10/15 Years Alumni Anniversary: Looking back on the progress achieved

June 20, 2018

A short time travel into the history of the WU Executive Academy

From a seminar room in a hotel to a state-of-the-art university campus: A lot has changed at the WU Executive Academy over the past 10 to 15 years. On the occasion of the first 10/15 Years Reunion on June 6, 2018, MBA alumni who graduated in 2003 and 2008, respectively, looked back on eventful times together with the team of the WU Executive Club.

People standing in line at the entrance to an event
The Alumni meet up again at the WU Executive Academy after 10/15 years.

“Time may change me, but I can’t trace time,” sings David Bowie in “Changes”. The WU Executive Academy has changed a lot over the years. This became perfectly clear during the 10/15 Years Reunion, a get-together of alumni who graduated 10 and 15 years ago, respectively. “We relocated our programs from hotels to Palais Liechtenstein and then, in 2015, to the new WU campus,” said Dean Prof. Barbara Stöttinger, who extended a warm welcome to the 2003 and 2008 MBA graduates gathered in the foyer of the WU Executive Academy. In 2003, WU Vienna's business school offered two programs—the Global Executive MBA and the International MBA (IMBA). By 2008, it had added the Executive MBA Bucharest and six Professional MBA specializations to its portfolio, taking the total number of programs to nine. Today, the WU Executive Academy offers not only the Global Executive MBA, an Executive MBA taught in German and the Executive MBA Bucharest but also eight Professional MBA specializations and more than ten other programs and specialist training courses.

International learning environment, state-of-the-art technology and new sense of identity

In terms of internationality and diversity, things have also changed a lot. “Our relocation to Campus WU in fall 2013, marked not only the conclusion of an ambitious project but also the beginning of a completely new era: The WU Executive Academy building has given us a new sense of identity and our students the opportunity to benefit from an international learning environment that is among the most modern in Europe,” stressed Barbara Stöttinger. In 2003, in the Global EMBA, f.e., there were participants from six nations; this year's class brings together 27 nations. So far, more than 3500 students from more than 85 countries have graduated from the WU Executive Academy across all MBA programs. Apart from Austria, most of the alumni come from Germany, Romania, Russia, Bulgaria and Slovakia. The proportion of female graduates has increased from 19% in 2003 to 40% in 2018. Today's alumni are, on average, aged 42 and have ten years of management experience.

Picture of Barbara Stöttinger
Prof. Barbara Stöttinger is welcoming all the alumni and is talking about all the changes the WU Executive Academy went through.
Portrait Christoph Kaipel

Prior to the get-together, the former students were treated to a campus tour—for many of them, it was a first: Christoph Kaipel, P&L and Business Development Manager and a student of the 2007-2008 class, was impressed by the state-of-the-art lecture-hall equipment. “When I studied for my degree, classes took place at Palais Liechtenstein, and we used an overhead projector,” he recalls. He chose to enroll in the Global Executive MBA “because the quality of the program was unique in Austria at the time”.

Having earned an engineering degree, he was Head of Sales back then. “Hence, I was looking for a general management program that would also allow me to develop my understanding of finance,” he said. At the time, the Global Executive MBA already included short field trips to the USA, China, India, Russia, Slovenia and Austria. Christoph Kaipel has benefited from studying for his MBA degree in many ways: “I now work in executive search—and I got to know my wife during the program. She was an MBA colleague of mine.”

A group at the WU Campus
The WU Campus is new to many of the alumni - and knows how to impress.

Off to new shores—the first trip to China

The event was attended not only by jubilee guests but also by Murat Ayberk, who studied at the WU Executive Academy from 2005 to 2006. He had turned out for the Alumni Lounge that was to take place after the alumni reunion. Murat Ayberk recalled how he and his classmates voted to travel to China: “We were the first class to choose Shenzen in China for our Site Visit because we found China exciting. We could also have chosen to go to Saint Petersburg.”

Originally a law graduate, Murat Ayberk, HR Director at MANZ, wanted to earn a graduate degree. “After many years in the telecom business, I was eager to step out of my microcosm in order to interact with others and learn from their experience. Peer-group learning provided an excellent opportunity to do just that. Moreover, I wanted to develop my understanding of modern management theories,” he said. After graduating, he made a career move and started working in executive search; today, he is the HR director of a medium-sized company. As a WU Executive Academy graduate, he has always been an active member of the alumni community. “I was one of the first graduates to join the WU Executive Club, and I actively contribute to the new WU EA Connect online network.” Murat Ayberk thinks the modern WU campus is an asset in terms of image—also as far as the alumni community is concerned: “You can definitely brag a little about the campus internationally.”

And not just about the campus. Having been triple accredited, which is a rare hallmark of international excellence, the WU Executive Academy's MBA programs rank among the best in the world today. Learn more about it here.

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