WHU General

Back on Campus

MBA and EMBA cohorts of WHU return to their lecture halls

Week 28 in 2020 was special, not only for the students but also for WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management as a whole. In this week, the business school took its next step towards normalization. WHU is the first business school in Germany to resume classroom teaching in the MBA programs and the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA program.

Starting with three part-time MBA classes returning to the WHU Campus in Düsseldorf on July 4, a very special meeting followed on July 7: The full-time MBA class, which had started online in April 2020, could meet personally on campus for the very first time. The Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA program at WHU Campus Vallendar resumed teaching in class on July 9. Even though the business school has done an extraordinary job in managing the lockdown by bridging it with adequate and innovative online formats, it is evident that the participants are happy to finally be back on campus and meet their fellow students and professors in person again.   

"I am very excited to be back on campus," says Sonalaxmi Sarkar of the 2021 EMBA cohort. "The on-site lectures are more interactive and allow us to learn a lot from our peers during group work." The professors of the MBA and EMBA programs share this opinion. They also prefer the personal contact and lively exchange with their students in the classrooms.

Nevertheless, the students were content about WHU’s seamless transition to online teaching at the beginning of the lockdown. After all, many of their peers from other institutions could not continue their studies as smoothly. For quite a number of those, courses were interrupted and timeframes had to be extended.

WHU was well prepared for the safe return of its students. Electronic access control, one-way systems, clear guidelines at the buffets, a number of hygiene measures, and, above all, the technical upgrade for hybrid teaching are intended to guarantee a undisturbed learning environment. "In recent months, WHU has made an impressive leap forward in the field of digitalization. We think we can be considered 'best practice' in Europe, and we are determined to develop even further,” says Professor Markus Rudolf, Dean of WHU. He assures further, “Still, our highest priority in resuming classroom teaching is to ensure the health and safety of our students, professors, and staff."

Hybrid teaching means a mixture of classroom teaching in the lecture hall and the simultaneous participation of students via online platforms. Loudspeakers and monitors enable interactivity during lectures and workshops. The hybrid formats are necessary because students are free to participate in on-site courses as long as the threat of infection has not been completely eliminated. With regard to the MBA program, academic director Professor Martin Fassnacht explains, "Our students expect the same high standards that they are used to in the WHU MBA program. And, we observe that they are even more looking forward to our additional events, such as digital networking sessions.”

"I am especially looking forward to the topics of the lectures”, says Sonalaxmi Sarkar, who has recently started in a new management position at Amazon Web Services. “I am convinced that I will be able to apply in my new job what I am going to learn during the real-life case studies in ‘Strategic Innovation and Corporate Renewal’.”

Find out more about WHU's campus re-opening strategy