Introductory remark: I have been a lecturer for marketing and communication at several German universities for more than 20 years and wonder about the number of students attending my lectures, almost without exception, on the grounds that “they are practice-related”.

A business administration student at the University of St. Gallen, who recently stayed with us as a guest for a few weeks, told me that he had no idea what to do with the internships he had done in the meantime with the knowledge he had been taught during his bachelor’s degree. It was not until his master’s degree that he would have learnt useful content for professional practice.

What about all those students who couldn’t hear a speaker from practice, nor have time and money for a Master’s programme? They usually have to start over again. And at work.

However, it is not only the lack of practical relevance to the actual tasks of the profession that is the biggest handicap, but also the lack of knowledge about how the economy works, how companies are run and what is important to be successful professionally.

An early practical reference in the study would help students to overcome inhibitions and fears of contact to the future occupation and to facilitate the entrance into a first vocational activity. Students with practical experience are also much more suitable for potential employers.

The question arises as to why many universities are so theory-based and show little willingness to change this. It is certainly partly a piece of academic hubris, because a large number of professors are influenced by their scientific research projects, which sometimes leaves teaching a little behind. There are also professors who deliberately want to distance themselves from the real world. This often leads to economic or business models, which are praised in the scientific environment, quickly losing their usefulness when parameters from economic or political practice are added.

A comparison of state universities and universities of applied sciences quickly reveals that universities of applied sciences have gained in attractiveness and popularity in the recent past precisely because a considerable proportion of the training is provided by professors and lecturers who come from professional practice. Their aim is to make young people fit for their profession.

Now the answer to the question of what is “better” cannot be the university of applied sciences, because practical relevance without a scientific background can quickly run into emptiness. Which one can demand however that national universities, in particular those, which concentrate on economics and economics, should strive more purposefully around practical men as lecturers and also their number clearly increase, so that also academic studies do not move away too far from practice.

Here you can find more articles on this topic:

Why Universities Fail to Prepare Students for Reality

Open innovation – winning students

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