FAQ for MBA and Master in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

In our FAQ list you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about the MBA and master’s degree with a focus on Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

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What is an MBA?

The “Master of Business Administration” is probably the best known degree from the Master family and has its origin in the USA. An MBA has long been the most popular degree among master degrees. The title “MBA” has spread over time and is now recognized worldwide as a degree. An MBA combines practice and profession with theoretical knowledge. The course includes several special elements, such as your own admission process, module formats, the network concept and the costs.

How long have there been MBA studies?

The first Master Degree in Business was offered in 1902 at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. The American concept of practical and excellent business education caused a sensation. Under the name of Master of Business Administration (MBA), the program developed into the most popular graduate degree worldwide.

The first American programs (such as those at Dartmouth College or Harvard University) were set up in the United States in the first decades of the 20th century, because the aim was to secure America’s global economic competitiveness with specific training modules. The previously existing university, very theoretical and less innovative study programs were no longer able to produce competent managers and top managers. These first MBA programs revolutionized business education.

England followed the United States: From 1910, the first master’s programs were offered at business schools in Europe. The supply increased rapidly in the first half of the 20th century. At the same time, the bachelor degrees were widespread in the economic education system, so that the MBA programs had a lower number of graduates than these “undergraduate degrees”.

From the 1950s, the importance of MBA programs continued to increase. The course program was supplemented by mandatory courses (management, financing, marketing, accounting). Up until 1950, the MBA was intended as a deepening and specialization of knowledge and economic knowledge, but now the focus is shifting. In addition to technical knowledge, more attention is being paid to the integration of training in social skills (leadership skills, team building, motivation, correct use of available resources).

The 1960s and 1970s saw massive criticism of the MBA programs. Well-known business magazines predict a steady decline of these training programs with fewer students and graduates. Despite the forecasts, the MBA programs experienced a real boom. More and more programs were offered in the United States. After the anti-capitalism mood of the 1960s, the access rate rose again. Students of other subjects whose work situation had deteriorated (law, history, philosophy etc.) as well as female students, members of minorities and international students hoped for new opportunities from the MBA programs.

The business schools reacted to this trend by introducing new training methods and modules. The success of the MBA programs was also reflected in the above-average earnings of the graduates.

In the 1980s there was a lot of discussion about the hard work of the young top managers, regardless of people and the environment. “Materialism” and “arrogance” were two buzzwords that came up again and again in this context. As a result, the top schools, in addition to technical training, are increasingly focusing on cooperation and social skills. The information on economic, social and political framework conditions was integrated into the training program as well as team leadership, presentation and negotiation techniques.

More than at the beginning of the 20th century, top MBA programs in their module design have to pay attention to flexibility at a continuously high level. The boom in MBA programs also brings providers to the market who do not meet the quality criteria. The MBA is no longer a direct guarantee of top management training and expert knowledge, but it can still be.

The profile of the respective business school, i.e. the design of the training modules, the professional competence of the trainers and teachers as well as the international network and the alumni club are, after almost 100 years of MBA programs, just as important as the title itself.

Can I also complete an MBA degree in parallel to my job?

Yes, with different options. Either you study part-time or part-time, via distance learning with only a few presence times at the business school. A variant of distance learning, the online course, is becoming increasingly popular.

Do I get more salary with an MBA?

A high salary after an MBA degree cannot always be guaranteed, just like a better position in the company. The return on investment (ROI) depends on the current market situation and the respective program in which you are participating. Basically, it can be said: The more prestigious a business school is, where you have completed your studies, the more salary you can expect after your studies (depending on the branch or division and vice versa).

In any case, however, a general improvement in the professional situation is achieved and the personal career horizon is broadened. You are definitely on the winning side – after all, by studying a Master of Business Administration you can deepen your already acquired knowledge and gain new knowledge.

What is the difference between an MBA and a master’s program?

The MBA as “Master of Business Administration” is also a master’s degree, but is often seen separately from all other master’s degrees. In contrast to the consecutive master (as a continuation of a previously completed bachelor’s degree), the MBA is a non-consecutive form of the degree. This means that the MBA does not provide further training in the subject of the main course, but rather provides additional qualifications for (prospective) managers in general management programs or for specialists in professional programs. MBA programs mostly focus on “best practice approaches” and are less science-oriented (ratio 50:50) than classic (master) courses (ratio 75:25).

