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The Best MBA Programs in Germany (2023)

The Ultimate Guide to Germany's Top MBA Programs

Written by Molly Ellison and Darren Joe. Photo courtesy of Matthias Ripp via Flickr.

Looking for the best full-time MBA programs in Germany? Here’s your ultimate guide! Compare Germany’s top MBA programs head-to-head and get application tips from Admissions Directors from Germany’s best MBA programs.

last updated October 2023

Why Germany for your MBA?

4 Reasons to Get Your MBA in Germany

1. German business schools are affordable, offer 1-year MBA programs, and have impressive return on investment (ROI), especially among global rankings. The average tuition for the three programs surveyed in this guide is €44,833, while the average starting salary for MBA graduates hovers near €100,000. The top business schools hold impressive international accreditations and have entrepreneurial spirits. German MBA programs are relatively young but have broken into international rankings and are gaining recognition in the global marketplace.

2. Earning your MBA in Germany gives you a high probability of ending up in the country post-graduation, even if you’re an international student. Upwards of 70 percent of MBA graduates stay and work in the country post-graduation. Recent graduates are also eligible to apply for a residence permit, which allows them to stay in the country for 18 months to look for a job.

3. Germany boasts a high standard of living with a low cost, especially in comparison to other Western European nations. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research estimates that students spend an average of about €867 per month on living expenses.

4. Germany has the largest economy in Europe (comprising 25 percent of European GDP), is Europe’s prime logistics hub, and is one of the world’s leading countries for foreign direct investment. At the end of 2022, Germany’s unemployment rate was only 3 percent. Germany is responsible for 8 percent of the world’s exports, and is also known for its strong engineering, technology and manufacturing industries.

Top Full-Time MBA Programs in Germany

Click on school name to get a full writeup and in-depth podcast interview exploring what makes each program unique

European School of Management and Technology Berlin (ESMT)

  • ESMT was founded in 2002 by a conglomerate of 25 German companies to provide practical, quality management education to the country’s future business leaders. These founding companies represent diverse industries and include KPMG, BMW, and Lufthansa.
  • The school calls Berlin, Germany’s most populous city and its capital, home. The city is a business and cultural hub for Europe, too, as well as being much more affordable than other major cities on the continent. Startup Heatmap ranked Berlin the #1 startup hub in Europe.
  • ESMT students can specialize in Strategic Leadership, Managerial Analytics or Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  • ESMT is an entrepreneurially minded program with many graduates pursuing careers in the tech industry. Twenty six percent of the Class of 2021 found roles in the technology industry, 20 percent in consulting, and 18 percent in e-commerce
  • ESMT’s Responsible Leaders Fellowship gives students the opportunity to extend their studies by up to six months to complete a social impact project in a developing country; ESMT pays a stipend, covers travel, and can help students find a fellowship.

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management (WHU)

  • WHU is located in Dusseldorf, a creative center and start-up hub in Germany. More than 400 advertising agencies call the city home, as well as hundreds more startups. The tech industry has a heavy presence in the city.
  • WHU’s program is comprised of three modules, including one that focuses on personal leadership, and culminates in a “Final MBA Project,” which can either be research-based and developed while taking elective courses, or can be centered around an internship.
  • The program’s leadership module offers intensive training – both in and out of the classroom – aimed at helping students develop critical soft skills necessary to be effective managers.
  • MBA candidates are required to participate in short-term study periods in the U.S., India and China. During the trips, students take courses at partner universities, visit local companies and nonprofit organizations, and analyze the cross-cultural business challenges they observe. Partner universities include Kellogg, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, and CEIBS/Fudan.
  • The program offers two potential start dates – either March or September – and an intensive, four-week German language course that candidates can choose to participate in before starting the MBA program.

Mannheim Business School (MBS)

  • Mannheim is ranked the #1 MBA in Germany by the Financial Times, Bloomberg Businessweek and Forbes; QS Global MBA also ranks the Mannheim as the #1 ROI MBA Program in the world
  • The Wirtschaftswoche University Ranking, based on recommendations of German Human Resource managers, ranked Mannheim #1 in Business Administration for 14 times in a row (2002 – 2014) as well as in 2016 and 2018 – 2021
  • Students at MBS have impressive access to major companies, while enjoying the lifestyle and cost-of-living of a mid-sized city. Fifty percent of the major German companies are located within a 250-kilometer radius of Mannheim, a major business hub. Many multinationals, including Unilever, Siemens, and IBM, all have offices in the city.
  • In addition to taking 10 core courses, students participate in a Social Sustainability Project and Business Master Project. The Social Sustainability Project challenges candidates to use a business mindset to tackle a societal issue. Students can also extend their studies for 3 months to earn a Certificate in Management Analytics.
  • More than one third of graduates work in consulting and more than 80 percent work in Germany. MBS students can take advantage of the country’s strong industrial sector and the major companies neighboring the school.

