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Quality of Life and Opportunity: Benefits of an MBA in Germany

Darmstadt is 20 minutes away from Frankfurt and is home to Hochschule Darmstadt

This article is sponsored by Hochschule Darmstadt. Learn more about its MBA programs

If you’re interested in studying an MBA in Germany, then you are not alone. The country was under the consideration of around 25% of those responding to QS’s most recent investigation into the aims and ambitions of international applicants – the second-most favored country in Europe.

“Germany is a beautiful country and it has been a pleasure to work here,” says Manish Gulati, who joined Deutsche Börse from the National Stock Exchange of India nine years ago and is now working at Deutsche Bank. “The work culture in Germany allows me to maintain a balance between my professional and personal life. People are hardworking, disciplined and always ready to help when needed,” he continues. It is just as well that Manish is so appreciative of the country’s work culture because he has been combining his role at Deutsche Bank with an MBA at Hochschule Darmstadt, also known as Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences or simply, h_da.

Situated in the state of Hesse, Darmstadt has ‘city of science’ (Wissenschaftsstadt) status in Germany. The European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) is based in the city, as are the headquarters of the world’s oldest operating chemical and pharmaceutical company, Merck. Darmstadt is also just 20 minutes’ drive away from the main airport at Frankfurt – Germany’s financial capital and home to the European Central Bank, the German Federal Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank) and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse). Of course, there are also a large number of domestic and international commercial banks in the city, including Deutsche Bank – where Manish works.

Hochschule Darmstadt and the h_da MBA

Harvinder Singh is a recent graduate of the h_da MBAManish sought out an MBA in Germany to supplement his existing skillset and broaden his career opportunities. “After working in the IT industry for around seven years, I had reached a saturation point in my career where I could not see much further growth. Considering my future career goals, I opted for an MBA to fulfil my dreams.”

Hochschule Darmstadt appealed to Manish precisely because the university’s business school offered a flexible, part-time MBA that would allow him to continue working full time. The part-time h_da MBA was established in 2007 and now, a decade on, the business school is gearing up for the launch of a full-time version.  

The full-time h_da MBA will run over the course of 18 months and will be limited to an intimate class size of 25 students – the very same size as the maximum number enrolling in the school’s part-time MBA each year. Harvinder Singh is a recent graduate of the part-time program and, looking back, says that he particularly enjoyed the, “informative exchanges during the course,” that were brought about by the class’ mixture of nationalities and cultures. 

International students at h_da and the importance of language skills

Currently, around 42% of h_da MBA students hail from outside of Germany and there is a ‘buddy system’ in which new arrivals to Germany are partnered with those more accustomed to its ways of life to help people get acclimatized. Getting to grips with a new language is often a crucial part of the acclimatization process wherever one moves to and, with this in mind, MBA students at Hochschule Darmstadt are encouraged to take language courses to CEFR’s intermediate, ‘B1’ level.  

The h_da MBA program is offered entirely in the English language and all international students enrolling in the new full-time option can stay in Germany for 18 months after graduating while they search for suitable employment. However, anyone wishing to follow up on their MBA in Germany with a career in the country thereafter will find many more opportunities available to them if they can obtain proficiency in German. Manish speaks with experience on this subject: “German language is a very crucial factor for a successful career path in Germany, so international students should be ready to learn.” Manish goes on to express his belief that gaining proficiency in the language will allow international students to maximize the value of their MBA in Germany.

After all, communication skills are a prized asset no matter the language or alternative medium in which they are displayed. For Manish, this was a highlight of h_da MBA. “Communication, mediation and negotiation are some of the skills which are highly useful in a managerial role and my MBA curriculum offered this subject as one of the key courses,” he says.

Benefits reaped from the h_da MBA curriculum and class interactions

Hochschule Darmstadt’s part-time and full-time MBA program options are accessible to those living in the Frankfurt Rhine-Main areaThe course to which Manish refers above is one of 11 in the h_da MBA and falls under its leadership development component – one of three primary fields covered by the program. Management fundamentals are covered in another, with organizational processes and strategies lying at the heart of the third.

Harvinder completed the program in 2015 and says that what’s helped him most in his post-MBA career are the differing perspectives on decision making he encountered and learned from. “It made it easier for me to comprehend and take certain business decisions,” he surmises. As a current student preparing to graduate, Manish highlights the value to be found in discussions and activities with fellow classmates. “As [they] had been working in their respective industries for a couple of years, it helped in gaining insights into various domains like finance, automobile, pharmaceutical, sales etc. which was an added advantage of such an international and diverse student base.”

Since graduating from Hochschule Darmstadt, Harvinder has continued to work in the city, at the tech company, CST, which recently joined with the SIMULIA brand of French multinational, Dassault Systèmes. He says Darmstadt offers him, “a good work-life balance, which would have been difficult if I were living in a bigger city.” However, the school’s part-time and full-time MBA program options are also accessible to those living in Frankfurt and its surrounding areas, referred to as the Frankfurt Rhine-Main area. Manish, for example, sums up his experience of professional life in Frankfurt as, “a wonderful exposure to the international work culture,” and expresses his belief that, “Germany is one of the best European countries to live and work in.” This sentiment is echoed by Harvinder, who says that his initial move to Germany arose purely as a result of a job opportunity but that, “over the years, the comfort and quality of life naturally translated into my willingness to live here for the long term.”

This article is sponsored by Hochschule Darmstadt

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Written by Tim Dhoul

Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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