Master in Management & Finance – German rankings

Where will I find the best Master course?

1. Master in management or business administration: What’s the difference?

During your research you will probably have seen that Master’s degrees are offered in both Business Administration and in Management. What’s the difference? Unfortunately, it’s not possible to draw a clear line between the two degrees because both courses share similar content and core topics. You will find subjects such as marketing, economics, finance, accounting, controlling, and business analytics in both study courses. Of course, you will come across topics you’ve already learned about as part of your Bachelor’s degree, but this time you explore them in a deeper and more specialized way. Similarly, there are sometimes big differences between the individual Management programs when it comes to the structure and focus areas of the courses. That is another reason why it is so difficult to make general statements. However, Management courses generally have a far stronger practical orientation than Master’s degrees in Business Administration. Furthermore, the former are often offered by business schools. The focus of these institutions is exclusively on the business world, often with a strong international orientation.

The Master in Management is by far the more practice-oriented course of study and it therefore lends itself more as a follow-up Master after a Bachelor in Business Administration. Very few people study Business Administration with the intention of working in research later: the vast majority aspire to work in business after graduating. We will therefore only address the Master in Management in the following analysis. However, before we turn our attention to other decision-making aids and the rankings, we would like to explain the difference between Master in Management and Master of Business Administration courses in order to avoid any misunderstandings.

2. Master in Management vs. Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Master in Management and Master of Business Administration degrees are often lumped together. However, these are two different courses of study that cater to very different target groups, even if the degree gained in the end qualifies you for similar positions.
The Master of Business Administration is primarily aimed at those with a Bachelor in subjects other than business, such as the humanities or the sciences, and who are keen to work in business. Accordingly, most MBA aspirants already have a few years of professional experience and the average age is around 30.
In contrast, the Master in Management is aimed at those with a Bachelor degree in Business Administration and who are keen to gain a qualification that will open the door to higher positions in business than would be possible with a Bachelor degree alone. Other Master applicants are keen to specialize further within a specific field, e.g. marketing or logistics. The ratio between those with professional experience and “pure” students is fairly balanced, although the average age, at 24, is significantly lower than with the MBA.

3. Master in Management vs. Master in Finance

The Master in Management (MiM) program was developed in order to prepare you for a broad range of career opportunities in various sectors. The course combines theoretical elements from the field of economics with the practical orientation of the Master in Business Administration.

Are you keen to take on responsibility and solve challenges on an international level? If so, we recommend the English-language course, which combines elements from all areas of business and economics, and prepares students for a career in corporate management. The curriculum includes traditional Business Administration elements, with modules in the fields of accounting & finance, data analytics, economics, marketing & sales, strategy & leadership, and supply chain management. On this course, you can tailor your curriculum around your interests and career goals.

In contrast, the Master in Finance (MiF) program is more specialized. It develops your competencies in the numbers-based fields of taxes, financial law, accounting and rating, and trains you to become an expert on financial management. The global financial industry is undergoing radical change and is full of risks: Digitalization, a difficult interest rate environment, and constantly tightening regulation are resulting in steadily changing parameters. This course develops your awareness of these topical issues so that you cultivate an in-depth understanding of market interrelationships and enhance your risk management skills. In order to optimally prepare the finance experts of the future for these new challenges, the MSc in Finance at WHU is application-oriented and has a strong focus on methodology. In the core modules of Advanced Econometrics, Capital Market Theory, and International Financial Reporting, you acquire key quantitative skills as well as fundamental knowledge about the finance markets. A carefully compiled selection of finance electives allows you to design your course around your specific interests and to acquire a deeper understanding of the theories and concepts prevalent in the modern world of finance. Choose up to three electives from the full range of MSc Electives options.

4. Germany’s best universities for Master programs

Master in Finance

Ranking University Course/program
1 WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management Master in Finance

WHU took part in the Financial Times Masters in Finance Ranking for the first time in 2020, and went straight into the top position in Germany and 22nd globally.

In the recently published Financial Times Masters in Finance Ranking for 2020, WHU’s Master in Finance program (MiF) was placed 22nd globally and was named the best program in Germany. In the international comparison of business schools, WHU’s MiF program performed particularly strongly in the categories “Internationality of the program” (#9), “Salary” of graduates (#12), and “Careers service” (#18). The alumni surveyed rated their general satisfaction with the program with a score of 9.35 out of 10.

“We are delighted that WHU’s Master in Finance program was able to overtake all its German competitors in its first year in the FT Ranking. Of course, we will be taking this success as an incentive to make further advances in the area of student and alumni satisfaction,” says Prof. Dr. Markus Rudolf, Dean of WHU. The alumni whose opinions went into the ranking were more than satisfied. For WHU to be included in the ranking, a minimum of 20 out of the 37 alumni from the lass of 2017 had to take part in the survey. “The fact that we are listed in the ranking shows that our students are satisfied not only by the quality of our teaching, but also by the values we impart. Those values are community and commitment,” adds Rudolf.

