These 10 German universities are best at landing you a job

A new Times Higher Education (THE) ranking shows which universities in Germany produce the most employable graduates.

These 10 German universities are best at landing you a job
The opening of a new complex at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management on October 26th. Photo: DPA.

In the survey published by THE on Thursday, 150 institutions spanning 33 countries across the globe were ranked by top recruitment managers for graduate employability.

Featured in the annual ranking, which is in its seventh edition, are 11 German institutions in total – including three that made it into the top 50, with the Technical University of Munich taking the lead for Germany in eighth place.

Internationally, German universities are getting a better and better reputation, according to THE. But when it comes to “conveying digital competence” there's a bit of room for improvement.

Nevertheless, because professional experience is built into degree programmes in Germany, it is “one of the best represented countries in the employability ranking.”

Here are the best universities across the country in terms of being able to land you a job after graduation.

1. Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Located in the capital of Bavaria, this higher education institute placed eighth worldwide and was rated the best in Germany. It even ranked above prestigious universities such as Yale University and Oxford University – and was placed right behind Stanford at number seven.

Similar to the THE 2016 ranking, TUM is the only institution outside the US, UK or Japan which made it into the top ten.

Wolfgang Herrmann, TUM’s president, credits this success to the deep relationships between the university and industry in Bavaria, such as its connections to companies like Siemens and BMW.

“There is no other technical university that has such a rich economic environment and especially a technical economic environment [as] we do here in Munich,” Herrmann said in a statement.

TUM prides itself on its creativity, scientific innovation and entrepreneurial spirit; its scientists made 165 inventions in 2014, 69 patents were submitted in 2015 and more than 800 startups have been launched by students and staff over the past decade.

So don’t fret if you’re concerned your diploma from this university may not have as well-known a name on it as some of the others on the list; on graduation day, your chances for success are likely equal if not greater.

2. University of Munich (Ludwig Maximilian University)

With a degree in hand from this university, you might be able to increase your chances of finding a job that's right for you.

Similar to the 2016 THE Global University Employability ranking, this institute placed 31st worldwide, beating out the UK's University of Manchester (34th) and Duke University (37th) in the US.

Also known as LMU, the institute dates back to 1472 and traces its roots back to the 15th century.

Famous alumni and professors from LMU include Pope Benedict XVI, Werner Heisenberg and playwright Bertolt Brecht.

According to THE, the university places an emphasis on the natural sciences such as biology and physics, while other top subjects include space science and medicine.

3. Goethe University Frankfurt



A post shared by Gerhard Kotman (@gerhard.kotman) on Oct 13, 2017 at 11:58pm PDT

This leading academic institute in the financial hub of Germany has risen in the global THE ranking compared to last year: whereas it came in 50th place in 2016, this year it was bumped up to 47th place – nudging slightly further ahead than the University of Sydney (48th) and the University of Melbourne (50th).

Named after Germany's most beloved writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the location in the country’s banking centre lends itself to global connections, as part of its “international campus” initiative.

THE notes that Goethe University has a strong commitment to interdisciplinary approaches and is particularly well regarded for its work in physics, medicine, business administration and economics.

4. Heidelberg University

Ranked number 54, Heidelberg University was founded in 1386 and is thus the oldest of Germany’s academic institutions.

Five German chancellors have attended Heidelberg – including Helmut Kohl, who oversaw German reunification – as well as influential thinkers like Hannah Arendt.

Academics at the Baden-Württemberg institute have founded sub-disciplines such as psychiatric genetics, environmental physics and modern sociology, THE report. Further notable subjects offered by the university are space science and neuroscience.

READ ALSO: Why Heidelberg is Germany’s most inspiring city

5. Humboldt University of Berlin

The alma mater of influential thinkers like Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels placed 58th worldwide, meaning that this is Berlin’s best bet for students looking to find meaningful work in the cosmopolitan capital city after graduation.

THE calls Humboldt one of the most prestigious universities in Europe with a “world class reputation in arts and humanities.”

