Home Education Higher Education The future of business education in Germany
Last update on February 25, 2019

Find out about the future of business education in Germany along with details on where and how to apply in this short guide.

The nature of executive education is changing to account for some of the technological advancements occurring in society. IESE Business School, one of the world’s premier business and executive education schools with a campus in Munich, explains how business education in Germany is changing and gives details on how to apply to a German business school.

IESE Business School

IESE Business School caters to top executives who want to grow and improve their leadership. Their Munich campus serves as a leadership hub in Germany with Executive Education programs, conferences and Alumni activities. Since 2005 the school has offered an Advanced Management Program (AMP) and developed other executive education and custom programs for many of Germany’s multinationals including Allianz, BASF, Bertelsmann, BMW, Deutsche Bank, EADS, Haniel Group, Henkel, MAN, Opel, Phoenix and Volkswagen.

The future of business education in Germany – preparing for the AI revolution

There has been much discussion in recent years about the extent to which robot automation might replace human workers in the coming years. A 2017 report by the McKinsey Global Institute predicted that up to 800 million global workers might lose their jobs by 2030, suggesting that up to one-third of workers in nations such as Germany and the US may need to retrain.

What might this mean for management and how can business leaders prepare for the imminent AI revolution? This was the key topic of discussion at the recent IESE conference in Barcelona called “The Future of Management in an Artificial Intelligence-Based World”.

people on stairs at IESE

“We put on the conference because there is a lot of talk about AI, but less about what it means for management” said Professor Franz Heukamp, Dean at IESE. Academics from several top institutions across the world spoke about different aspects of how changes might affect management. The consensus was that AI is going to have an impact in all areas of work. Speakers also emphasised how AI needs to be viewed as an opportunity rather than a threat. The challenge for management is how to best utilise these technological advancements for the benefit of business, as well as acknowledging what limitations there are to the AI revolution.

How is management education likely to change?

Increasing automation won’t eliminate the need for management or mean that managers simply oversee and direct robots instead of humans. The reality will be much more complex. As jobs change, so will the role of managers. This means that business education, in Germany and other industrialised nations, will need to change too in order to stay relevant.

One of the key themes to emerge was about recognising the limits to which AI could potentially be deployed. Machines excel at certain tasks, e.g. low and semi-skilled work plus some traditional managerial areas such as planning and budgeting. But they can’t, and are unlikely to ever be able to, replicate human imagination, creativity and what are called ‘soft skills’. Many skills needed for management and leadership will remain the domain of humans – motivation, negotiation, strategic direction, relationship-building.

Humans are also better placed to interpret data and place it in context. With data collection and processing techniques becoming ever more sophisticated thanks to AI, managers of the future will need to ensure that they are knowledgeable enough to properly use data to their advantage.

People chatting

“You can have very smart people run very sophisticated data analysis, but if they don’t understand what the strategy of that business is, they will not ask the right questions and the output will not be interpreted in the correct way” said Prof. Heukamp.

It’s not just about knowing how to use existing systems. It’s also about keeping on top of AI progress so that you can identify what and how future developments can benefit your business. AI doesn’t happen independently of humans so there is an important role for future business managers in shaping how things develop.

“It’s always about how do we implement and how do we actually design the thing,” said IESE’s Professor of Information Systems, Sandra Sieber. “That’s where we humans will have the absolute critical role in making the right system, feeding it right and understanding it correctly.”

Business education at management level will need to adapt to the changing requirements. Executive education departments will need to work more closely with IT experts, with AI and machine learning modules becoming more of an integral part of study programs.

Business schools in Germany

Here are some of the top business schools in Germany providing Executive Education.

Private institutions

IESE Business School

A world leader in Executive Education with a global outlook and network, IESE runs an Advanced Management Program (AMP) and a Program for Management Development (PMD) from its Munich campus. These programs are well-suited to expat business students and executives looking to develop an international career as well as deepen their knowledge of the German business landscape.

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management

Founded in 1984, WHU is one of the most renowned German business schools with an international reputation. The school offers open, customized and MBA programs in Advanced Management from its Dusseldorf and Vallendar campuses.

Frankfurt School of Finance and Management

One of Europe’s leading business schools, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management provides a range of Executive Education programs to suit managers in all industries.

ESMT Berlin

Founded in 2002, ESMT Berlin is a management and technology school offering Executive Development and Advanced Management programs.


People in classroom

Formerly known as the European Business School, EBS has a top quality Executive Education faculty that runs customized and open programs and has three Executive MBA options.

Public institutions

Mannheim Business School

The umbrella organization for management education at the University of Mannheim, Manheim Business School offers Executive MBA as well as customized programs.

Technical University of Munich

The TUM has a School of Management faculty that offers three Executive MBA programs as well as certificated and customized programs.

RWTH Aachen University

The largest technical university in Germany, with management programs including an Executive MBA and many certificated courses.

How to apply for business education in Germany

The process and requirements for applying for business education in Germany varies between schools and will be different depending on what level you are looking to enrol in, so you will need to check the website of the institution you’re applying to. Individual applications for Executive Education will usually require demonstration of suitability for the course along with payment of course fees. The application process for IESE Munich’s Advanced Management Program and PMD (Program for Management Development) program both involve a personal interview to discuss learning expectations and professional goals, followed by an official application. Expats working in the EU or Germany will not need a study visa for Executive Education programs at IESE. However, students following the Executive MBA program will need a relevant study visa in order to enrol.

Costs of business schools in Germany

The cost of an MBA in Germany ranges from around €30,000 to €45,000. Executive MBAs can cost up to around €80,000. Shorter part-time courses will be cheaper. The 6-month PMD program at IESE Munich currently costs €27,600.

Limited scholarships are available to cover study costs. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has information on scholarships available for international students to study in Germany. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) scholarships are available in all study fields for postgraduate international students under 30 who have an interest in politics and human rights. Many individual institutions also have scholarships. IESE provides Executive Education scholarships for entrepreneurs, female leaders and executives of non-profits, as well as several scholarships available to both MBA and Executive MBA students.