Interview with HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management

Last month we visited HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management and met with Anne-Christin Grob and Theresa Kodritsch from their International Relations Team, and Jana Vogel, in charge of Marketing and Student Recruitment. We have learned a lot about this business school, how they support their incoming students and also about the strengths and challenges when it comes to students recruitment. Read the full interview:

Jana, tell us a bit more about HHL and your study offer here in Leipzig.

HHL, founded in 1898, belongs to the most traditional business schools in Germany and beyond. Since its foundation, HHL stands for internationality and excellent management education. Today HHL belongs to the leading business schools in Europe, with excellent ranking positions.

HHL was the first business school in Germany, which was accredited by AACSB International. HHL is a graduate school and offers Master in Management programs: the M.Sc. in Management and the MBA in General Management. Both programs can be studied full-time as well as part-time/weekend programs. Furthermore HHL offers a Doctoral Program and Executive Education. All programs are taught in English.

What is unique about HHL?

HHL has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and leadership. Our mission is to “ educate effective, responsible and entrepreneurial business leaders through outstanding teaching, research and practice”. With up to 90% international students HHL is one of the most international universities in Germany.  The Individual student services, the practice-orientation and the outstanding career service are key elements of the special HHL spirit. Furthermore, a strong alumni and company network ensure, that HHL students can start their career right after graduation.

Anne and Theresa, you both work on supporting incoming students and helping them with their arrival in Leipzig. What are the main challenges and your top 3 tips for students planning their study abroad in Leipzig?

Just like any students, HHL students from abroad whether they are regular full-time or exchange students face a couple of challenges when embarking on their study abroad adventure. The most obvious one being the language barrier is somewhat softened by the fact that HHL is an English-speaking environment. Faculty, staff and fellow students can assist with any emerging issues. While many – mainly younger Germans – are used to communicate in English, not every German institution is providing its services in English, which is why – among many other services provided – we at HHL support our students in accompanying them to the foreigner’s authorities, help them in opening bank accounts, and assist them in getting the appropriate health care policy for their stay at HHL.

We are also aware of the fact that our students are not around their usual support network which is why it is of utmost importance to us to let them know that we at HHL are here to support them with any problem they may face. This can range from finding suitable housing, finding the right (English-speaking) doctor or helping them make new friends at HHL. The Student Affairs Office as well as the International Affairs Office initiated Buddy Programs to make students feel welcome and integrate them into the HHL family as quickly as possible.

Our top 3 tips for students are the following:

  1. Think ahead and take care of all the important paperwork such as applying for your visa well in advance, and do not leave it to the last minute. This will only make an already unsettling time more stressful than it needs to be.
  2. Read your emails carefully, and provide all the information required, many problems can be avoided or at least be alleviated by paying attention to detail.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – your advisors are happy to help!

You have a large number of international students coming to HHL. What is the spread between national and international and which ones are the stronger “sending countries”?

Each year around 100 exchange students from over 30 countries choose HHL as their destination to study abroad. While exchange students arrive from a variety of European and non-European countries, the strongest sending countries are usually India, Canada and China in addition to a variety of European countries such as France, Spain and Sweden. In regards to degree-seeking students the number of international students ranges from 30% within the M.Sc. program to 91% within the MBA program. Currently, we are pleased to have 60 MBA students from 28 different countries – mainly from India, China, the US and Latin America.

Anne and Theresa, what kind of support or events can incoming students expect,  when they arrive to HHL?

Both the International Relations Office and the Student Affairs Office provide a great variety of services to HHL students. Prior to their arrival on campus we assist students in the admission process, in finding appropriate housing, and in receiving a visa. We also help with course registration and coordinate the sign-up for German classes prior to the start of their study programs.

Once our students arrive on the HHL campus, we welcome them with a week of events that we coordinate. For instance, they receive an introduction regarding all legal and bureaucratic aspects of their stay at HHL. Our IT department and library developed workshops to provide students with all the necessary information, and a specially designed “Introduction to Academic Writing” workshop for all exchange students familiarizes them with the academic etiquette at HHL.

In a campus tour, students get to know the HHL campus and in a workshop where all chairs present their course offerings, students are able to meet instructors and professors in an informal setting even before the classes at HHL start. In addition to opportunities to register with the city authorities and with health care providers right on campus, we also accompany our students to the Foreigner’s Office.

It is also important to us to make students feel welcome among their fellow HHL students and to create opportunities for them to mingle. A guided city tour of Leipzig, team challenges, Buddy program events and a Welcome BBQ are perfect opportunities to experience the HHL spirit. The International Office further organizes monthly events for all HHL students. Events  include trips to the opera and various theaters,  city tours and much more. Students are further always welcome to stop by at our offices for any problems they might encounter or to just have a chat.

Jana, What are your main strengths and challenges when it comes to students recruitment?

Since HHL belongs to the leading business schools and wants to further improve its reputation, we are looking for very committed and motivated talents, who not just want to pursue a master program but at the same time to contribute to the development at HHL. That means we are looking for entrepreneurial minded young people, who are willing to go the extra mile during and after the program. This makes the recruitment process very special and unique. In our admission process we emphasise not only on excellent academic achievements but also on soft skills and the personal fit of the candidate. Therefore we organise an admission day as part of the application process, where students have individual interviews with a professor as well as an HHL alumnus or company representative. Furthermore we have the goal to recruit very diverse class profiles. With this diversity we want to prepare our students for the challenges of the globalised business world. In our current full-time MBA class we have more the 22 nationalities among our students.


Since last October, we offer Staytoo Apartments in Leipzig too! Find out more about our student housing offer at Staytoo Leipzig