The institution’s academic clout is evidenced by the fact that it has educated no fewer than 29 Nobel prizewinners, THE writes, including a prize for physics, literature and economics.

6. Frankfurt School of Finance and Management


#FSBachelor BSc 2017 Snapchat / Instagram Competition ?This symbolizes Frankfurt for me: @bussesimon ? #ready4fs

A post shared by Frankfurt School (@frankfurtschool) on Sep 13, 2017 at 8:46am PDT

Is it any surprise that an institution dedicated to business and finance located in the country’s banking hub is considered to have highly employable graduates?

At number 64, up from 67 last year, the Frankfurt School is a fairly new institute compared to the other German ones on the list.

Established in 1957, the institution has come to be well regarded in Germany for its business administration and business IT programmes and its overall reputation has grown too.

“Graduates of this programme are also best prepared for starting successful careers,” said professor Udo Steffens when German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche named it the fourth best German university for business administration in 2015.

7. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Photo: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Ranking in 80th place, this university in the southern state of Baden-Würtemmberg beat out Michigan State University (81st) just by a nose. The school is also rather young, though it already had a history of research before its founding.

Established in 2009, the institute began as a merger of the University of Karlsruhe and the Karlsruhe Research Center.

Other previous THE world university rankings moreover show that KIT has fared well in areas additional to its likelihood of landing students a job; the university is highly regarded for its computer science programme and it's one of the top global institutions in the 2017 best young universities list.

8. University of Göttingen

Göttingen in Lower Saxony is known for being a historic yet student-friendly town and at number 87, up from 92 last year, it still makes it into the top 100 worldwide.

More than 40 Nobel Prize winners have conducted research, studied or taught at the university, and its prestige has helped to give the town the moniker of “city of science”.

Featuring a wide range of degree programmes, particularly in the humanities, the institute “prioritizes creativity” and students are “encouraged to engage in creative thinking as well as acquiring methodological knowledge,” writes THE.

9. Technical University of Berlin

Founded in 1879, the Technical University (TU) placed 89th in the global ranking.

It has a particular reputation for mechanical engineering and engineering management, as well as mathematics and chemistry.

TU Berlin also has a wealth of programmes on offer that, according to THE, specialize in the technical industry, such as process sciences, electrical engineering and transport systems.

It's also home to two innovation centres from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, and its science library of three million books and journals gives scholars and guests unlimited access.

10. Free University of Berlin (Freie Universität)

This institution is the only one on the list that has slightly dipped this year compared to last year.

Slipping to 120th place compared to 115th place in 2016, the university is nonetheless deemed one of the best across the country in producing the most employable graduates.

Established in 1948 at the beginning of the Cold War in west Berlin, the Free University boasts having employed professors who have won four Nobel Prizes in fields ranging from literature to economics.

Notable to mention as well is that one of the institution's libraries, the Philological Library, was designed in the shape of a human brain by internationally known Brtitish architect Norman Foster.

For members


Seven quirky things German parents do while raising their kids

It's common to romanticize the parenting techniques of other countries, but some tendencies of German Eltern can leave foreigners utterly confused.

Seven quirky things German parents do while raising their kids
File photo: DPA.

For full disclosure, I spent my first year in Germany as an au pair for a lovely German family in Berlin, so I often acted as a fly on the wall observing various German parents.

And while I could recognize many of their methods from my own American upbringing, there were certain rituals that gave me a bit of culture shock.

1. The vast amount of strange contraptions to transport little ones

Photo: DPA

Germans certainly can get creative when it comes to keeping their youngsters in tow. The precarious-looking buggies they have strapped to the front or back of their bikes still give me anxiety as I watch parents speed along busy city streets.

READ ALSO: An American parent in Germany, or how I learned to love the power tools

These surely must be safety risks? But alas I doubt police keep records of Fahrradanhänger-related injuries, so I cannot provide an answer.

2. Letting them play outside in freezing, awful weather

Perhaps this is just the impression of someone who grew up in warmer climates, but seeing German kids clambering around on playgrounds amid subzero temperatures and howling winds was quite a shock to me.

