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Long-time laggard in the MBA market, German business schools are finally starting to see the market take off. In particular, the market for executive MBAs - MBAs for senior working managers - is looking increasingly strong.

ESMT, the business school set up by German industrialists, has just enrolled 50 students on its EMBA programme. Though small by global standards, this is the largest number since the school introduced the programme in 2007. Meanwhile HHL, the Leipzig Graduate School of Management, has launched an 18-month EMBA with Spanish business school Eada, to start in 2012. The English language programme will focus on Brazilian, Chinese and Indian markets.

EMBAs offered jointly with overseas schools have been one of the hallmarks of German EMBA programmes. The three German business schools in the Financial Times 2010 EMBA rankings all offer joint degrees - WHU-Otto Beisheim with Kellogg in the US; Gisma with US business school Purdue and others; and Mannheim Business School with the French school Essec.

Jens Wüstemann, president of Mannheim Business School, points out that 15 years ago the MBA was unknown in Germany. Because of the long undergraduate degrees that were commonplace a decade ago, few managers had the appetite to return to school in their late twenties.

He believes that with the new shorter bachelor degrees - the first graduates of which left university in 2009 - there will soon be a growing market for MBAs. But he says Mannheim is having to work hard to educate the market. “I would like to have one or two more good competitors (in Germany),” he says.

One German school that is not faring so well, however, is Goethe Business School, which until around three years ago had a joint degree arrangement with the Fuqua school at Duke University in the US. When this agreement ended, Goethe continued the run its degree. However, last year, did not enrol an EMBA class.




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