Three common missconcepions about German dual corporate studies (“Duales Studium”)

In a increasingly global world with applicants from all over the world, understanding international degrees becomes more and more important. Applying abroad with a German dual corporate Bachelor degree („Duales Studium“) made me aware that what is regarded as competitive study program in one country might not be seen as such in another. Here are three common misconceptions I faced during my application processes.

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Dual corporate studies are the same as trainee programmes

This depends on the trainee and dual corporate program but in my case this statement is completely wrong. I started off comparing my undergraduate education to better known trainee programs before realizing that this comparison does not hold. Whereas trainee programs are usually shorter one- year programs aiming at bringing newly graduates in a company/job, dual corporate studies are designed over a longer period of time (~ 3 years) to obtain a degree while working and being employed by a partner company. In my case, the three years were designed in a way that I rotated between different departments that would match my majors during the study-free time. I also received supplemental training from my partner company in e.g. business English, cross-cultural management, communication and self-management.

As a dual corporate student you are a not an employee

I vividly remember a heated debate with a recruiter who wanted to know how much work experience I had. Usually, I calculate my three years dual corporate studies as 1,5 years. But this particular recruiter did not understand the underlying work contract situation of my employment/studies and claimed that I was only a part time employee. My work contract (and this applies for most German dual corporate studies) was a full-time one. I received money every month, even when studying at university. Additionally, university fees were covered by the company. I received all employee benefits as „normal“ employees would receive (vacation, pension plans, social security). So in a sense, you are full-time student/full-time employee, because you are enrolled at a university during the program’s time. Consequently, as a dual corporate student you have to fulfill both, the employer’s and the university’s entry requirements.

Dual corporate studies are no real university studies

This depends on what you mean with „real“ university studies. Normally, university schedules for dual corporate programs are adapted in a way that study time is compressed to three month per semester including final examination (by studying whole days instead of only some lectures per week), which makes it possible to rotate between up to six departments in three years. Programs are either offered by private or public universities. When graduating, you have a „real“ university degree, meaning that it is nationally and internationally recognized. In my case for example, I could apply for international graduate programs without any restrictions. For some graduate degrees, I would have to take complementary courses in statistics and research methods. This depends highly on the focus of the program. My dual corporate degree aimed at giving me (besides the academic foundations) hands-on management tools for my work. In my final year for example, I had to hand in project management reports based on examples I was working on. A presentation of these reports rounded off the dual corporate study experience.

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