Personal development – Part-time studies

The WHU Part-Time MBA Program

Are you pursing personal and professional development and considering advanced studies on a part-time basis? Perhaps you’re interested in an MBA program and are wondering where the best place would be to study, or if an MBA degree is even the right choice for you. Well, just keep reading. The following guide should provide some advice for the undecided.

Part-time MBA studies: What you need to know

Master (MSc) vs. MBA

The options for part-time MBA programs in Germany are quite diversified. An initial search will reveal countless different degree programs with varying areas of emphasis and sometimes very different prices. What should you base your decision on? How do you determine which MBA is the right one for you? – Hopefully this article will help answer all of your questions. But before you start looking for the right program and place for your studies, it’s important to clarify the difference between a master’s and an MBA degree.

Both are advanced degree programs – meaning, candidates must first have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent diploma. Conventional master’s degree programs in the business field are directed more toward those who already have a business degree and are looking at deepening their knowledge or specializing in a particular area. Such areas might, for example, be healthcare management or health management. The MBA is an exception among master’s degree programs.

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is primarily suited to candidates whose undergraduate degree is not in the field of business. In most cases, their first degree was obtained around five years ago and they are well integrated in their current professional activity. Most MBA candidates share the desire to expand their personal and professional horizons and/or raise their career to a new level. That’s why the MBA is designed to convey fundamental business knowledge and to successively build skills in management and responsibility. This management degree program also focuses on entrepreneurial activities and strategic thinking.

The first impression: Cost comparison and specialized content

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is offered at different universities, and, at first glance, it’s not immediately clear how the programs differ from each other. You should not primarily consider the tuition, since the program fees should not be the determining factor in choosing the right school. This is especially true considering that MBA programs can differ greatly in scope. At worst, you could invest a great deal of time, effort, and money, and then ultimately be dissatisfied with the program. Or you could find out after graduating that you hardly benefit from the material you learned.

So, do yourself a favor by first planning your career and training path before focusing on the financial aspect. Assess the range of modules and the overall benefits of the program in comparison to its tuition. You should also determine if the content of the MBA program needs to be geared toward your specialized field or if you want to gain a broader scope of management expertise that can be applied flexibly.

Certifications and time models

When researching MBA degree programs, be sure to consider the certification and accreditation of the individual program. You will only benefit from the program if it is recognized on the German and international level. Reliable university certifications include the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA), and the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD).

You can also decide which time model works best for you: For part-time programs, some universities offer evening classes during the week. Other universities focus on weekends, and still others use one-week intensives that require you to take time off from your regular job.

Part-time study: What challenges await you?

Starting position: When do most people decide on an MBA program?

After about five years in a job, many motivated professionals sense the need for personal and professional development. Many want to make greater use of their career options but without giving up their job or work environment. That’s why many people choose a part-time degree program lasting two years. Since they’ve already studied in the past, they think they know the challenges that will face them. And yet many of those interested in a part-time MBA program underestimate the challenge of efficiently balancing their time between their job, studies, and personal life. This can create an unnecessary burden on their nerves and personal life. So, what should you consider in order to avoid this pitfall?

Know why you’re doing it

Regardless of whether you’re interested in a regular master’s degree or the MBA, it’s important to have a goal in mind when undertaking a part-time program. To successfully complete a degree program, you need one thing in particular: motivation and initiative. Distance learners realize this quite quickly, as they have to motivate themselves with each new task. In this sense, distance studies are better suited to those who are able to go it alone rather than those who work best in a team. But even pursuing a program of study on the weekends, alongside your job, requires constant initiative. So, be sure to ask yourself what you really want to achieve with an MBA degree.

International demand: Modules in English

Be aware that at least a portion, if not all of the lectures and seminars, will be held in English. This is often clear from the beginning for some MBA programs, since they use the international diversity of their students as a feature in their advertising. Indeed, at least one-third of the modules in all MBA programs are conducted in English. Even students whose English skills are good on average can often have trouble understanding due to the specialized business terminology. Be sure not to underestimate this communication hurdle.

If you are having doubts now and sense that you might not be up to the challenge of a part-time program, please read on. WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management is well aware of these various challenges, takes them seriously, and has designed its MBA program in such a way that ensures you are prepared to face them.

