The history of GSB Mainz

The establishment and development of the Gutenberg School of Business Mainz at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

The Gutenberg School of Business Mainz (GSB Mainz) formed in 2020 was the natural outcome of many years of the provision of part-time executive and management further education at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). The Executive MBA program was originally launched at the Faculty of Law, Management and Economics as early as 2001. It was one of the first programs of its kind in the German-speaking world and has been offered continuously with considerable success ever since.

The extra-occupational continuing education courses for professionals and executives were initially designed on the basis of the early discussions between representatives of the Faculty of Law, Management and Economics at JGU (headed by the then dean of the faculty, Professor Volker Hentschel) and a selection of corporate board members. The Initiative for the Future of Rhineland-Palatinate (ZIRP) - a collaborative body involving the state authority, representatives of the business community (BASF, Boehringer Ingelheim, DB Schenker Rail, Siemens, etc.) and of public institutions (university, broadcasting, church, etc.) - proved to be the ideal sponsor of the proposed project. Following some 12 months of preparation that saw the conceptual design of the program and related procedures, the recruitment of lecturers, conclusion of a cooperation agreement with the McCombs School of Business, the University of Texas at Austin and accreditation, the first class of 34 participants began the program in the fall of 2001. Professor Volker Hentschel assumed the directorship of the degree program and continued in this post for 11 years until October 2012.

On January 1, 2013, Professor Franz Rothlauf took over as program director and since June 2016 he and Dr. Stefanie Klossok have shared the position together. As academic director, Professor Rothlauf is responsible for the content of the courses while Dr. Klossok looks after operational matters. In September 2019, Professor Andrej Gill was added to the academic management team.

Professor Alexander Hennig was initially involved in program management and was in charge of routine aspects of the degree program from October 2002 to February 2007. Dr. Klossok assumed full responsibility for program management in March 2007. From December 2012 to December 2014, Nicole Schneider also served as managing director for the Executive MBA degree program. Between January 2016 and June 2019, the EMBA office was managed by Kerstin Wenselowski. Since January 2018, Katarina Schaffarschick M.A. as program manager has contributed to the management as well as press and public relations, and she assumed management of EMBA office in June 2019.

Since the program's inception, 468 students have successfully graduated from the Executive MBA program over a period of 19 academic years. The program has been continuously modified to conform to transformations in the corporate world, the latest status of management research and the changing needs of the participants.
From the third year in which the program was offered onwards, the initial academic visit to Austin was supplemented by another visit to the Dongbei University of Finance and Economics (DUFE) in Dalian (China). In the eighth year of the program, participants were given the opportunity to spend a study period abroad at the University of Adelaide (Australia), either as a supplementary or as alternative option. Since 2011, participants have also been able to study in China at Tongji University in Shanghai.

The fireside chats have been part of the degree program from the very beginning and are still a much appreciated special feature of the program, involving as they do leading decision-makers active in business, politics and public life. Previous fireside chats have been given by such luminaries as Kurt Beck, the former Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate, Peter Kohlgraf the Bishop of Mainz, Dr. Jörg Kukies, the State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance (in his then post of Co-Chief Executive Officer Germany of Goldman Sachs) and Jürgen Heraeus, not to mention board members of the German Central Bank, the KfW Group, Boehringer Ingelheim, PwC, SCHOTT AG, Lufthansa AG and many others.

In 2005, 2011 and 2016 the Executive MBA program was re-accredited by the FIBAA. The latest accreditation is valid until the end of the summer semester 2023. Since January 2019, the program has been part of the Network of Business Schools of the International Association of MBAs (AMBA), the most important international association of business schools designed to ensure excellence in management education.

Since 2014, the Executive MBA degree program has offered in-depth training in healthcare management to complement its General Management program in the form of three additional courses on “Healthcare and Hospital Finance”, “Quality Management in Healthcare”, and “Legal Frameworks in Healthcare”.

In 2015, the program underwent a fundamental restructuring that further increased its general accessibility by making cuts to the overall study requirements.  Instead of the original 10 modules, the program then consisted of just six compulsory modules on general management topics and two elective modules, one of which had to be chosen. Initially, the choice was between the topics “International Management” and “Healthcare Management”. Since the two mandatory stays abroad often meant organizational problems for participants and took them away from their professional activities for too long, in the 15th year of the program only one stay abroad was made mandatory while other was made optional.  Participants now travel to Adelaide and Shanghai on an alternating basis. The tuition fee was reduced from €26,000 to €19,000.

In 2017, due to the marked increase in numbers of program applicants, a second program intake in a single academic year was initiated. This intake began its studies at the start of the 2017 summer semester.

In the 20th academic year of the program that commenced in September 2019, the degree program underwent yet another restructuring; in future it would consist of five compulsory modules and four elective ones.   The previous compulsory electives “International Management” and “Healthcare Management” were supplemented by two more: “Law” and “Digitalization”. Participants can select two of the four elective modules. The tuition fee was now increased to €19,500.

The Gutenberg School of Business was founded in August 2020 to offer a target group-specific portfolio of study formats to cater for the continuously high demand for extra-occupational Master's degree programs in continuing education for the management sector. In addition to the existing Executive MBA program, which is designed for professionals and managers with several years of work experience, a Young Professional MBA program is to be launched in the summer semester of 2021 that will be tailored to the needs of professionals starting out on their careers and that will not only focus on leadership-related topics but will also impart more operational aspects. Moreover, individual continuing education courses in selected topics in the management and leadership field are also planned in which it will be possible to acquire a certificate.