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your turn by Udo Steffens It's Time to Put Germany on the Map WHILE GERMAN INDUSTRY receives worldwide respect for its strength and flexibility, Germany's manage- ment education system receives scant attention. As of June 2012, only eight German business schools had been accredited by AACSB International; only four had been awarded EQUIS accreditation by EFMD.'s 2012 Global MBA Rankings include no German schools at all! In this era when competition for business students is global, I believe German business education is punch- ing well below its weight. The reasons can be traced to Germany's history of idiosyncratic industrial and educational development. I am convinced that German schools can become internationally competitive if they recognize the five factors that hold them back: Vocational training takes pride of place. In Germany, vocational training for mechanics, technicians, bankers, nurses, and other specialists is a tradition, codified into law in 1969 (in the Berufsausbildungsgesetz, a vocational training act). Apprentices spend two or three days a week learning on the job and the other days attending a state- run institution that offers occupational training. Vocational training is primarily funded by Germany's 16 federal states, with some federal assistance. There is also an extensive network of agree- ments between the government and the chambers of commerce, trade asso- ciations, trade unions, and individual companies. These complex arrange- ments, combined with Germany's long history of skills-oriented education, have obscured the need for business education that relies on objective and scientific analysis. Many business schools have tran- sitioned into universities. Tradition- ally in Germany, management skills were taught at special Handelshoch- schulen—literally translated as "trade universities"— that were founded in the early 20th century. Following a general trend, many specialized higher education institutions were turned or integrated into comprehensive universities and thus lost their autonomy as well as their proximity to business. I believe this trend has had a deleterious impact on Germany's universities, because few of them have devel- oped distinctive specialized profiles or earned interna- tional standing. Mannheim University revived its origin as a Handelshochschule and transferred its economics and business administration department into a business school that has earned AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA accreditation. Most other German schools have delib- erately abandoned their specializations to become com- moditized generalists with no clear focus. The degree system is almost impermeable. Until German schools must recognize the five factors that hold them back. 64 September/October 2012 BizEd recently, professionals without a higher education qual- ification were denied access to university master's pro- grams, regardless of their experience. Furthermore, few universities offered programs suitable for this highly qualified group. Thus, when these professionals wanted training, they headed to private institutions offering specialized courses—but earned no university degree. Traditionally, Germany has been an engineering nation. As such, Germany has no track record in the management sci- ences. Only recently has the business sector acknowledged the importance of management skills as a separate field of research. Most important, German universi- ties have little motivation to enter the business education industry. State- funded German universities have scant incentive to raise additional money. At the same time, Germany's egalitarian university system has no tradition of ranking or evaluating performance in areas such as research achievements, postgraduate careers, or teaching excel- lence. Thus, neither academics nor administrators have any incentive to develop their schools' profiles, but instead engage in lecturing or consult- ing opportunities off campus that

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