Even in the wake of the corona crisis, the number of newly enrolled students and program participants at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management has risen considerably this year. This positive development may, in part, be directly attributable to how the pandemic was handled: WHU was one of the few European business schools that made it possible for students to continue their studies without interruption despite the lockdown, by immediately switching to online teaching and later to hybrid formats. Even most of the end-of-term exams could be taken as scheduled – albeit in an adapted form. WHU's progressive approach obviously convinced a large number of students to opt for a WHU program.
The Master's degree courses, which had already seen growing numbers of students in recent years, experienced a particular boost in 2020. More students than ever are now enrolled in the Master in Management program (2020: 121; 2019: 86)and the Master in Finance (2020: 47; 2019: 39) and Master in Entrepreneurship (2020: 42; 2019: 16) courses of study. Overall, student numbers in the MSc programs have risen significantly, by about 50 percent. In the Master in Entrepreneurship program, the number has even doubled. "We had already seen the number of applicants for all three Master's degree programs go up at the beginning of 2020, and noticed that awareness for our offer is rising," Julia Teuber, Associate Director Marketing & Admission BSc/MSc at WHU, explains. "There is a whole host of reasons why our programs are becoming ever more attractive for students, who appreciate the wide range of courses, the specializations, the hands-on relevance, and our unique network".
The number of participants in MBA programs was also slightly higher year on year, with the number of full-time MBA students up from 80 to 82. The part-time MBA program attracted 91 new students this year – six more than in the year before (admissions in April and September). "Between 2016 and 2018, the admission figures for the MBA program had settled at a relatively high level. But last year, they went even higher, both in the full-time and part-time formats. According to the Financial Times, the MBA program offered by WHU is the best in Germany, and also the largest one at a top German business school," says Gerold Gnau, MBA Program Director. The school's state-of-the-art technological setup helped to keep the number of applicants for the MBA program high even during the pandemic. "The WHU MBA program sent an early signal to the market that it would live up to its claim of excellence, even with the new forms of teaching – purely digital at first, hybrid formats later on. In addition, we have kept our promise that COVID-19 will not cause any delays to the studies," the program director continues.
WHU has also recorded consistently high intake numbers in its Bachelor program. At 238,the number of new students remained basically unchanged compared to 2019, while the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA Program recorded a slight decline in applications: the number of enrollments was down from 48 to 39. This is a sign that companies were less inclined to release experienced managers for study programs during the corona crisis.
The overall increase in intake numbers despite the current situation and the fact that WHU was able to cement its leading position in Europe are not only proof of excellent teaching, but also that WHU handled the Corona crisis outstandingly – something that students recently confirmed in a special survey carried out by the Center for Higher Education Development (CHE). WHU received top grades from its students in almost every of the surveyed categories for the Master's degree courses during the Corona pandemic.
Overall, many WHU programs are set for growth in the upcoming years. "With the new Master in International Business program, we will be offering a total of four full-time Master of Science programs from 2021 onwards. We will certainly continue to grow our portfolio for the Master programs in the years to come in order to meet the increasing demand," Julia Teuber comments on the trend. Gerold Gnau's assessment points in a similar direction. "We definitely see potential for further growth over the next years. We want to continue to offer the largest and best MBA program in Germany, which happens also to be one of the best in Europe". The Global Online MBA program, which is due to be launched in October, is another offer that highlights the business school's course for growth. The online study course will provide flexibility, making it adaptable to individual circumstances, and the possibility to network with innovative executives from all around the world.
Please find more information about WHU’s results in the latest Financial Times Ranking here.