Frankfurt School of Finance & Management

  • The Frankfurt School is triple accredited by AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA, and entered the Financial Times Top 100 MBA Rankings (#98 worldwide) for the first time in 2023
  • MBA students major in Advanced Management or Finance & Technology
  • The Frankfurt School was founded in 1957 to provide professional education for bank employees; it now provides bachelors, masters and executive education, as well as international advisory services to financial institutions and NGOs
  • Tuition, at 42,000€, is the most affordable amongst the German MBAs in this guide; applicants can also get discounted tuition (up to 14%) by applying in earlier rounds

Insider Interviews with German MBA Admissions Directors

Listen to our in-depth interviews about what makes each MBA program unique and what you can do to give yourself the best chance of getting in:

Application Tips from MBA Admissions Directors

“I like people who think a little bit differently, who are unafraid to challenge the status quo, who are authentic, reflective and are able to verbalize why the ESMT Berlin MBA is the right fit for them and why Germany.” Rebecca Loades, Director of MBA Programs, ESMT Berlin

“Students need to be team players because WHU is a collaborative MBA… we do a lot of group work so this is an integral part of candidate fit, in my opinion. And also be open to be learning about themselves… this is one of the most difficult parts, to see your blindspots and work on your weaknesses in front of others… and this is something students need to be open to.” – Sabine Noe, Director of Recruitment & Admissions, MBA Programs, WHU 

“We look at more than 20 different criteria… we are looking at a comprehensive profile. We are looking for people who are collaborative, as we want to have in-depth learning in the classroom. We’re looking for people who are great in teamwork, who can teach other people but at the same time are also able to listen. Every one of our candidates should bring value to the rest of the classmates.” Kai Stenzel, Chief Market Officer, Mannheim Business School (MBS)

“Try to see how you stand out, because all schools look for a diverse profile. Tell them what you did before, what challenges you had, tell them about your experiences, and honestly for me and many others, that’s much higher on the list than a few more GMAT points. The GMAT points are important, but we’re looking for people that go out and have an impact on the business world and society and these are skills you can’t always test for.

Whenever I start an interview, I tell the person, ‘Tell me for 3-4 minutes who you are?’ And this is something you can prepare. Prepare how you introduce yourself. What’s your background? What’s your experience? Why do you want to do an MBA? What’s your target and does an MBA help you achieve your target? It’s good to see what people want to do in the long run.” Adrian Buss, Academic Director of MBA Programs, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management

Touch MBA’s Advice for Applying to Top German Business Schools

  • Apply early, as Mannheim, WHU and ESMT offer substantial tuition discounts (more than 10%!) to admitted students who apply in earlier rounds
  • Upwards of 70% of MBA graduates from Germany’s top MBA programs work in Germany after graduation; demonstrating interest in the region and German language skills would be a plus
  • Take advantage of the fact that top German business schools are willing to meet and guide you before you apply

What’s Next?

Interested in seeing how you stack-up against applicants to the Mannheim, WHU or ESMT MBA programs? Submit your profile to get an early indication of fit.

Contact our team to get free b-school selection help.

Post-MBA Career Opportunities in Germany

  • Visa – Germany is perennially ranked as one of the top European countries for international students and student visas are simple to arrange once admitted to a program. Upon graduation, students can apply for a residence permit and are allowed to stay in the country for up to 18 months to look for a job. Graduates of German universities are also able to stay in the country as either self-employed or to set up a business, particularly if their venture is related to their studies. If your business is successful, this can lead to permanent residency in the country.
  • Taxes – Income tax rates in Germany are adjusted according to one’s income and range from 0 to 45 percent
  • Geography – Situated in the heart of Western Europe, Germany is an ideal location for traveling around the continent and beyond. Domestic and international transportation systems – ranging from buses, to trains, to planes, to cars, to bicycles – are abundant and efficient. Germany is also in the Schengen Zone, allowing for ease of travel between many neighboring countries.
  • IndustryGermany boasts the largest economy in Europe (comprising 25 percent of European GDP) and the fourth largest economy in the world. It’s well-known for its manufacturing industry, particularly related to cars and mechanical engineering. BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen were all founded in the country. In 2020, services made up 70 percent of Germany’s GDP and industry made up 23 percent of GDP. Sixty percent of Germany’s workforce was employed by “Mittlestand” – small (<500 employees), family-owned companies. For those with a more entrepreneurial mindset, Startup Heatmap ranked Berlin as the top startup hub in Europe.
  • Return on Investment – In 2022, Financial Times ranked top German MBA programs as follows for value for money (worldwide): Mannheim, #20; ESMT, #23; MBS, #33.

