergraduierung a ( German ) Bachelors 60 ECTS in not usually be sufficient. The study is due to the characteristic demand from the ranks of working academics mostly part-time, connected in the form of part-time study or distance learning with classroom sessions to part with a stay abroad, offered. In this form it can take up to three years.


MBA programs are considered educational programs and therefore are usually funded entirely by tuition fees. Depending on the provider charges vary in the German-speaking area of between 1,000 euros and 60,000 euros for the entire study period. The average in Germany is about 17,000 euros. In other countries, much higher tuition fees are still common at prestigious universities. For example, Harvard is on his side, that the full-time MBA program costs about $ 44,000 per year ( 2008). Are well above the average tuition fees in Switzerland. The famous International Institute for Management Development requires tuition of about 100,000 Swiss francs. Leading public and private providers, the University of St. Gallen, the Lorange Institute of Business by Peter Lorange or the University of Zurich calculate for their Executive MBA programs between 60,000 and 70,000 Swiss francs.

Quality assurance through accreditation

To assess whether an MBA program meets certain minimum quality standards, accreditation is required in many countries, or the provider voluntarily undergo such. In the accreditation process is tested using defined, compatible with international standards by independent bodies, whether the institution and its study programs meet minimum quality standards. The requirements of accreditation bodies, however, differ in some cases considerably.

For the accreditation of business schools and MBA programs, the following facilities are of international importance:

  • AMBA

In business schools, who own all three major accreditations, it is called Triple Crown.

Accreditation in Germany

In Germany, MBA programs are considered educational programs. In many states, this means that the financing exclusively or primarily by tuition fees. Accreditation is recognized by the Accreditation Council accreditation agencies. Currently (26 March 2011), there are ten recognized agencies: ACQUIN, AHPGS, AKAST, AQA, AQAS, ASIIN, evalag, FIBAA, OAQ and ZEvA.

Accreditation in Austria

In Austria accreditation to MBA programs at private universities by 2012 by the Austrian Accreditation Council took place. Since then, the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria (AQ ) is responsible. Currently MBA programs are of three private universities accredited ( Modul University Vienna, Private University Seeburg Castle and Webster University Vienna ).

State universities in Austria must not let their programs for accreditation, sometimes undergoing voluntary but an accreditation procedure. So many MBA programs the Executive Academy of the Vienna University of AACSB, EQUIS or FIBAA are accredited. FIBAA accreditations have also the programs LIMAK in Linz, University of Leoben, the SMBS, the Continuing Education Center of the Vienna University of Technology, the International Management Center Graz, University of Graz, the MBA program at the University of Applied Sciences Vienna as well as some programs in the Danube University Krems. MBA programs are also offered by the Johannes Kepler University Linz and the University of Klagenfurt, the make on their website but no information on any existing accreditations.

Furthermore, Austria had still not high school programs from vendors in the form of so-called courses of university character, which were established by ministerial order and without accreditation requirement. These courses could be operated only until 2012, some of these institutions offer their MBA programs since participated in collaborations with Austrian or foreign universities. Even among these providers, there are some who voluntarily an accreditation, mostly by FIBAA undergo. Also, some foreign universities offer MBA programs in Austria and then issue a diploma in their home countries.

University rankings

From various media such as Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal or The Economist, rankings are published regularly. The criteria are based are very different and even controversial, depending on the source. A primary criticism that in the rankings is the development of income of graduates in the years after the end of the course by far the weightiest criterion. This leads to the paradoxical effect that MBA programs, targeted at young graduates with little work experience, tend to have higher chances for a placement, as such programs whose target group are already experienced Manager with good income. Distortions arise also when targeting students are recruited from the Third World who score a significantly higher income in the study after completion of the MBA.

In 2005, the Harvard Business School resigned from all MBA rankings, as some well reputed MBA schools published dubious and fake statistics graduates, so as to get a large number of applicants.

Industries and areas of application

The industry Consulting is MBA graduates clearly ahead: More than 70 percent opt for a career in this field. Another top area of ​​application is the field name marketing and product management in second place with 82 percent. Also, project management and business planning and development are in high demand.

Percentage of women

In the annual global MBA rankings by the Financial Times and the percentage of women in universities listed is listed. Situated Separates according to the proportion of women in teaching, study and advisory committee ( advisory board ) are included, the numbers in a certain extent in the evaluation, so that the universities benefit by a higher proportion of women in the ranking. Universities Responding to the global announcing their proportion of women doing quite sensitive, especially since many of them rely on sponsors as private bodies. According to the Financial Times, is currently being wooed many universities and business schools to increase the proportion of women among students in their MBA programs.

Criticism of the MBA degree

While the MBA degree was formerly predominantly highly regarded because of its Karriereförderlichkeit, multi in recent years, the criticism. So holds about Thomas saddle Berger, former Chief Human Resources Officer of Deutsche Telekom, MBA programs for "vehicles of finance capitalism ". Above all, the U.S. business schools, which would also have shaped the European business schools, were the ideological transport vehicle of financial capitalism. They are biased towards the economic theory of efficient, self- controlling markets. This mistaken belief, mixed with greed, have led to the excesses of bad mortgages to the modeling of toxic products, but also to self-indulgence in the remuneration policy.