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WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management Driving international growth at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management with support from the Financial Times

The challenge

Driving growth and becoming a powerful international studies hub.

The solution

Internationalisation of WHU’s curriculum, supported by FT’s full range of content and a network of partner universities around the world.

The benefits

Attracting an increasing number of foreign students and staff, WHU has laid firm foundations for future growth, thus nurturing its reputation for international excellence.

WHU is committed to delivering excellence in management education, in both learning and knowledge creation. We do this in particular by emphasising the global dimension of business and creating a stimulating intellectual and international environment. The FT provides us not only with an international focus on business developments, but also with the latest material to combine academic rigour with practical relevance.

Prof. Dr. Michael Frenkel Dean of the WHU

Building on success

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management is a privately financed business school, located in Vallendar, Germany.

It was founded in 1984 as part of an initiative by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Koblenz to develop more commercially focused qualifications and graduates that would better meet the demands of business and industry.

More than a quarter of a century later, WHU is now regarded as one of the leading academic and research institutions in Germany, and is the only private business school that is a member of the German Research Association (DFG). It is also one of the earliest German schools to receive an AACSB qualification, and one of a handful to hold AACSB, EQUIS and FIBAA System accreditations altogether.

Students benefit not only from a high quality education but also a large and active network of partner universities, employers and alumni.

International focus

The school has built a strong reputation as an international centre of learning, with a commitment to emphasising the global dimension of business and creating a stimulating intellectual and international environment.

Developing this further is a major part of its plans for the years ahead. WHU’s stated ambition is to “be international in all we do”, firmly believing that diversity is a driver of innovation and that today’s students require a strong understanding of the global economy and the international consequences decisions made at a local or national level can have.

Almost 20% of the university’s faculty members already come from outside Germany, and the school attracts around 20 visiting international professors each year. More than one in four (26%) students is non- German, and the school’s alumni spread across 65 countries. All services on the campus are already translated into English and all lectures are carried out in English.

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Many of WHU’s post-graduate education programmes feature significant international aspects, and all students on Bachelor, Master and MBA programmes spend a semester abroad at one of WHU 200 partner universities, including largely exclusive arrangements with some of the top business schools in the US.

Those studying for the Master of Science programme also have the opportunity to take part in the doubledegree programme, which allows students to earn a full degree from the partner university in addition to the MSc degree from WHU, after completing one additional semester abroad. Participating universities are based all over the world and include Peking University in China, Keio University in Japan, the University of Texas at Austin in the US, and the University of Western Australia.

At any one time the school is also home to around 250 exchange students, supported by the school’s International Relations Office, which aims to ensure time spent abroad is as beneficial as possible.

Growing along the Rhine

To help grow its international presence and appeal to students from outside Germany further, WHU opened a second campus in Düsseldorf in October 2012, from where all its post-graduate programmes now run, complementing the more traditional set-up in the German town of Vallendar, some 150km away.

With its easy access to international cities and ties with large businesses based in the city, the Düsseldorf campus increases the chances of international students considering WHU as a study destination, while the traditional centre will continue to develop as an undergraduate location.

“In five years, I can see both campuses of WHU being significantly larger than today,” says Dean Professor Michael Frenkel. “In Vallendar, we have the possibility to attract very good students into our undergraduate programme if we implement our internationalisation strategy.”

Helping hand

To assist with its aim of becoming an international study hub and attracting overseas staff and pupils, WHU turned to the Financial Times as a means of providing both academics and students with the in- depth international knowledge and real-world, practical illustrations of business theory, required to enhance their understanding of commerce and help shape their study and future careers.

The Financial Times is of great value to WHU’s Executive Education activities on two levels. First, seminar facilitators draw upon the ongoing current discussion of economic and business news all the time. Obviously, the FT is a source of that, well known for its thorough and independent journalism. Second, our participants enjoy being kept up to date while on campus.

Dr. Rebecca Winkelmann Managing Director of Executive Education, WHU

In July 2013 the school selected an FT Group Subscription, as a curriculum enabler giving students and staff access to all content produced by the FT, including news stories, comment and analysis, and wider business reports. The subscription also offers access to the newspaper’s substantial archive, dating back to 2004, enabling students to understand the context of selected news items and see how other issues have developed over time.

Such broader understanding has proved to be a highly useful experience for students, including executives on MBA courses, helping them to realise the implications of business decisions and international trends in the longer term. “I often read, since its news coverage offers an excellent overview about the relevant current economic events as well as the latest business trends,” says Professor Martin Fassnacht, Otto Beisheim Endowed Chair of Marketing and Commerce. “I regularly use the articles to apply practical examples to my lectures, which illustrate the theory. These are very important for a high quality managerial education and also if you want to explain how marketing contributes to successful management.”

The alert service has been particularly beneficial, allowing students, academics and support staff, such as librarians and researchers, to ensure they do not miss out on less commonly reported developments by alerting them to any relevant stories containing key words, from all around the world.

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“The Financial Times provides me with a perspective unlike any other in the business press: a wide array of up-to-date business news, impartial journalism and a collection of in-depth research stories,” says Jan Peter Schmütsch, a research assistant in the school’s finance department. “

This already remarkable collection of features is complemented through regular and diverting coverage of often neglected subjects like the international art market. Speaking personally, the FT liberates the narrow focus of national newspapers and its unrivalled international network of specialised journalists enables me to grasp an idea of what truly matters on a global stage.”

Future-proofing facilities

Technology and digital learning is already playing a prominent role in education and this is only likely to increase in the future through the use of tablet computers and other devices; something identified in the New Media Consortium’s most recent Horizon report into developments likely to have the greatest impact on further education institutions over the next three years. The use of the FT Group Subscription allows students and lecturers to move with the times, giving them the ability to access information through a wide range of channels, including tablets and other mobile devices such as smart phones and notebooks. This has been hugely beneficial to both students and lecturers by allowing them to stay informed wherever they are, and ensures the school is able to offer services to its staff and students across new devices as they emerge.

This is also being used by the school’s support services, including the library. “ ensures that we – the WHU library – are “au courant” with the latest technologies and services of information provision, and can serve them with our major information sources,” says Uwe Böttcher, Head Librarian. “Taking tablet computing, mobile apps or “the internet of things” as some examples, they all can be addressed with and serviced by features offered by Ubiquitous computing, social media, BYOD – information brokering in the 21st century provides quite a number of interesting challenges to libraries. With the information framework, you simply cope with all of them.”

Paving the way ahead

With a new location already up and running and the FT Group Subscription providing instant access to information resources, WHU is now fully focused on growing its operations over the coming years. A priority is to grow the school’s online learning operations and increase the use of new technology available to staff and students, which will be supported by digital access to the FT.

More generally, WHU hopes to increase its number of students to 1,500 by the end of 2016, with more international students and plans to grow the number of academic staff members to 37 full professors and 23 junior professors.

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