Master students in class

How to Choose the Right Master Program in Germany

by Jana Vogel | October 15, 2020
Trying to decide with master's program is right for you? We’ve put together a guide to help you navigate your choices and have divided the search process into eight easy steps.

8 Steps to Finding the Best Business Master Program

Finding the right master’s program in Germany may feel a little overwhelming at first. There are so many options, even among the top business schools. We’ve put together a guide to help you navigate your choices and find the right business master program for you.

While browsing the internet and researching various business schools, you’ve probably discovered that there are a lot of different master programs in Germany. We’ve divided the search process into eight easy steps. Let’ start by looking at what’s important to you personally.

 

Step 1: Get clear on your personal goals.

Give yourself some time to understand what your motivation is and what’s important to you. Remember to include aspects such as course structure, geographic location and general conditions such intake time and application requirements.

Ask theses questions Read more

This first step helps you get sorted and also makes sure that you really focus on what YOU want for your future. Each master program and university will offer different specializations and career perspectives. Some might help you get into the top tier consulting companies, while others may prepare you for a career in finance.

Here are some questions to think about as you work your way through all those websites and brochures:

  • Why do you want a master’s program?
  • What are your personal and professional goals?
  • Which professional field do you want to enter later?

Give yourself some time to understand what your motivation is and what’s important to you. Remember to include aspects such as course structure, geographic location and general conditions such as intake time and application requirements. Understanding your preferences will make it easier to move on to step two.

Step 2: Create a shortlist containing facts and personal preferences.

We recommend creating a shortlist of five, max. 10 master programs. It’s a good idea to make some basic decisions regarding work experience, full-time versus part-time programs, and a handful of other criteria.

What to include Read more

There is a variety of master in management programs in Germany that are taught in English. It’s a good idea to make some basic decisions regarding:

  • with or without work experience
  • theory vs. practice
  • individual vs. mass university
  • private vs. public
  • full-time vs. part-time
  • 1-year vs. 2-year program

You will not be able to deal intensively with all business degrees programs in Germany. Therefore, we recommend creating a shortlist of five, max. 10 programs. Use your shortlist as an overview and add the features that are most important to you. You can further limit your choice with a pro and contra list.

Step 3: Learn from other people’s professional journey.

Your personal network can give you an honest insight into the everyday life of the university, with all the weaknesses and strengths of the respective educational partner. They will also help you to better access the community.

Who to talk to Read more

Sometimes it can be hard to know what you are looking for if you haven’t had any practical experience with certain areas of business. Often friends, busines acquaintances or mentors can give you valuable advice to better assess your strengths. You can also benefit from their experience. Ask yourself:

  • Who is your role model?
  • Which educational path did he or she follow?
  • How did they get to where they are today?

If they completed a master’s program themselves, they will give you an honest insight into the everyday life of the university, with all the weaknesses and strengths of the respective educational partner, beyond marketing promises. It will also help you to better assess the community. Who are the people you will be working side by side with for the next two years and – even more importantly – what kind of people will become part of your lifelong network?

Step 4: Use accreditation and rankings for orientation.

Rankings can be a first guidepost in sorting through the vast amount of master’s programs on the market. Make sure your preferred university performs well under the criteria that are most important to you and add that information to your shortlist.

What to check Read more

Rankings can be a first guidepost in sorting through the vast amount of master’s programs on the market. There are international rankings (e.g. the rankings of the Financial Times or the Economist) or national rankings (e.g. the CHE Ranking) to look at.

However, ranking positions should never be a decisive criterion. The underlying criteria of the rankings are sometimes very different, which can lead to a program being among the top 10 in one ranking but doing much worse in another. In this case, therefore, one has to deal very carefully with the criteria in advance. Make sure your preferred university performs well under the criteria that are most important to you and add that information to your shortlist.

Accreditations are further important criteria when choosing your master’s program. Take a look at the international and national accreditations (e.g. AACSB, EQUIS, ACQUIN, Fibaa). Keep in mind that Germany only recognizes accredited programs.

Step 5: Take advantage of open house days and virtual events.

Being on site has the advance that you not only get to know your learning environment but also get to experience campus surroundings and the city itself. If traveling and on-site visits are not possible yet, you should keep an eye out for virtual recruiting events.

