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General management – The ideal degree for business expertise

A general management degree is a more in-depth, specialized course that includes the topics of business administration, economics, and international management, and that trains you to be a manager in the world of business. But how does it differ from other business degrees? What is so special about it?
Two General Management students are smiling and talking in the library on Campus Vallendar

A Bachelor's degree in general management – short facts.

Course length: 6 semesters or 9 trimesters
Format: Full-time or as an integrated program
Degree: Bachelor of Arts
Concentrations: Business management, combination of business administration and economics
Features: Versatility; all-rounder for leadership in all areas of business

Why study general management?

General management courses have a strong focus on the key relations between the economy and management with the goal of understanding these and developing solution strategies for economic problem. The aim is to identify the complex structures of companies, and to counter the pressure and dynamic challenges of the modern-day economy through strong management competence. It is possible to do a Bachelor's or a Master’s degree in general management. The Master’s course places additional importance on the international and strategic orientation, and on developing management competencies.

What is the difference between a general management degree and an international management degree?

Both degree programs share the term “management” in their title and also share a general focus on the management of a business or of individual departments within the enterprise. The biggest difference is that general management is focused on versatility and providing a general foundation. This later allows you to go into any area of a company or to switch during the course of your career. In contrast, the international management degree has a clear international focus which is reflected in the course content.

However, you’ll also find the content of both study courses in the Bachelor in Business Administration at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. The core modules are complemented by numerous elective and advanced courses, e.g. an advanced course in European business law and specializations such as brand management. Not only do you have an extensive selection of module components to choose from, you also receive ample support from the WHU Career Center, which is the best of its kind in Europe, as you develop into the executive of tomorrow. The Bachelor in Business Psychology program also teaches you management skills in combination with organizational psychology. Visit our program pages to get more information about our study programs (degree: Bachelor of Science).

What topics are covered in a general management course?

  • Business
  • Economics
  • Controlling
  • Accounting
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Business law
  • Business information systems
  • Human resources management
  • Marketing
  • International management
  • Logistics and sales
  • Agile project management

Advanced courses are usually offered in the following areas:

  • Specializations, e.g. in the finance sector
  • International management
  • Logistics management
  • Business psychology
  • Digitalization and big data
  • Innovation management

During a Bachelor's course, you also acquire soft skills in these areas: rhetoric, presentation, business English, intercultural competence and communication, self-management, and a second foreign language.

Stay abroad

Besides the subject expertise, a semester or internship abroad is an important part of a general management program. For example, at WHU you are required to do two internships, one of which must be completed abroad. In addition, a semester at one of the 200 partner universities around the world is an integral element of the course.

What are the admission requirements to study general management?

1. Formal requirements

For admission onto a general management course, you need a general higher education entrance qualification (Abitur/A Level) or a university of applied science entrance qualification (Fachabitur/vocational certificate) or a comparable high-school diploma or a specific professional qualification.

Numerus clausus

At a very few public colleges, the numerus clausus (NC) for admission into a general management degree program is between 1.7 and 1.9 on the German grading scale; but in most cases, the average NC imposed is between 2.3 and 3.3.

University-specific application procedure

An aptitude test or local assessment center are usually crucial in determining your acceptance into a university. Private universities such as WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management often pay particular attention to the applicant’s personal competencies, goals, and motivation, in addition to the NC, in the application process. As a result, prospective students with weaker/lower average marks can also get a place to study.

Pre-study internships and language skills

Only a few universities or business schools ask for an internship of at least twelve weeks in the commercial field. In contrast, language skills play an important role because a number of lecture modules are only held in English, or are bilingual in German and English. You should by all means find out what the respective university’s requirements are regarding pre-study internships and language proficiency.

2. Personal requirements

As with any course of study, it is certainly an advantage if you fulfil some personal prerequisites so that you can complete the course more easily and enjoy doing so.

  • Do you like maths, statistics, and numbers?
  • Are you interested in general economic interrelationships?
  • Do you have a good command of German and English?
  • Are you inquisitive, enthusiastic, flexible, stress-resistant, a strong communicator, and interested in a wide range of fields?

You can further build on your foreign-language skills during your studies. For example, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management offers courses in business English, as well as courses in French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian. All credits earned count towards the Bachelor degree.

Career and salary after a degree in general management.

A general management degree program prepares you for a leading mid-management position in a company. With the appropriate career experience, you can work your way up to the top of the ranks. After completing this management course, you can look forward to all kinds of job opportunities. As is so often the case, standing out from the crowd of applicants is the key. It is therefore advisable to hone your profile through internships and relevant concentrations, and to establish contacts, during your studies.

The WHU Career Center team will take care of you professionally to help you avoid a gap between graduation and your first job, or at least to keep it to a minimum.

The course for success is often set during your studies. The first contacts are established during internships or at one of the regular WHU events. These events are attended by 60 companies across Germany every year, among them renowned consultancy firms and investment banks as well as well-known representatives from the industrial and services sector. These prefer to recruit from WHU’s body of students because they value the quality of education provided here. The WHU Career Center can also be a great help in finding an internship position. You won’t be on your own: you’ll have a professional team by your side to help you pursue the unique path that is best for you.

When it comes to salaries, major factors will include the size of the company, the industry you’ve chosen, and your career experience. Still, we can provide you with a rough idea of what you might reasonably expect to earn. After completing a Bachelor's degree in general management, you can expect an average starting salary of between €2,500 and €3,500 (gross) per month. In the finance industry (banks and insurance companies), you could even start on €3,800.

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