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History

WU Today

100

thousand square meters of net floor area

A mod­ern cam­pus

Cam­pus WU is located in Vi­enna’s second dis­trict and con­sists of 6 build­ing com­plexes clustered around the Lib­rary & Learn­ing Center, the center­piece of the cam­pus. The cam­pus boasts mod­ern aud­it­or­i­ums with state-of-the-art equip­ment, Aus­tria’s largest busi­ness and eco­nom­ics lib­rary, plenty of work­sta­tions for inde­pend­ent study, and gen­er­ously sized PC labs. The build­ings on Cam­pus WU take up a total built-up area of 35,000 m².

22

thousand students

Bring­ing the world to Vi­enna

In­ter­na­tional stu­dents ac­count for over 27% of WU’s total stu­dent pop­u­la­tion or more than 1,000 stu­dents every year. They be­ne­fit from WU’s ex­tens­ive pro­gram port­fo­lio: two bach­elor’s pro­grams, eight Ger­man-taught and seven Eng­lish-taught mas­ter’s pro­grams, and five doc­toral and PhD pro­grams.

2300

faculty and staff members

Close co­oper­a­tion with the busi­ness com­munity

WU’s al­most 1600 re­search­ers, fac­ulty, and aca­demic staff mem­bers rep­res­ent a di­verse range of aca­demic dis­cip­lines, from busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion and eco­nom­ics to law, so­cial and formal sciences, and lin­guist­ics and lan­guage stud­ies. Thanks to their ex­cel­lent work, WU’s aca­demic out­put is highly regarded, both in the fields of fun­da­mental and ap­plied re­search.

>200

Partner universities

Vi­enna reach­ing out to the world

Three pres­ti­gi­ous in­ter­na­tional ac­cred­it­a­tions (EQUIS, AACSB, and AMBA) con­firm WU’s high qual­ity stand­ards. WU also has an ex­tens­ive net­work of re­spec­ted in­ter­na­tional part­ner uni­versit­ies, among them in­sti­tu­tions like the HEC Paris, Copen­ha­gen Busi­ness School, ESADE, Lon­don Busi­ness School or TUM School of Man­age­ment.

WU’s Past

1898: Found­a­tion

The in­sti­tu­tion that would later be­come today’s WU was foun­ded over 100 years ago on Oc­to­ber 1, 1898.

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In­nov­a­tion has a long tra­di­tion at WU. When the Im­per­ial Ex­port Academy, the in­sti­tu­tion that would later be­come today’s WU, was foun­ded in 1898, it was a com­pletely new type of higher edu­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tion, of­fer­ing a com­pre­hens­ive edu­ca­tion in the field of in­ter­na­tional trade. In ad­di­tion to com­mer­ce-re­lated sub­jects and the study of trade goods, the cur­riculum also in­cluded for­eign lan­guages, eco­nom­ics, eco­nomic geo­graphy, and pub­lic and private law. In 1917, the first fe­male gradu­ate com­pleted her stud­ies at the academy.

1919: The Uni­versity of World Trade

In 1919, the name of the in­sti­tu­tion was changed to Uni­versity of World Trade, and it also ad­op­ted a six-semester cur­riculum.

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It didn’t take long for the academy to out­grow its ori­ginal build­ing on Berggasse. Be­fore the start of WWI, a de­cision was made to con­struct a new build­ing in Vi­enna’s Währinger Park. The in­sti­tu­tion even­tu­ally moved to its new home in 1916.

There had already been plans to grant the academy the legal status of a uni­versity dur­ing the fi­nal years of the Habs­burg mon­archy. In 1919, the academy was trans­formed into a pub­lic uni­versity and its name changed to Uni­versity of World Trade (Hoch­schule für Welthan­del). Just like the Im­per­ial Ex­port Academy be­fore, the Uni­versity of World Trade also awar­ded a dip­loma to gradu­ates who com­pleted the in­sti­tu­tion’s six-semester pro­gram. As of 1930, gradu­ates re­ceived the aca­demic de­gree of “Dip­lomkaufmann,” pur­su­ant to a de­cree passed in the same year. In the field of com­mer­cial stud­ies, the uni­versity offered courses on in­ter­na­tional trade and bank­ing, com­ple­men­ted by eco­nom­ics and law. In 1930, the Uni­versity of World Trade was gran­ted the right to award doc­toral de­grees, which trans­formed it from a com­pletely teach­ing-ori­ented in­sti­tu­tion to a place of re­search.

