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How to Make it in(to) Management: The Role of Business Education in Changing Career Pathways in Germany

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Global Higher Education book series (PSGHE)

Abstract

This chapter discusses changes to career pathways for management positions in Germany. It concentrates on the active role higher education plays in forming such pathways, with a focus on business education. The German work world has been for a long time characterized as an expert culture that provided access to management positions in companies based on experience and specialization. However, the role of formalized and general management knowledge for such high-status positions has increased throughout the last decades. The chapter analyzes quantitative and structural changes in higher education that favor management education. It accounts for the increase in career services in business faculties that impact on career pathways by easing access into high-status companies. This is exemplified trough field evidence from one private business school.

Keywords

  • Business Administration
  • Germany
  • Career Pathways
  • Differentiation
  • Career Service

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Figure 12.1

Notes

  1. 1.

    The data included 30 CEOs with 34 academic degrees between them. http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/das-haben-die-dax-chefs-studiert-fotostrecke-139822.html (accessed: 18. Aug. 2016)

  2. 2.

    While there is no consistency as to why one doctor might direct another doctor given that they are both trained to identify and approach illness, a credentialized manager can always manage another credentialized manager given that the former’s work improves the latter’s.

  3. 3.

    The old Diploma of universities of applied sciences have been retrospectively degraded to Bachelor-equivalent by political decision. I however still equate them to those granted by universities as their time of schooling exceeds that of the Bachelor.

  4. 4.

    Bluhm et al. (2014) present different results for large companies but do not differentiate between sectors. Also, their sample is more fragmented.

  5. 5.

    The drop in the relative weight of business administration/economics graduates after 2007 has to do with degree level differentiation. While the number of bachelor graduates is still high compared to the other disciplines, the transition rate from bachelor to master in the other disciplines is much higher.

  6. 6.

    They might, however, have long established informal relationships with the production industry through research projects as indicated above.

  7. 7.

    I only refer to state-accredited private higher education institutions. This sector is quickly expanding in Germany, both in enrollment and university numbers. However, it still accounts for less than seven percent of all students in higher education (Mitterle 2016).

  8. 8.

    All quotes have been translated from German into English by the author except those labeled with the abbreviation ‘NT’ (not translated)

  9. 9.

    Some scholars have raised different arguments, for instance that companies look for like-minded people (Brown et al. 2010). The data referred to here only addresses the perspective from within the university.

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Mitterle, A. (2018). How to Make it in(to) Management: The Role of Business Education in Changing Career Pathways in Germany. In: Bloch, R., Mitterle, A., Paradeise, C., Peter, T. (eds) Universities and the Production of Elites. Palgrave Studies in Global Higher Education. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-53970-6_12

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