The year 2009 will always be a significant milestone in the history of the European Business School: In the past weeks and months, together with the city of Wiesbaden and the state of Hessen, we have laid the groundwork for the expansion of our college into a university. Over the course of this decision-making process, I have been – rightly – asked again and again what the new university will concretely bring to Wiesbaden, how the city will profit from it, and what significance, if any, Wiesbaden can achieve compared to the traditional Hessian university cities of Marburg, Frankfurt, Gießen, Darmstadt and Kassel? My answer to these questions is: Wiesbaden may be the newest university town in Hessen, but that is exactly what gives us the chance to make our city, within our specialist fields, into one of the most modern and innovative locations at the international level and to be the first German economic university to compete in the international top league.
A university should be an economic factor and a driver of growth
The expansion into the university is therefore the most important prerequisite: We are counted among the top five schools in business administration in Germany and are not only the oldest state-recognized, private academic college in business administration, but also, with 70 professors, we provide the largest business faculty of the state. Even so, we are definitely still too small to be competitive in the international top segment. Our second, legal department will also give us the opportunity to make a mark for our university in international competition as one of the best.
In the past, no German business school has ever been able to compete in this league. A university such as this, I am completely convinced, is not only extremely attractive to prospective lawyers, but will also prove to be an additional attractive economic factor for Wiesbaden and bring further growth. The broad field of professional services, in particular, comes to mind. Corporate law firms, consulting companies, investment banks – our university will be an incredibly interesting partner for all of them, in research and training as well as recruiting. Here we will provide new momentum from Wiesbaden and enrich the attractiveness of Wiesbaden as a business centre with another locational factor.
Creating attractive opportunities in high-class education
I have often been asked whether Hessen does not already have enough universities, and why we think it needs yet another one.
The answer to this can be found in the German educational market: While we are already very well positioned in general education, we have, for a G-8 country, almost no significance in the top division in the fields of economics and law. That is just the gap that we want to fill with our university, a university that sets the highest standards in research and teaching and can also measure up in size internationally with more than 100 professors. That is what makes our concept unique, and what will positively distinguish the university city of Wiesbaden from the others.
We do not want to compete with state universities, but rather to create additional attractive training and continuing education opportunities here in Hessen, in that we emphasize economic focus points above all within the study of law. That means we qualify in all basic subjects that are necessary according to legal education regulations, but always from an economic standpoint.
Placed into the curriculum, that means focus points in: international competition and corporate law, capital markets law, trademark law and transportation law, to name only a few examples. Extensive language training is also provided, above all in legal English, as well as a universal study including ethics, personality development and scientific theory and at least one mandatory semester abroad. Large law firms, banks and corporate groups have enormous interest in such exceptionally educated lawyers. Until now, in Germany only the – likewise private – Bucerius Law School provided training targeted to this market; with a corresponding run on its offerings. We see a giant market niche here for us. Especially since, with the various synergies arising between business administration and legal studies, we have a clear competitive advantage, which gives us the possibility of securing a top spot in the international education market and establishing Wiesbaden as a knowledge centre at the international level.
New possibilities in qualification with an international perspective
For the future lawyers who come to us in Wiesbaden, the additional certification possibilities offered by our law school are especially interesting. Passing the first state legal exams after nine semesters is indeed the primary goal of training. But in addition, our students can earn a Bachelor of Laws (L.L.B.) degree after the sixth semester; there is also the option of earning a Master of Laws (L.L.M.) at one of our international partner universities. In preparation for an international career, students also profit from our existing strengths and from the EBS network with the Career Service Center, the Center for Economic Languages – with 31 foreign language instructors in nine languages – 200 coaches, and 154 partner universities across all continents.
We are glad to be able to give something back to Wiesbaden
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the city of Wiesbaden and the state of Hessen because, like us, they believe in the success of this project, and without their support we would not be able to realize our goals. I will be even more glad if – apart from the locational factors named above – we can give something back to Wiesbaden and, with our move into the old district court, keep our promise to create a lively university neighbourhood here.
Born in 1969, the author has a doctorate from the Technische Universität München in the field of economic science and habilitated there in 2004. In 2006 he became managing director of the European Business School, International University Wiesbaden/Oestrich-Winkel. Christopher Jahns has been its president since April 2009.