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Studying Business Administration in Germany

Business studies students examine how companies work
An article by Maria Retter

Studying Business Administration in Germany
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Business Administration

That is what it’s about

The business administration degree program deals with how departments and processes in a company interact, how companies are managed and what makes them successful. A business studies student, for example, tries to reduce costs in the production process if the company no longer makes a profit. "Students acquire basic skills that enable them to familiarize themselves with various tasks in a company," says Hans Klaus, a professor of business administration at Kiel University of Applied Sciences. Business studies students are expected to be able to handle change and have a good understanding of business processes. All universities of applied sciences and also some universities require practical phases of three to six months in the bachelor program, which are usually completed in the last few semesters. If not, you can take a holiday semester for it. "It pays off to take some internships to gain an insight into everyday working life," advises Susanne Homölle, a professor at the University of Rostock and chair of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences. In business administration, the relationship between men and women is balanced: 50 percent of the students are women.

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This is how the course runs

In the first few semesters students gain an overview of the management of companies, for example in the areas of production, sales, marketing or human resources. They focus on accounting and learn how to create and properly read annual financial statements. In addition, there are legal basics, maths and statistics and an insight into economics. "The basics are followed by discovery-based learning: case studies, group work and projects," says Hans Klaus. At many universities, in the second half of the Bachelor's degree program, students then focus on a particular area, such as human resources management, marketing or finance.

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Typical questions raised within the subject

  • How can a product be produced cheaply?
  • What should the company spend money on?
  • What effect does advertising on the Internet have?
  • How can you use data to improve business processes?
  • How do fintechs (Finance technology companies) change the traditional banking landscape?
  • How can you measure, control and improve the quality of products?
  • How do you formulate a strategy for a company - and how do you implement it?
  • How do you write a business plan for starting a business?
  • Which leadership style is suitable for a company?
  • How do you find suitable employees and how do you motivate them?

The subject suits you,...

...if you are curious about designing processes with and for people, taking into account a positive economic outcome, says Hans Klaus. In addition to maths and statistics, the basic business administration subjects such as accounting and bookkeeping are the biggest hurdles in the first few semesters, because it is there that there is a lot of new and abstract subjects for the students. Even if you have a lot to do with numbers, BWL (business administration) is all about people: What does the customer want? Which employees fit into our company? "It's about more than just memorizing facts. You should learn to think economically,“ says Susanne Homölle.

Is there a numerus clausus?

Around half of the degree programs have a numerus clausus. The range is large, often between 1.5 and 2.5.

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