The Esslingen Graduate School

20 years of international master's programmes
acquiring and educating specialists for Baden-Württemberg

The first step towards the Graduate School: The Esslingen MBA

In the late 1990s, our industrial partners were demanding more international talent on the German job market. Esslingen University of Applied Sciences reacted strongly and swiftly, creating the MBA in International Industrial Management: an MBA programme geared towards international engineers all over the globe, introducing them to the German industry. This was a pioneer programme, one of the first English-language MBA programmes in Germany.

The team around the MBA were Prof. Karl Kottman, then Dean of the Department of Management, whose power and visions for this programme engaged the Advisory Board, ensured funding, and got the programme off to a flying start.

Partnered with Prof. Kottman was Prof. Dr. Robert Straw from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. Dr. Straw is a specialist in Finance and Strategy whose experience ensured that the programme started off on a stable base. Dr. Straw, originally from the USA, was the first Academic Director of the MBA.

Organising the MBA, taking care of marketing, admissions and student services, were Cornelia Mack and TuDao Luong. Ms Mack had a background in politics and international business, PR and languages, and Ms Luong, in herself international, in business management. Assisting them in the office and with student services was Andreas Volz.

The first year of the MBA was a huge success. Since its inception, the programme has been continuously developed and has changed with the market around us. It remains to this day, 21 years later, one of the three strong columns that form the Esslingen Graduate School.


1999: The Creation of The Graduate School and two M.Sc. Programmes

The success of the MBA was followed closely in 1999 by the establishment of two international M.Sc. programs: the M.Sc. in Automotive Engineering (M.Sc. AE), with Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Weise as Academic Director, and the MSc in Information Technology and Automation Systems (M.Sc. IA), led by Prof. Dr. Eberhard Kienzle.

As a first in Germany, and under the patronage of Esslingen Mayor Dr. Jürgen Zieger, the FHTE inaugurated the Graduate School as an independent department to organise the three international, English-language programs, with Prof. Karl Kottmann as Dean and Prof. Dr. Bernhard Schwarz as Vice Dean.

The international team organising the three master's programmes grew with the department: TuDao Luong and her assistant Martin Seeger managed the MBA Programme, while Catriona Fekete and her assistant, Oya Büyükdere, managed the M.Sc. programmes. Dipl.-Soz.-Ped. Petra Gülck became the new Assistant to the Dean. Cornelia Mack carried on to take over the central university marketing, and Sara Pohl became our Head of Social Services.

2006: The Fachhochschule für Technik becomes the Hochschule Esslingen

In 2006, the two universities existing on this site fused into one: together, the Fachhochschule für Technik and the Fachhochschule für Sozialwesen became the Hochschule Esslingen. This centralisation of the two administrative units has helped our university combine strengths and function more efficiently.

2007: New Conception of the Engineering Programmes

After eight years of experience with its international engineering master's programmes, and working closely to meet industrial demands, conceptional changes were set in motion to respond to changing industrial requirements. The M.Sc. in Information Technology and Automation Systems became the M.Eng. in Automotive Systems (M.Eng. ASM), with Prof. Erich Schindler as Academic Director. The M.Sc. in Automotive Engineering became the M.Eng. in Design and Development for Mechanical and Automotive Engineering (M.Eng. DDM), with Prof. Dr. Stefan Rösler as Academic Director. These programmes have both been highly successful over the years's, the ASM programme even being voted by the German Acadimic Exchange Programme (DAAD) as Germany's most popular engineering programme in 2013.

Graduate School Deans

Graduate School Vice Deans

MBA Academic Directors

IA and ASM Academic Directors

AE and DDM Academic Directors

The Graduate School Today

Today, the Esslingen Graduate School is enjoying its years of experience coupled with a constant influx of new ideas and inspiration. Our staff now consists of Dean Prof. Dr. Siegfried Zürn and Vice Dean Prof. Dr. Michael Flad, who is also the Academic Director of the MBA programme.

Prof. Mathias Oberhauser is the Academic Director of the M.Eng. in Automotive System, and Prof. Dr. Stefan Wagner is the Academic Director of the M.Eng. in Design and Development for Automotive and Mechanical Engineering, Prof. Dr. Gerd Wittler is the Academic director of the part-time Master's in E-Mobility. TuDao Luong has remained in charge of the MBA programme, joined by Ute Brinkmann in 2003 as Programme Manager of the M.Eng. programmes. Petra Gülck is Assistant to the Dean, Sara Pohl is Head of Student Services and Catriona Fekete-Nester has taken over Marketing.

After 20 years: Attractive for international applicants and the German industry alike

Since its inception, the Graduate School has seen approximately 1400 master’s graduates from more than 80 countries around the globe pass through its halls. Our graduates have moved on to the work force in Germany and throughout the world.


MBA applications open 15 October – 31 May
M.Eng. applications open 15 October – 31 March

More information
Dipl.-Soz.arb. und -Soz.päd. Petra Gülck
+49 711 397-4461

Monday and Tuesday 08:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Tuesday and Thursday 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.