The majority of MiF students come from abroad to study for their Master at WHU. Here, they develop their knowledge of international finance markets in order to pursue successful careers in the finance world later. “The diversity of the students, and of the prior knowledge they bring with them, makes the program a unique and international experience. In combination with the excellent education and career opportunities we provide, this experience has an extremely positive effect on the students’ careers,” explains Prof. Dr. Martin Jacob, the Academic Director of the program.

The FT Masters in Finance Ranking 2020 evaluates a total of 55 MiF programs around the world. Alongside internationality, salary, and career service, criteria such as career advancement and diversity were also ranked. Data provided by the university itself also went into the evaluation, in addition to the surveys of graduates. Including this FT MiF Ranking, WHU is the No. 1 in Germany in all degree programs.

View the full FT Masters in Finance Ranking 2020 

Master in Management

Ranking University Course/program
1 WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management Master in Management
2 University of Mannheim Master in Management
3 HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management MSc in Management
4 ESMT Berlin ESMT Master’s in Management
5 Frankfurt School of Finance & Management Master in Management
6 ICN Business School (Germany) Master in Management
7 University of Cologne MSc Business Administration
8 TUM School of Management MSc in Management and Technology

In the Financial Times Masters in Management Ranking 2019 published in autumn 2019, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management was placed 20th in the global comparison. And WHU was number 1 out of all German universities.

WHU achieved truly outstanding scores in some areas. The university’s careers service, for example, was rated second in the world once again. In the “Salary Today” category, which compares salaries three years after graduation, WHU alumni take 4th place in the international comparison, up one place from the previous year. In the “Aims Achieved” category – which expresses the extent to which student expectations of the course are fulfilled – WHU was ranked 6th in the world. As in the previous year, 100 universities around the world were included in the Financial Times ranking.

View the full FT Masters in Management Ranking 2019

5. The role of rankings in the search for the best Master programs

How helpful are rankings when comparing universities?

A huge number of Master programs is on offer around the world. That can make it hard to compare them and to find a suitable Master program at the right university for you. Rankings for business schools represent a great way of quickly gaining an overview. But how meaningful and reliable are these Master rankings really?

5.1. What exactly are rankings?

Rankings such as those compiled by the Financial Times, The Economist, and QS are internationally renowned. Information is gathered from the universities, students, and graduates for the evaluations. As a result, prospective students often use these rankings as a starting point in their search for a suitable Master program at a business school – for example one with a focus on the area of management.

However, the rankings use very different criteria in their assessments of universities. These include research output, internationality, career prospects, and salary levels, as well as characteristics such as diversity, student satisfaction, and the number of students. The universities and the individual programs are then classed in various rankings on the basis of the collected data.

5.2. How are rankings useful?

Just as every individual student has a unique career history, personal goals, and future ambitions, there are also big differences between various Master courses. As a result, there are also numerous ways to complete a Master course. With this in mind, the rankings featuring the various business schools and Master programs represent a great source of valuable information on their true performance. Rankings can give an indication of which university stands out in terms of future career prospects, for example, or which is particularly suitable for your individual needs. They also provide information on the international environment and on the estimation of alumni, through which students can often establish contact with companies.

Rankings provide a good guide and point of orientation as you find your bearings among the numerous business schools and Master programs – be that in Germany or internationally. However, they should not be the only basis on which you choose a suitable Master program. These rankings are often produced on the basis of criteria that are not explained clearly, with only isolated aspects of a Master program or business school evaluated rather than looking at the overall quality or accreditations.

5.3. How meaningful are rankings?

Each ranking uses different criteria as a basis for evaluating the universities. It is therefore important to understand the specific bases of evaluation in each case. Every university has its unique strengths and merits – be that the university as an institution or its individual Master programs. That means that one ranking can never hope to provide a definitive statement about the quality of a business school. Professor Dr. Markus Rudolf, Dean of WHU, explains: “There isn’t just one comprehensive and meaningful ranking for business schools. There are good ones and less useful ones. Moreover, some rankings put more focus on research. Then again, others take salary as a criterion. So every ranking has a very different target group, which is why it is important to take a closer look at different rankings.”

A certain position in a ranking cannot be equated with the reputation of a university. That is why we recommend that applicants always scrutinize several rankings and the basis for those evaluations carefully. In addition, prospective Master students should always consider which aspects take priority for them.

5.4. Why do business schools have an interest in being represented in rankings?

There is no question that rankings boost the reputation of a business school and help attract talents. It is also important that Master programs are subjected to external assessment, especially since that helps to analyze their development and deliver continuous improvement.

