The Vienna University of Economics and Business (Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien or WU) is the largest university focusing on business and economics in Europe and, in terms of student body, one of the largest universities in Austria. It has been ranked as one of the best business schools in Europe. WU 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. Today, WU has more than 20,000 students and over 400 researchers and teachers, among those about 90 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. WU has achieved accreditation from the London-based Association of MBAs (AMBA), Brussels-based EQUIS and Tampa-based Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).
With its rambling palaces, winding cobbled lanes, elegant Kaffeehäuser (coffee houses) and cosy wood-panelled Beisln, Vienna is steeped in history. Yet it's also at the cutting edge of design, architecture, contemporary art, and new directions in dining and nightlife. What is most enchanting about the city is that not only does it hold on to its traditions, it incorporates them in everything from high-fashion Dirndls (women's traditional dress) with pop-art motifs or punk conical studs to handmade Sacher Torte–flavored doughnuts and inspired neo-retro cafes. Vienna's past is alive in its present, and, by extension, its future.
Vienna, and Austria in general, is a popular place for studying business abroad. The main benefits of studying business in Austria are that:
You can enjoy English-taught programmes in a Germanic environment, exposing yourself to a new and exciting setting;
You will discover first-hand the Germanic business etiquette, famous for its precision, planning and regulation;
It’s an Internationally-friendly atmosphere, where you can quickly make new contacts and put your knowledge into practice;
You can discover a variety of fields of study;
You can expect a great deal of freedom in organizing your study experience;
As a bonus, you are close to nature, as well as the modern urban environment.
There is much more to studying at WU than just classwork and studying. As a student, you spend a substantial part of your time on campus, both inside and outside the classroom. Thanks to its innovative architecture and its location next to Prater Park, Campus WU combines both nature and urban flair, providing an attractive space for both your academic work and leisure. All work and no play? Not on Campus WU.
If you take a stroll across campus, you’ll immediately notice that the wellbeing of students and employees is an important priority on Campus WU. The open spaces between the various buildings create a park-like environment with pathways and squares, lawns, reflecting pools, and numerous places to sit down and relax. If you enter Campus WU from the west, right opposite the Executive Academy building you’ll be greeted by a wavy landscape with soft, green flooring, ideal for sitting or lying down. You can’t study on an empty stomach. There are plenty of places on Campus WU where you can grab a bite before, after, or between courses. The nearby Prater Park offers plenty of opportunities for all kinds of athletic activities, but there is also a sports center located directly on Campus WU, run by the University Sports Institute (USI).
WU's students' union operates a Buddy Program that connects incoming exchange students with local WU students to help them settle into life in Vienna. Your buddy is a WU student who acts as your personal mentor. The Buddy Network also organizes a number of social activities for exchange students (skiing trips, trips to neighboring countries, theater visits, etc.).
Your study abroad at WU will begin with an on-campus orientation during which time you'll learn about life at WU and everything the University offers.
The Fall semester at WU is referred to as Winter Semester and takes place October – January.* Optional pre-semester German language courses take place in September. The Spring semester is referred to as Summer Semester and takes place March – July. Optional pre-semester German language courses take place in February.
*Please note: Several courses end before the Christmas break; students who cannot stay at WU through the end of the semester should only choose those.
Ranking and Rigor
Top 51 - 100 bracket in the world for Business and Management - 2017 QS World University Rankings by Subject.
Top 101 - 150 in the world for Accounting and Finance - 2017 QS World University Rankings by Subject.
Past participants report that courses at WU are generally more difficult than courses at Tulane.
English course options for exchange students include more than 200 high-quality courses offered every term in a broad variety of business fields. A wide range of courses are taught in a block format, which contributes to increased flexibility in scheduling courses by exchange students. For a list of courses commonly offered in English and their Tulane equivalents, please see Sample Courses Offered.
