Big Business to set up Elite School in Berlin | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 13.05.2002
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Big Business to set up Elite School in Berlin

An elite international business school, backed by prime business will open its doors in autumn in Berlin. It's inspired by the top-league Harvard Business School and the Insead Institute in Fontainbleu near Paris.


Where future managers and corporate leaders will be born

Called the European School for Management and Technology (ESMT), the project is the brainchild of prominent German companies Allianz, DaimlerChrysler, Eon and Thyssen-Krupp.

Some 20 other German corporate heavyweights such as Deutsche Bank, Siemens, BMW, Bertelsmann, SAP and Deutsche Telekom are involved in the project, which hopes to train future managers and equip them to take up positions in leading companies around the world.

The school hopes to lure the best talent and highly qualified applicants from German companies as well as abroad. The course will be in English and students will graduate with a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Together, the German business empires have established a foundation pool of 100 million euro to finance the school. In addition, students will have to pay for their education and fees are rumoured to be as high 35,000 euro – the accepted standard in Europe for an international degree.

About 60 expert professors have been drawn from different fields to take the students through the paces and groom them to work in top corporate firms. Economics, technology management and the ethics of economics are some of the subjects in the curriculum.

German business seizes initiative

The progress of the ESMT will be viewed with interest by state universities and education ministries in Germany.

German business has often been critical of state-sponsored schools and universities, deeming them too theoretical, bureaucratic and complaining that the academic education is drawn-out and outdated.

Education in Germany at a state-sponsored university is largely free with no steep tuition fees such as in America or the UK.

The question of whether students should pay for their education at universities is a ongoing debate in Germany, with several federal states finding it increasingly difficult to finance the institutions and teaching personnel from state coffers alone.

A rash of private educational institutions have sprung up in Germany in recent years, though almost all of them have strained to continue financing their courses and have often charged high fees to keep afloat.

German companies have often shown themselves to be reluctant to invest large sums of money in their own projects and the present initiative marks the first time that a elite school funded entirely by private money has been set up by German business.

School an honour for Berlin

The establishment of the school is being seen as a coup for the German capital.

After a meeting with the project co-ordinator of the ESMT and Chief of the Supervisory Board of ThyssenKrupp, Gerhard Cromme, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said on Wednesday that he wholeheartedly supported the initiative of German business.

He told a press conference that that the ESMT is an important step to further strengthen Berlin’s excellent position as a hub of knowledge and science.

Berlin wins over Munich

The ESMT will move into the former State Council building in the "Mitte" district in the heart of Berlin on the historical Schloss square.

The choice of building as well as city to house the ESMT has been a hotly-contested affair for months.

Bavaria’s State Premier and Schröder’s opponent in the upcoming elections, Edmund Stoiber, was reported to have set his sights on getting the prestigious project to Bavaria. With Berlin announced as the clear winner, Munich is to be placated with a "ESMT Competence Centre".

The former State Council Building, a relic of the German Democratic Republic is viewed by the business bosses as a representative location for the school as it is right in the heart of the German capital.

After much lobbying and wrangling, the Federal government has given the building to the state of Berlin in return for other property equal in value.

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