But parents here abide by the German saying: Es gibt kein schlechtes Wetter, es gibt nur falsche Kleidung. There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.

3. Impractical snow suits

Photo: DPA.

But despite what the Germans say about bad clothing, they apparently haven’t yet realized how awful and impractical those adorable one-piece snowsuits are. The target demographic for this garment – toddlers – are the worst choice for handling its fundamental restraints because they simply haven’t yet mastered bladder control. And still, come winter, this outfit is ubiquitous around schools and parks.

As soon as you hear that little desperate plea of ich muss pullern – I have to pee – you know it’s already a race to find the loo, and then you also have to unzip the snowsuit and take out the child’s arms before they can finally relieve themselves. Spoiler alert: that snowsuit often loses in the end and has to make a trip into the washer.

4. School ‘bags’ for their first day

Kids carrying their “school bags” in Dresden. Photo: DPA.

Honestly, I’m a bit more jealous of this ritual than baffled by it. Going off to that first day of Grundschule (primary school) is a much bigger deal in Germany than I remember it being for me in the US, and it’s tradition to give kids a Schultüte – school bag – to celebrate.

But the confusing thing about this “bag” is that it’s not actually any sort of bag or backpack as the name suggests, but rather a colourful cone filled with sweets and goodies.

SEE ALSO: Super cute things German kids do at primary school

5. Reading them very violent stories

Stories from the classic book Struwwelpeter. Photo: Peter/Flickr Creative Commons.

The first time I read the original German Brothers’ Grimm stories to the children I was babysitting, I found myself trying to censor the content. Especially when the kids asked me to translate the stories into English, I wondered whether that also should mean translating them through my American sensibilities.

From Hansel and Gretel being outright abandoned by their parents – rather than simply lost in the woods – to Snow White’s wicked queen being forced to dance herself to death, I struggled with reading these disturbing tales to such impressionable young minds.

And another German classic, Der Struwwelpeter, is no better. In it, one girl accidentally lights herself on fire and burns to death, a boy has his thumbs cut off with scissors, and another boy starves himself to death.

I’ll take the happy Disney endings instead, thank you.

SEE ALSO: Eight times Disney sugar-coated Germany’s cruel kids’ tales

6. Eating lunch exactly at noon

I suppose this one is just about Germans taking their term for lunch literally – Mittagessen literally means “noon meal”. At least it gives children some sense of a structured routine during the day.

Of course, getting kids to actually sit down right at noon is another story.

But the habit even seems to stick for adults, as you may notice with your German co-workers.

7. Not teaching them to read until age six

At least in the schools I attended in the US, it seemed there was a big push to get kids reading before age five and kindergarten.

But in Germany reading seems to be saved for when they first enter Grundschule at age six, with Kitas and Kindergartens careful not to focus too much on academics before then.

Still, getting a later start doesn’t seem to be having a negative impact: The latest PISA school performance report defined Germany as having a high share of “top performers” in reading.

8. Letting kids play near or with fireworks

Okay so this little one is still too young for even Germans to entrust with these fireworks, but the fact that this photo exists says something. Photo: DPA.

One of my closest German friend’s favourite childhood memories is setting off fireworks on New Year’s Eve. And now that she lives in the US where purchasing these explosive devices is more restrictive in certain regions, she’s especially excited to return to Germany to watch things explode.

I was taken aback here how casually these pyrotechnics are sold in abundance at supermarkets. And Germany even has a special classification of lower-risk fireworks for kids that can be purchased over the age of 12.

But perhaps the fact that Germans are comfortable with this – and not enough fingers go missing around the holidays for them to want to change things – reveals more about American parenting habits: we’re a bit too cautious.

So maybe it’s better to stand back a bit, let them launch explosives into the freezing air while wearing their snowsuits, and trust that kids have a little more instinctive common sense than we give them credit for.

A version of this article originally ran on March 20th, 2017.