Head to Head – ESMT MBA vs. WHU MBA vs. MANNHEIM MBA

Want a comprehensive picture of Germany’s leading MBA programs? Read below for a head-to-head comparison of schools with detailed info on admissions, curricula, job placements and more.

Comparison table best viewed on bigger screen. Last updated February 2023

Degrees OfferedMBAMBAMBA
Class Size408560
GMAT (avg)640678680
Age (avg)303030
Work Exp (avg)666
No. Nationalities25 (92% international)40 (87% international)25 (80% international)
Start DateJanuaryMarch, SeptemberSeptember
Length15 months12 months12-15 months
Financial Times 2022 (2021, 2020)88 (80, 81)74 (54, 64)72 (58, 71)
Bloomberg Businessweek 2022-2312Not Ranked7
Notable Rankings#1 business school in Germany for four consecutive years by Financial Times

#8 worldwide for top MBA schools for ESG by Financial Times
#1 in Germany (#3 in Europe) best MBA for entrepreneurship teaching by Financial Times #1 MBA in Germany by the Financial Times

#1 ROI worldwide by QS Global MBA
RequirementsUndergraduate degree or equivalent professional qualification

3+ years of work experience

GMAT/GRE score

English language fluency (minimum TOEFL iBT 95, IELTS 7)
Undergraduate degree

2+ years of work experience

GMAT/GRE/CFA Level2/WHU Admissions Test/PhD/others

English language fluency (TOEFL >100 IBT, IELTS >7)
Undergraduate degree or equivalent professional qualification

3+ years of work experience

GMAT/GRE score (minimum 600)

English language fluency (minimum TOEFL iBT 95, IELTS 7)
DeadlinesRound 1 - Feb 22
Round 2 - Apr 12
Round 3 - May 31
Round 4 - Jul 19
Round 5 - Sep 13
Round 6 - Nov 8

The school offers early bird tuition discounts to those who apply in the first three rounds (€6,000 off, €3,000 off, €1,000 off)
Rolling admissions:

For non-EU applicants:
April intake - Dec 15
September intake - May 31

Final application deadline for those who do not require a visa:
April intake - Feb 29
September intake - Jul 15

Candidates who apply by Aug 31 or Oct 31 (for April intake) or Jan 31 or Mar 31 (for September intake) receive €5,000 off or €3,000 off tuition if accepted.
Round 1 - Jan 31
Round 2 - Apr 31
Round 3 - Aug 15

The school offers early bird tuition discounts to those who apply in the first two rounds (€4,500 off, €2,000 off)

€200 discount if your GMAT is 650 or higher
Application Fee€50€0€130
Est Annual Living Costs€1,000/month€1,000/month€750-1,000/month
Application MaterialsOnline application

TOEFL score (if non-native English speaker)

GMAT/GRE/EA/ESMT Admissions Test score

Three short essays

At least one recommendation


Official transcripts from past degrees/studies

Interview (if selected)
Online application

TOEFL >100 IBT or IELTS >7 score (if non-native English speaker)

Excellent Fit Assessment Form (GMAT or GRE score (>600 recommended)

Short answer questions in completed questionnaire

One letter of recommendation


Official undergraduate degrees and transcripts

Interview (if selected)
Online application form

TOEFL or IELTS score (if non-native English speaker)

GMAT or GRE score (>600 recommended)

Three short answer questions

Two recommendations


Official undergraduate degrees and transcripts

Interview (if selected)


Evidence of payment of application fee

APS for applicants from China, India, Vietnam
International OpportunitiesStudents can study at IE (Spain), NUS (Singapore) or Peking University (China) for 6-12 weeks

Global Network for Advanced Management - Students can study at one of 30 other business schools globally for one week.

Social impact project - Students can choose an international partner.

Responsible Leaders Fellowship - a fully-funded social impact project for up to six months post-MBA in a developing country.
Mandatory study periods in:

U.S. (Kellogg),

China (CEIBS or Fudan)

India (Indian Institute of Management Bangalore)
Includes a study trip to a business school located at an international business hub where you will attend a mandatory course
ScholarshipsAwards 6 categories of scholarships (28 total) up to 50% of fees.

