Alumni stories

WHU Graduates are the Most Successful Entrepreneurs in Germany

WHU alumni are far ahead in exiting start-ups successfully compared to their peers  

An exit, in other words selling one's own company, in many cases eventually becomes a profitable alternative for a lot of start-up founders and young entrepreneurs. This is because many investors are looking for promising companies of which they expect particularly high returns in the future. Exits are apparently particularly profitable for former WHU students who have founded a company. Among the 235 people who exited their start-ups in 2020 in Germany are 20 alumni of the business school. They account for almost nine percent of all the successful exits in Germany. Tonka PR, the agency who carried out the Exit Monitor 2020​​​​​​​ survey, evaluated all press articles in 2019 and 2020 that dealt with the sale of start-ups, collected data from social career networks, or interviewed the start-up founders themselves.

The results show that, with 20 graduates who successfully made their exit, WHU is well ahead of all other universities in Germany. In comparison, the Technical University of Munich is ranked second with ten founders. Third place, with nine founders each, is shared by the University of Hamburg and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. These results bestow the top position on WHU for the third year in a row. "The fact that so many of our students become successful founders later on is also due to they have plenty of opportunities to get in touch with successful founders, to exchange ideas with them, and to learn from them on campus and during their mandatory internships. Among the most successful WHU graduates are also nine founders of unicorns, including audibene, Hello Fresh, and Zalando. Investors have valued these companies with more than one billion euros each", says Professor Dr. Markus Rudolf, Dean of WHU, explaining the excellent climate for founders.

Business administration remains the most popular course of study among founders. 46 founders who made their exit this year had previously studied business administration, followed by computer science, finance and economics. According to Tonka's analysis, a higher degree in education also pays off: almost one third of the founders holds a master's degree, more than one in ten even holds a doctoral degree.