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management MBA program

Prospects: An MBA degree can open doors for you

An MBA degree helps you do more than just reach the next rung of the career ladder. And it promises more than just a salary increase. After all, it’s not just the degree itself that opens doors for you; the program itself can already set you on course. In an internationally based degree program like the MBA at WHU, students actively experience a multicultural atmosphere. Students establish valuable lifelong contacts and broaden one another’s horizons through their respective cultural backgrounds. In a globally connected world, it is this open-mindedness that enables them to be prepared for management positions in businesses on the international market. From senior-level executives to leading consultants, graduates of the MBA program at WHU fill a wide range of management positions.

The WHU spirit

We have already addressed the challenges of time management and personal initiative. At WHU, the part-time MBA takes place exclusively on the weekends. This can pose a burden on students, since their personal life has to yield to their study schedule. However, we have found that more can be achieved in these two back-to-back days and that most students’ attention can be held better than during weeklong intensives or weekday evening classes at the end of an eight-hour workday.

An exceptional feature at WHU is the sense of community that prevails among the students and faculty. Most of our students are involved in cultural, athletic, or social projects, besides their studies; and the team spirit of all our students is evident across all degree programs and departments. The WHU spirit that we project at our Düsseldorf and Vallendar campuses is often cited by alumni as the most striking aspect of their WHU experience. When motivation and initiative are low, the sense of being in a team helps you stay on track. Our students benefit from communicating with each other and learning from each other’s background. We encourage this communicative culture and mutual support in many areas of university policy.

MBA core modules at WHU

The WHU core modules in the MBA program are structured in such a way that the content can be applied in different sectors. The elective modules, which change from year to year and are dependent on the lecturers, enable you to expand your knowledge in specific areas. Guest lectures or workshops from visiting instructors, including those we regularly invite from our partner universities, serve to enrich the range of modules offered in the program. If you earned your first degree several years ago and would like to refresh your basic knowledge, you can make use of online courses in mathematics, statistics, and economics. There are also various options for brushing up your business English.

What we require of our lecturers

At WHU, it’s important that our lecturers remain active in the field of research while also maintaining their connection to practical experience. Our guest lectures and workshops are led by business representatives who share about specific challenges they have experienced first-hand. Our utmost priority is to convey content and knowledge that is both current and practically relevant.

The program revolves around you as a person

The MBA program at WHU is distinctly geared toward individuals. In other words, our mission is to acquaint you as a person with the tasks and responsibilities of management roles. That’s why our two-year part-time degree program includes a leadership skills module that extends over the entire program. This means you will receive personal support throughout your studies. As with the other modules, we use dynamic teaching methods here in order to prepare you in an effective and lasting way for the challenges you will face. The courses at WHU have no more than 50 participants at a time, ensuring that you are not just a number but are seen as an individual.

Ongoing support, from academic advising to the career center

We want to help you achieve your best. From academic advising to student financing to career planning for after graduation, we support you all along the way. If you – like most others – aren’t in a position to pay for your studies right out of your pocket, you can choose from various models for financing your studies. For example, you can take out a student loan from a WHU partner bank, or you can apply for a university scholarship. A wide range of possibilities are available so that your studies and career planning don’t have to be stalled by financing problems. Further information: student financing

Facts and figures

  • Approx. 1,500 students total
  • 54 faculty members
  • 200 partner universities
  • 50 participants (max.) per course
  • Proportion of female students: 30%
  • Up to 12 different nationalities in the courses
  • Financial Times ranking (2018): #1 Business School in Germany and #3 Business School in Europe
  • WHU graduates can at least double their income after completing the MBA.

Companies active in the MBA program

  • ABB
  • Aurubis
  • Camelot Management Consultants
  • Ernst & Young
  • Innogy Consulting
  • Trivago
  • Accenture
  • BASF
  • Capgemini Consulting
  • Henkel
  • KPMG
  • UBS
  • AlixPartners
  • Bayer
  • Deloitte Financial Advisory
  • Huawei
  • Microsoft
  • Vodafone
  • Amazon
  • Benteler
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Infosys
  • Mm1