Applicants automatically awarded scholarships for demonstrating German language skills, Test Score Excellence or applying in the earliest rounds.
Awards 9 categories of merit and need-based scholarships up to €10,000

Applicants automatically awarded for applying in the earliest rounds
Merit-based scholarships available, up to 25% of fees, and offered on a rolling basis subject to availability

Applicants automatically awarded for applying in the earliest rounds

Germany's cultural, political and startup capital.

Though it's both the capital and the largest city in Germany, nearly half of Berlin is made up of greenspace, which includes parks, rivers, and forests.

Dusseldorf is a creative, startup hub in Germany, and has been ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world.

In addition to being a German business hub - IBM, Siemens, Unilever and other major multinationals have offices in the city - it's been dubbed an "UNESCO City of Music."
Core Curriculum
Five modules:
Module 1: core courses
Module 2: specialize in 1 of 3 tracks
Module 3: summer internship, German language, social impact challenge
Module 4: electives or exchange
Module 5: capstone project

Introduction to General Management

Introduction to Economic Thinking

Managerial Analysis and Decision Making

Inclusive Leadership


Business Ethics

Data Analytics for Managers

Marketing Management

Operations Management and Supply Chain

Financial Accounting

Managerial Accounting


Structured Thinking

Building High Performance Teams

Competitive Strategy

Quantitative Methods

Evidence Based Management

Organizational Behavior
Four modules that culminate in a thesis.

1. Core Modules:
Understanding Financial Performance

Exploiting Market Opportunities

Managing the Organization

2. Elective Modules:
Creating Impact

Sharpening Financial Acumen

Executing Strategy

3. Personal Leadership Module:
Intercultural Communication

Team Building and Coaching

360 Peer Feedback

Individual Coaching

Stage Training

Development of Personal Leadership

Leadership Credo

4. Management Practice Workshops

5.International Module:
Study periods in the U.S., China and/or India

6. Final MBA Project
10 core courses, as well as a Social Sustainability Project and Business Master Project:

Financial Accounting


Strategic Management

Corporate Finance


Managerial Accounting

Organizational Behavior & Change Management

Operations Management

Ethics & CSR

Qualitative & Quantitative Research Methods
ElectivesCapturing Value from Innovation

Organizing for Innovation

Bringing Technology to Market

Strategic Leadership: Innovation & Execution

Sustainable Supply Chain Management

Fighting Poverty with Business

Corporate Environmental Strategy

The Economics of Climate Change

Brands of the Future

Raising Capital

International Finance
Advanced courses that provide deeper insights on:

Strategy & Organization

Marketing & Sales,

Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Advanced Finance
Options include:

Applied Corporate Finance

From Data to Insights

International Marketing

Innovation & Creativity Management

Corporate Mergers & Restructuring

Global Corporate Strategy

Business & Corporate Taxation

Global Information Management

Responsible Business Negotiation

Consumer Behavior

Supply Chain Management

Strategic HR Management
ConcentrationsStrategic Leadership

Managerial Analytics

Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Marketing & Sales

Advanced Finance & Accounting

Operations, Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Strategy & Organization
Management Analytics Certificate
CAREERSClass of 2022Class of 2021Class of 2021
Placement w/in 3 months85%86%95%
Average Salary (Sign-On Bonus)€83,902 (€110,299*)

*Includes sign-on bonus
€79,578 (€10,000)$109,273 USD
Salary Increase (Financial Times)58%88%72%
Top Geographies72% Germany
15% Europe (not Germany)
10% Americas
3% Asia
88% Germany
7% Europe (not Germany)
4% USA
1% China
84% Germany
8% Europe (not Germany)
6% Asia
3% Africa
Top Industries26% Technology
20% Consulting
18% E-Commerce
19% Tech/Startup
18% Consulting
14% FMCG/consumer
8% Financial Services
7% Healthcare/Pharma
6% Transportation/Logistics
6% Energy
6% Automotive
6% Real Estate
35% Consulting
22% Technology / IT
14% Manufacturing
8% Financial Services
8% Healthcare
Top Functionsnot available21% Finance
18% Sales & Marketing
18% Consulting
11% Operations/Logistics
10% Business Development
9% General Management
not available
Alumni600+ full-time MBA alumni and 5,500 school alumni worldwide in more than 40 countries.More than 5,500 worldwide.More than 3,500 alumni with 20 chapters worldwide

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