Apart from courses offered in English language, incoming exchange students can also attend a variety of courses taught in German. If the student chooses courses taught in German, they must have at least advanced intermediate command of the language. From experience WU recommends students brush up their German prior to their study abroad program.
Courses offered will vary from semester to semester and year to year. For a an up-to-date list of course offerings, please see WU's course catalogs.
Before the semester: WU offers an optional pre-semester German language course during the Orientation and Cultural Program three weeks prior to the start of the semester. To participate, students need to apply by May 15 for the winter semester and by November 15 for the summer semester. Places are limited. A reduced fee is available to exchange students.
During the semester: WU offers German Business Communication courses at 5 different levels. German Business Communication courses are fee-based and credit-bearing. Places are limited.
University life in Austria will be different from Freeman. Part of your exchange experience will be adapting to your new environment at WU. Please consider the following aspects:
Academic life in Austria is rather formal, e.g. Austrians address a professor with “Dear professor XY” and try to be very polite with students, lecturers and staff.
At WU, most courses are taught in a seminar-like format and require active participation as well as team work.
Attendance is mandatory in all classes. Some course instructors may allow students to miss a small fraction of a course, but attendance at the first session of a course is absolutely mandatory.
Students need to create their own schedule and are expected to register only for courses that don't overlap. Furthermore, it is the students' responsibility to make sure they fulfill the prerequisites.
Students are expected to do pre-course readings and hand in pre-course assignments in time. They should get familiar with WU's learning plattform Learn@WU and are expected to frequently check their WU email address.
At WU, most courses are taught in a seminar-like format, include several types of assessment and require your active participation – therefore attendance is mandatory in all classes. Academic integrity and compliance with formalities and regulations are very important at WU. Please ask your course instructor about quotes and references in any kind of written paper (e.g. essay, report, homework) you have to submit. Plagiarism is considered a serious offence and will lead to your de-registration of a course.
Past participants in the exchange program at WU say that future program participants should be prepared for a lot of group work. One past participant commented, "Nearly every class I took relied heavily or completely on group-work. There is no way around this, and while it may be frustrating at times, it is an excellent way to meet new new people."
Some courses at WU operate on a semester schedule and some operate on a block schedule. Block schedule courses meet for longer hours over a few weeks. The exam normally takes place directly after the blocked course. Semester-long courses take place the entire semester and exams take place at the end of the semester.
Ninety percent of classes at WU are PI courses (courses with continuous assessment of student performance), exams and tests are held during the regular sessions announced for the course, and, there is no special exam week after the semester ends. In many occasions the final test will take place at the last session. In some courses, final course grades are based primarily on one final exam. Past students recommend studying everything (not just what is on the study guide) in order to do well on the final examination.
The course instructor(s) will explain all aspects of assessment during the first session.
Grading Scale and Conversion Guide
The Austrian grading system applies at WU. The issued grades are: sehr gut/excellent (1), gut/good (2), befriedigend/satisfactory (3), genügend/sufficient (4) and nicht genügend/fail (5). WU does not use a standardized percentage-based grading scale. The percentage scores needed to earn the grades given above differ from course to course. In most cases the course-specific grading scales can be found in the online course description. Below please find the U.S. equivalents for grades earned at WU. Tulane works with World Education Services (WES) for credit evaluation and grade conversion.
For Freeman semester abroad programs, students must:
complete their lower division business core requirements prior to their semester abroad;
earn a 2.5 GPA in the lower division business core courses;
be in good academic, financial and disciplinary standing.
Students who are on disciplinary probation, academic probation and/or honor board probation during the semester or term in which they intend to study abroad are not eligible to participate in a Tulane study abroad program. Approvals are revoked for students who are placed on probation after being approved to study abroad.
Students on disciplinary, academic and/or honor board probation during time of application are considered only if the probation period ends prior to departure for study abroad. Such applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by Study Abroad & Exchange in consultation with Tulane's Division of Student Affairs and/or Academic Affairs. If the application is approved, the host institution will be notified of the probationary status. It is within the discretion of the host institution and/or Tulane to place additional restrictions on a recently-disciplined student's participation in a study abroad program.