Go to these events Read more

Admittedly on-site visits are very difficult at the moment, but some German universities have already re-opened their grounds for students and visitors. Be sure to reach out to the recruiting teams to see if you can make individual appointments, keeping in mind the current health regulations.

Being on site has the advance that you not only get to know your learning environment but also get to experience campus surroundings and the city itself. If possible, you might even be able to meet some of the current students, professors and staff. Often, after a campus visit your “gut feeling” will tell you if you feel comfortable and if you can imagine studying at this university.

If traveling and on-site visits are not possible yet, you should keep an eye out for virtual recruiting events. Most universities will have adapted to the new reality, finding new options to show prospective students what to expect if they chose their university.

The same goes for virtual trade fairs where you have the chance to meet multiple universities at once and browse their (virtual) stands and chat with recruiters and students. On top of that, most universities will promote their master’s program through their social communication channels, such as LinkedIn, facebook, Instagram and Newsletters. Sign up to those that interest you and collect as much information as possible on English-taught master program in Germany.

We encourage you to back up personal conversations with facts and statistics. Most business schools will publish career statistics and starting salaries. Use this data to get a full picture of what to expect from e.g. an MSc management master.

Step 6: Get informed about admission criteria.

In addition to the subject and the preliminary grades in the Bachelor’s degree, professional experience, experience abroad, recommendations, language skills and access tests often play a role. It speaks for a university and the selection process if the professors and admission team makes time for each individual applicant.

Don't forget this Read more

As much as the master programs differ, so do the admission criteria. In addition to the subject and the preliminary grades in the Bachelor’s degree, professional experience, experience abroad, recommendations, language skills and access tests often play a role.

At renowned business schools, the TOEFL and GMAT are often required as entrance requirements. We encourage you to plan sufficient preparation time for these tests.

In addition, most universities conduct admission interviews or even organize entire admission days. Don’t see this as a further “challenge”, but as a chance to get to know each other. These interviews also give applicants the opportunity to find out more about the university. It speaks for a university and the selection process if the professors and admission team makes time for each individual applicant. These interviews also help you to better assess the requirements of the university.

Step 7: Reach out to current students and alumni.

You will get the most authentic and honest statements about the quality of a program and student life from current students and alumni. Use social networks such as LinkedIn or Xing, forums or personal contacts to get personal opinions and experiences.

What to remember Read more

You will get the most authentic and honest statements about the quality of a program and student life from current students and alumni. Use social networks such as LinkedIn or Xing, forums or personal contacts to get personal opinions and experiences. Their reply (or lack thereof) tells you a lot about the alumni’s or students’ attachment to their alma mater. Satisfied and connected alumni/students will usually come back and answer your questions honestly. You can also use the graduates’ profiles to see what careers they have pursued and compare them to your personal career goals.

Step 8: Research financial investment and scholarship options.

Universities often work with financing partners to help students finance their education. An interesting model is the reverse generation contract. With the help of a loan from an education fund, you can finance the fees and your living expenses.

More funding options Read more

Investing in a master’s program in Germany is definitely an investment in your future! Don’t be put off by tuition fees. With the right choice, the investment will pay off quite quickly.  Universities often work with financing partners to help students finance their education. An interesting model is the reverse generation contract.

With the help of a loan from an education fund, you can finance the fees and your living expenses. When you finish your studies, you pay back the money depending on your income. If your income is high, you pay higher installments and therefore pay back faster. However, if your income is at a lower level (e.g. due to starting your own business) you can take longer to repay the fees. Many universities offer scholarships for gifted students – thorough research can be worthwhile here. Last but not least, you can fully deduct the expenses for your studies from your taxes, a financial advantage not to be underestimated.

Which master program is right for you?

We hope this guide has helped you narrow down the selection of master programs in Germany. Such a decision requires some effort and time on your side, but we are sure that this deep dive will make the final decision easier in the end.

HHL offers part-time and full-time Master in Management programs. This year’s class has set a new record with 65 full-time students for the Master in Management program. About one-third of the students in this program come from an international background.

If you would like some assistance in figuring out if HHL has the right full-time Master in Management program for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with program manager Jana Vogel for additional information or take part in our virtual life events.

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