Vienna University of Economics and Business in Wien

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Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien ("WU Wien" or just "WU" in Austria and Germany) or Vienna University of Economics and Business is the largest University focusing on business and economics in Europe and, in terms of student body, one of the largest universities in Austria. Until 2008, its official name in English was "Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration".


WU Wien was founded on October 1, 1898 as k.u.k. Exportakademie to provide professional training to future businessmen and thus stimulate the Austro-Hungarian empire's economy. From humble beginnings as a professional school, it quickly grew to become an important institution, which was awarded the status of a fully-fledged Hochschule (an educational institution equivalent to a university, but specializing in a certain field such as technology or business or art) in 1919. At that time, it was renamed to Hochschule für Welthandel. The course of studies leading to the academic degree of Diplomkaufmann provided training preparing for the export and banking businesses and was very practical, comprising courses in business administration, economics, law and others. In 1930, the Hochschule für Welthandel was granted the right to issue doctoral degrees.

After World War II, the Hochschule für Welthandel increased its breadth in research. It started to become a very important institution in Austrian society at that time; most Austrian managers and many politicians received their university education here. From 1966 onward, it began to offer a more theoretical course of studies in economics. In 1975, it was renamed to Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien. At the same time, the number of students began to increase dramatically. In 1983, it moved to its current campus in Vienna's 9th District.

WU Wien Today

Today, WU Wien has more than 20,000 students and over 400 researchers and teachers, among those about 80 full professors. It increasingly draws students from outside Austria, mostly from Central and Eastern Europe. Most of the faculty are of Austrian or German nationality.

Rankings and Accreditations

The Financial Times has ranked WU Wien as one of the top 50 European Business Schools (#16 in 2009 for the master program International Business Administration).

The university is part of the respected consortium of Europe's leading schools and corporate partners - Community of European Management Schools (CEMS).

WU Wien has achieved accreditation from the London-based Association of MBAs (AMBA) and Brussels-based EQUIS.

New building

The first turn of the sod for the new location was in October 2009. On a surface of about 100,000m² the university will be built close to the public park Prater and the exhibition centre of Vienna. The master plan was created by BUSarchitektur under the guidance of the architect Laura P. Spinadel. The buildings of the campus are designed by architectures from Spain, England, Germany, Japan and Austria. The dominant element of the campus should be the Library & Learning Center which was planned by Zaha Hadid.

The start of the construction will be in 2010 and pave the way for the largest campus for business sciences in Europe. After a construction period of 2 years the investment of 250 million Euros will be finished in 2012. The connection to the public transport system is the new extension of the underground line U2, buses and the closeness to the hub Praterstern.


Researchers at WU Wien work in the following fields:

  • Business administration and all its branches
  • Economics
  • Law
  • Linguistics, focusing on business communications
  • Sociology
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Economics history and economic geography

WU Wien is not associated with the School of Austrian Economics which developed at the University of Vienna in the late 19th and early 20th century. While the University of Vienna's economics department remains particularly strong in academic research and publication in peer-reviewed journals, WU Wien's economics department today exceeds it both in terms of faculty size and number of students. With students in Austria being free to choose at which university they enroll, WU Wien has become the most popular business and economics university in Vienna and in Austria.


Due to its large size, WU Wien is able to offer a very broad range of electives which is probably unparalleled anywhere in German-speaking countries.

Beginning in Fall 2006, WU Wien has begun to modify its study programs to a bachelor/master/doctor system in order to align them with the Bologna Process. Currently, the following bachelor's degree programs are offered:

  • Business, Economics and Social Sciences, with a choice of four different majors:
    • Business Administration
    • International Business Administration
    • Economics & Socio-economics
    • Information Systems (already a bachelor's degree program before 2006)
  • Business Law

WU Wien plans to offer a range of 14 master's degree programs, including several programs taught completely in English. As of May 2009, the programs for Business Education, Business Law and Information Systems are already on offer. A new Master's degree program in Quantitative Finance was launched in October, 2009.

Additionally, WU Wien offers the following advanced degrees:

  • Doctoral Program in Social and Economic Sciences
  • Doctoral Program in Business Law
  • PhD in Finance (as part of the Vienna Graduate School of Finance initiative)
  • International MBA (in English; jointly with the University of South Carolina)
  • Executive MBA (in English; jointly with the University of Minnesota)
  • LL.M. in International Tax Law (in English)

The following four-year studies leading to a Magister der Sozial- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften (Master of Social and Economic Sciences) degree are still in progress for students enrolled prior to Fall 2006:

  • Business Administration
  • International Business Administration
  • Economics
  • Management Science
  • Socio-economics
  • Business and Law
  • Business education

As at any Austrian or German university, scholars can also achieve a Habilitation at WU Wien.

Furthermore, several courses in continuing education are offered (e.g. in advertising and sales, tourism management).


In 2011 Vienna University of Economics and Business was ranked 21st in the list of the 392 worldwide leading higher education institutions by Mines ParisTech. The study obtained the higher education career of the CEOs of the world's leading 500 companies.

In 2011 the university's master program in management was ranked 18th in Europe by Financial Times.

Notable faculty

  • Christoph Badelt
  • Ewald Nowotny

Notable alumni

  • Thomas Klestil (1932–2004), Austrian President (1992–2004)
  • Franz Vranitzky (1937– ), Austrian Chancellor (1986–1997)
  • Ferdinand Lacina (1942– ), Austrian Finance Minister (1986–1995)
  • Hannes Androsch (1938– ), Austrian Finance Minister (1970–1981) and Vice-Chancellor (1976–1981);
  • Christoph Chorherr, Green Party Spokesperson (1996–1997)
  • Madeleine Petrovic, Green Party Spokesperson (1994–1996).
  • Wolf Klinz, Liberal Party member of the European Parliament (2004–present)
  • Christoph Meineke (1979– ), Mayor.
Entrepreneurs and Managers
  • Peter Brabeck-Letmathe (1944– ), Chairman and CEO Nestlé AG;
  • Dietrich Mateschitz (1944– ), CEO Red Bull
  • Claus Raidl (1942– ), CEO Böhler-Uddeholm,
  • Hans-Peter Haselsteiner (1944– ), CEO Strabag SE
  • Peter Löscher (1957– ), CEO Siemens AG
Public Institutions
  • Maria Schaumayer (1931– ), President Austrian Central Bank (1990–1995).


External links