Courses Taught in German
Advanced intermediate German is required to enroll in courses taught in German.
Freeman Semester Abroad Application
To access the Freeman semester abroad application, please attend a Semester Abroad Info Session and make an appointment for follow-up advising with a Study Abroad & Exchange advisor.
Some exchange programs are more competitive than others. Students can list up to 10 school on the semester abroad application, in order of preference. All qualified applications are reviewed on a competitive basis based on GPA; completion of 3010s; academic, personal and professional relevance of study abroad programs; and academic, linguistic, personal and cultural preparation.
Upon nomination, exchange participants are required to submit secondary application materials to the host university. You will receive application instructions upon nomination to the exchange program at WU. The secondary application is due by the host university's deadline.
Exchange program participants pay their regular Tulane tuition plus a $1200 study abroad fee but do not pay Reily Center, Health Center or Student Activities fees. Housing is not charged by Tulane University but rather paid directly to the housing provider abroad. Students are responsible for additional expenses, including international airfare, passport, visa, meals, local transportation, books and supplies, and personal expenses. See the budget sheet for more information.
OeAD Residence Halls
OeAD (Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research) Housing Office is the main housing provider for international students in Austria. Students interested in renting these rooms need to apply by May 15 for the winter (Tulane Fall) semester and by November 15 for the summer (Tulane Spring) semester and pay a deposit. If interested in OeAD residence halls, students must apply as soon as possible. The rooms are allocated on a “first-come, first-served” basis. Rooms are rented for complete semesters only. There are no exceptions made for late arrivals or early departures. If you arrive later or leave earlier, you must pay for the whole semester, even if WU allows you to leave early. Students that study at WU in the fall will be responsible for pay for the month of January even if they depart early. Students that are planning to depart early should consider alternative housing options.
Prior participants' comments after staying in OeAD housing (Gasgasse):
"It was a great location and a pretty social place. I enjoyed it and would definitely recommend staying here."
"It is easy, in a nice location, and you'll meet many exchange students."
"A great way to meet other exchange students and a really fun environment."
"It's not that expensive and has everything you need. Also it's in a good location."
Housing Anywhere Private Flats
Private flats can be arranged through third party housing providers such as Housing Anywhere. If students need proof of accommodation for visa purposes, this proof has to be issued by the landlord. Further information: https://housinganywhere.com/.
Other Student Residence Providers
If you don't find what you're looking for on Housing Anywhere, WU suggests trying a third party housing service such as one of the following:
Independent housing is limited in Vienna and difficult to apply for without signing a year lease. Airbnb is not an option for most students because of visa requirements. However, some students have had success securing independent housing in a Wohngemeinschaft. One past participant shared, "Many people (including numerous non-Tulane students) expressed jealousy of my living situation in a Wohngemeinschaft. It was extremely difficult to secure but made my experience so enriching."
Note: Study Abroad & Exchange does not endorse any of the housing listed on the above links. Students are responsible for checking the condition of the property before signing a lease or making a deposit.
Note: Students need proof of accommodation to apply for a student visa for Austria. It is important that you secure your housing as soon as possible after you are accepted to the program at WU.
NOTE: Dates subject to change. Welcome Session 1: February 7, 2020 Welcome Session 2: February 28, 2020 (Welcome sessions are mandatory. Students can choose which session to attend.) Introduction weeks (optional): Orientation and Cultural Program: February 10 - 21, 2020. Pre-semester German language courses: February 10-20, 2020. Teaching period March 2 – June 29, 2020. Easter break: April 4-14, 2020. Pentecost break: May 31 – June 1, 2020. (Please note: many courses run until the end of the semester. Students need to make sure to register only for courses they will be able to attend in full).