Regardless of whether you are studying for an MBA or a master’s degree: Both can be completed full-time or part-time, i.e. part-time, but also as a distance or online course. Depending on the type of study, the duration of the study program is between 9 and 24 months (full-time) or 2 and 8 years (part-time). Distance or online studies can be studied anywhere and at any time. You can do it at your own desk, so to speak, and the self-study phases are supplemented by presence phases at the business school.

An additional distinguishing feature in addition to the form of study is the specific objective of the program. While a “Junior MBA program” is aimed primarily at university graduates, the so-called “Executive MBA program” offers are aimed more at prospective students with years of professional experience. or leadership experience.

What is the difference between an MBA and an Executive MBA?

The Executive MBA, or EMBA for short, is a special study program that was developed in addition to the original MBA (Master of Business Administration). The degree is completed as part-time part-time programs and enables a company-related MBA to be completed in a maximum of two years. It therefore primarily meets the needs of managers and executives who work full-time and would like to upgrade their career positions.

The opportunity to acquire an Executive MBA is usually a very attractive offer for the participant. Most of the studies are financed or co-financed by the employer. Because participants can continue to work, this type of study usually does not include a practical study semester. The lessons usually take place in the evenings or on weekends. Since the schedule of an Executive MBA is very compact, there is very little specialization that can be dealt with. A lot of time is required of the participants in an Executive MBA.

What is a MAS?

MAS is in the long form for Master of Advanced Studies and is a title that you receive especially after completing a master’s degree in Switzerland. The MAS is advanced training for people with a university degree and relevant professional experience. It is mainly acquired as part of a post-graduate course at Swiss universities and technical colleges.

In Austria the title MAS has been awarded since 1999 and marks the successful completion of a university course, a course for further education, a university course or a course with a university character.

In Germany, the MAS is not regarded as an academic degree, but as a “postgraduate course offer (PGS)”. According to a decision of the Conference of Ministers of Education on April 14, 2000, it may be run, specifying the university that conferred the title. Basically, the MAS is a deepening and specialization course with different levels, which is not one of the academic master degrees of the Bologna process.

The Bologna Process is understood to mean the harmonization of courses and degrees related to Europe, as well as a transnational university reform aimed at international student mobility. This aims to create a single European higher education area. The Bologna Process is a political-programmatic declaration and has been in existence since 1999. It was signed by 29 European Ministers of Education in Bologna, Italy.

A MAS degree can be completed in a minimum of 15 months and part-time in about two years, which corresponds to a workload of around 1,800 hours. In some cases, a MAS course is also modular. As mentioned at the beginning, a multi-year professional experience and the completion of a university (university or university of applied sciences) or an equivalent qualification are usually expected for the admission. B. A diploma from a higher technical school or a higher technical examination plus qualified professional experience with managerial or departmental responsibility.

Before deciding on a MAS degree, one should find out about the international recognition and accreditation of the degree. The most important accreditation agencies include AACSB and EQUIS. In Switzerland, the economics faculties of the Universities of Zurich and Lausanne, the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne and the University of St. Gallen have EQUIS accreditation.

What does an MBA course cost?

In many cases, the price of an MBA program (only Master of Business Administration, no other Master) depends very much on the awareness of a school. As with other branded products, a partial sum is paid for the name (ie the “brand”) of the business school. So you should be very clear about what to expect from the MBA course, how much budget you have available for it and whether the chosen course can meet these expectations. When calculating the costs, one should not only include the tuition fees and also not neglect the cost of living.

Does an MBA degree cost more than another master’s degree?

The cost of an MBA program is usually much higher than that of another master. Again, there are differences between the individual programs, depending on the institution (whether private or state) and the country in which the Master of Business Administration is offered. However, the price should not be seen as a quality feature of an MBA!

How do I know the quality of an MBA or Masters program?

In recent years, many new providers have come onto the market to catch a share of the growing master cake. Most of them also contribute positively to the MBA and Master’s events in German-speaking countries. After all, competition stimulates business and special market demands are served.

In addition to the established top schools, a wide range of mid-segment providers, mostly with specialized offers, has developed. In addition, companies have emerged whose core competency lies more in marketing participants than in teaching course content. For the prospective student, these title makers are often difficult to distinguish from real managers. Most of these providers operate within the legal framework.

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