Frankfurt School finished 2020 with a positive operating profit of EUR 278,000. The growth of the business school’s Bachelor, Master, MBA and professional development programmes played a major role in this successful end to a difficult year.
“Our success in 2020 is the result of hard work by the entire Frankfurt School team, which consistently gives its all to keep us growing,” believes Frankfurt School President Professor Nils Stieglitz, citing two specific examples: “We provide each student with personalised, in-depth advice to help them make a successful start to their careers. This has an impact on, for example, our rankings. The new concentrations in our continuing education programmes and the option to take part in classes and courses from home are also clear growth drivers.”
He goes on to explain that the coronavirus pandemic had a defining influence on Frankfurt School during 2020. “We’re constantly exchanging ideas with our students, course participants and customers, in a spirit of trust and confidence. We know what they need and want, and we do everything we can to ensure that they’re satisfied, happy and successful when learning and studying with us. We’ve maintained this high standard of excellence even – in fact, especially – during 2020, a difficult year. And we clearly demonstrated our passion for excellence through, for example, our study options model; our reliable, multi-channel accessibility; the many digital recruiting and alumni events we organised, and our transparent approach to hygiene and safety. Our strong community has proved its worth. What’s more, we’ve grown closer as a team and consequently been able to welcome more new students to Frankfurt School than ever before.”
In 2020, Frankfurt School welcomed 1,311 first-year students onto its degree programmes, compared to 1,182 in 2019. The 2020/21 cohort breaks down as follows:
When the pandemic began, Frankfurt School made long-term investments in digitalisation and communication technology, and put in place a comprehensive safety and hygiene scheme. This means that students can now choose their preferred learning mode by deciding for themselves whether to study online or in the classroom. If they decide to attend on campus, Frankfurt School’s coronavirus tracer keeps everybody safe, since all students and staff are wearing it. The tracers communicate with each other using Bluetooth technology, so if someone does turn out to be infected, each individual contact can be traced and alerted with stringent precision.
The business school’s physical infrastructure has also been extended. New, spacious classrooms equipped with appropriate communication technology have been set up in vacant areas. And in lecture halls, students are protected by Plexiglas partitions between the individual seats.
“Our students were able to use the campus throughout the year – under strict conditions, of course – and they regularly visited the campus to study in, for example, our group study rooms and Library. I was very happy about this,” observes Frankfurt School’s President, adding that: “Throughout the year, students and course participants were able to study, take exams, and stay in touch with faculty members and our various teams such as Student Services and Career Services. Innovation, consistency, accessibility, support and personal advice all contributed to our success in 2020. Everyone at Frankfurt School played a part; I’m proud of the entire team.”
Since spring 2020, the Student Services, Career Services and Alumni Relations teams at Frankfurt School have delivered their advisory services and events in digital or other safety-first formats. This includes new formats for opening and graduation ceremonies (such as the Bachelor opening ceremony in the Gravenbruch drive-in cinema). Career Day, during which 49 employers introduced themselves, was also held online. In total, the Career Services team organised 78 career-related events (62 of them digital) in partnership with companies. Once or twice a month, “Stay tuned to FS” – the new online series for graduates, students and other interested parties – saw faculty members, alumni and friends of Frankfurt School involved in commercial or social activities comment on the latest developments in politics, business or working life, or present research results. “During the strict lockdown phase, many people were left to their own devices – especially young students who haven’t been in Frankfurt for very long. And yet personal encounters, especially random ones, not to mention conversation and debate, are the things that make us tick,” says Nils Stieglitz. “So I’m very glad we were able to organise our advisory services and campus life so quickly via digital channels. During this difficult period, we were always approachable and remained accessible to many of our international alumni in particular. We’re sticking to these new formats and will continue to use them in the future, alongside our on-campus offerings.”
In 2020, Frankfurt School further improved its position in the Financial Times (FT) European Business Schools ranking, coming 26th (2019: 32nd; 2018: 36th) and consolidating its fourth-place position among German business schools. Of the 90 universities represented in the ranking, six are German. And in the 2021 ranking published by German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche, Frankfurt School appeared in fifth place for the second time, and was once again rated the best private business school in Germany.
Professor Nils Stieglitz explains why rankings are so important: “Rankings indicate business school’s strengths in teaching and research; to a large extent they’re based on graduate surveys, but they also measure research performance. That’s why they’re a useful guide for prospective students, as well as corporate partners.” According to Professor Stieglitz, Frankfurt School’s excellent and steadily improving rankings show that the business school provides graduates with first-class preparation and training for specialist and managerial positions. The fact that the faculty has a strong record of research addressing topical subjects such as corporate governance, artificial intelligence, sustainability, the costs and benefits of lockdowns, and the vaccination campaign, also pays off in rankings. “Rankings position us in competition with other business schools. We’re proud to place in the European Top 30,” concludes Nils Stieglitz.
Frankfurt School offers part-time professional development programmes throughout Germany, in the form of Banking (Bankfachwirt), Business Administration (Betriebswirt) and Management Studies. Here, too, Frankfurt School showed growth – a total of 1,315 participants enrolled on part-time programmes in 2019, whereas the figure for 2020 rose to 1,392. The Management Studies programme is especially popular: 240 men and women took the course in 2020 (2019: 143).
A key factor behind this success is flexibility. Frankfurt School offers students multiple options: since 2020, they have been able to complete all three courses in the business school’s @Home format – that is, from their own computers, wherever they happen to be. This positive trend was boosted by the many electives on offer, enabling course participants to set their own priorities and build their knowledge by choosing options of direct relevance to their professional activities. Students on the Betriebswirt programme, for example, can choose concentrations such as “Digital Business”, “Banking and Finance”, “Marketing and Sales” as well as “Entrepreneurship and Startups”, while the “Leadership” module in the Management Studies programme prepares students specifically for executive management duties.