However, according to Professor Dr. Markus Rudolf, rankings should not play a key role in the strategic orientation of a business school. “Rankings should not influence the strategy of a business school in any way,” explains Rudolf. “Every university must decide which areas to focus on in order to create added value for students, lecturers, and society. Of course, some rankings include categories that can be consciously used as part of an effective strategy. But not all rankings are truly reliable and meaningful. It is just as important to have the courage to consciously ignore certain rankings. That is, those that do not align with the university’s strategy and community.”

The Financial Times compiles a ranking table for various programs around the world every year. The ranking is made up of a number of different categories, among them student satisfaction, career development, salary after graduating from the program, and the diversity of students and teaching staff.

To sum up, rankings will certainly come in useful as you research your options because they allow you to find out more about the best business schools. Rankings should play a part in your search for the right university or Master program, but it is also important to visit the campus and to talk with students and staff of the respective business school. The most important consideration, however, is that you choose the business school that allows you to pursue your career goals most effectively.

6. Why do a Master course at WHU?

Benefit from one of Europe’s best career centers – gain access to a network of partner companies and career development opportunities. 

WHU also stands out thanks to its Career Center, which is unique in Europe. A professional team is waiting to work with you to develop your future: What are your career prospects? Which company are you interested in working for? In which country would you like to complete your internship abroad or semester abroad? – After working with the WHU’s Career Center you will have the answers to all these questions.

We aspire to provide the best possible support to our students – with all their individual profiles and needs, so that they can reach their full potential and achieve success in the professional world. With that goal in mind, the Career Center organizes a broad palette of events, and supports students with tailored career advice.

We cultivate active, long-standing relationships with our alumni and partner companies, and we thereby create a foundation of trust from which valuable and respectful cooperation can grow. The Career Center is a visible presence in university life. With experience and expertise, we advise and support students on their path to achieving their career goals – and are often rewarded with top positions in rankings.

6.1 Expand your global understanding: Develop intercultural competence through a semester abroad, dual degree programs, and more. 

The international focus is a high priority at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. As a result, our students develop a keen intercultural understanding and are optimally prepared for day-to-day professional life.

WHU maintains a unique network of more than 200 partner universities around the world. From Australia to the USA – the global partner network includes universities on all five continents. A semester abroad is an integral element of the curriculum on the Bachelor in International Business Administration/Management and on all our Master of Science programs. There are therefore no problems with the recognition of credits. Our broad and diverse selection of language and cultural courses will optimally prepare you for your stay abroad. For example, you can choose one of seven languages as part of your Bachelor course. At which foreign university you study is your decision.

​​​​​​​6.2 Learn from outstanding faculty staff and guest speakers: Take advantage of the opportunity to learn from an international faculty and top entrepreneurs during your studies. 

Outstanding teaching with cutting-edge approaches – we encourage creative and innovative thinking.

Excellence is the cornerstone of our teaching. This aspiration extends well beyond the walls of our lecture halls. Our goal is for our graduates to make an impact as future executives, drawing on their well-rounded practical and theoretical training. All the members of our faculty are also research-active. That allows us to include relevant new findings from business and economic research in our teaching courses. We also organize a diverse program of talks by top experts from German and international start-ups and corporations. Through group projects and case studies, our students learn to think critically and in solution-oriented ways.

​​​​​​​6.3 Be a part of WHU: Establish a network with businesspeople, founders, and alumni around the world.

  • Business network and career start – we’ll help you build a career.

Through the Master course you gain access to the WHU network, which provides you with unique career opportunities. You can get intensive coaching at an outstanding career center, helping you to define and achieve your career goals. The WHU Career Center also supports successful exchange between companies, students, and alumni.

With a variety of career development measures for students of all Master courses, we offer comprehensive career advice and many opportunities for establishing contact with company representatives and alumni.

Even though the tightly structured study courses at WHU place great demands on students, life at the university encompasses far more. Many of our students take the time to enrich their university experience by getting involved with one of the numerous student clubs. Sports, music, art, drama, social engagement or stock market club – campus life has something to offer everyone. The enthusiasm with which our students pursue common goals, and put ideas and inspiration into action, speaks for the “WHU spirit” that is valued so highly by all university groups.

Have a look at the list of all student groups to see how diverse student life is at WHU!

  • In Praxi – WHU Alumni Association

Studying at WHU creates a bond between students and their Alma Mater, and the WHU spirit lives on long after graduation. In Praxi, WHU’s alumni association, contributes to and supports this connection in many ways. So it’s no surprise that over 90 percent of all WHU graduates become members of In Praxi – WHU Alumni Association.

The non-profit organization was founded in 1988 by the members of the first graduating class at WHU. From its inception, In Praxi has remained an independent, member-led and -financed organization whose members are eager to maintain their contact with the university and with one another after graduation. This large community benefits not only alumni and the school, but also current and future students.

Still not sure whether to do a Master in Management or a Master in Finance? Do you have any other questions? Or do you find it all too good to be true? – If so, come see for yourself!

The WHU Master Team will be happy to help and advise you.