1939-1945: Years un­der Nazi rule

The Uni­versity of World Trade did not re­main un­af­fected by the Na­tional So­cial­ist re­gime. Im­me­di­ately after the An­schluss to Nazi Ger­many, Aus­tria and its in­sti­tu­tions were sub­ject to Nazi law.

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The new Nazi laws had dire con­sequences, par­tic­u­larly for stu­dents who were regarded as “non-Aryan” un­der Nazi doc­trine and forced to leave the uni­versity im­me­di­ately. The uni­versity also ex­pelled fac­ulty mem­bers who ex­pressed dis­sent­ing polit­ical opin­ions or were con­sidered “non-Aryan.” Pro­fess­ors from Ger­man uni­versit­ies and Aus­trian aca­dem­ics known to be staunch Nazi sup­port­ers were brought in to re­place the ostra­cized teach­ers.

New, Ger­man-­style study reg­u­la­tions were ad­op­ted in the 1939 win­ter semester. Un­der the new cur­riculum, the aca­demic pro­gram taught had a dur­a­tion of six semesters but in­cluded only one ma­jor dip­loma ex­am­in­a­tion, which covered gen­eral busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion and spe­cial­iz­a­tions in busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion, eco­nom­ics, law, and an elect­ive. Aca­demic de­grees earned dur­ing the war years were re­cog­nized and re­mained valid after the end of the Nazi re­gime. The fac­ulty was de­pleted after the de­feat of the Ger­man Reich: No fewer than 60 pro­fess­ors, assist­ant pro­fess­ors, lec­tur­ers, and civil ser­vants were ex­pelled from the uni­versity be­cause they had been af­fil­i­ated with the Nazi re­gime, and the pro­fess­ors who had been brought in from Ger­man uni­versit­ies re­turned back home.

1946 and the fol­low­ing years: Re­turn to Aus­trian study reg­u­la­tions

In the 1946/47 win­ter semester, the Uni­versity of World Trade re­in­tro­duced the old Aus­trian study reg­u­la­tions and cur­riculum with their broad range of dif­fer­ent ex­am­in­a­tion sub­jects.

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One of the most im­port­ant changes was the re­turn to two man­dat­ory for­eign lan­guages, which had merely been vol­un­tary elect­ives dur­ing the war years. The stu­dents pre­ferred the Ger­man-­style cur­riculum, however, be­cause they found it less de­mand­ing.

In 1948 and the fol­low­ing years, the Uni­versity of World Trade star­ted cre­at­ing new chairs and re­search in­sti­tutes again. It re­mained the only Aus­trian uni­versity to of­fer de­gree pro­grams in busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion until 1966, when changes in Aus­tria’s polit­ical land­scape brought about re­forms in ter­tiary edu­ca­tion and new de­gree pro­grams in so­cial sciences, busi­ness, and eco­nom­ics were es­tab­lished at several other uni­versit­ies.

From that time on, the Uni­versity of World Trade offered four spe­cial­iz­a­tions: re­tail and trade (still avail­able ex­clus­ively at the Uni­versity of World Trade), busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion, eco­nom­ics, and busi­ness edu­ca­tion. Gradu­ates of the eight-semester pro­gram were awar­ded the de­gree of Ma­gister, and doc­toral gradu­ates re­ceived the title of doc­tor of so­cial and eco­nomic sciences.

1975: A new name: Wirtschaft­suni­versität Wien

As part of a re­struc­tur­ing of the Aus­trian uni­versity sys­tem, the in­sti­tu­tion was re­named Wirtschaft­suni­versität Wien (WU, Vi­enna Uni­versity of Eco­nom­ics and Busi­ness) in 1975.

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Fur­ther re­forms brought about ad­di­tional changes: Fol­low­ing the ad­op­tion of the Aus­trian Uni­versit­ies Act 2002 (Uni­versitäts­ge­setz), WU be­came a pub­lic uni­versity with full legal autonomy and au­thor­ity to make its own de­cisions. With the found­a­tion of the ZBP Ca­reer Center in 1983, WU was the first Aus­trian uni­versity to es­tab­lish its own ca­reer center to help stu­dents get off to a good start in the job mar­ket. In the years fol­low­ing 2005, WU once again played a pi­on­eer­ing role: It in­tro­duced a new or­gan­iz­a­tional struc­ture based on de­part­ments and was the first uni­versity in Aus­tria to im­ple­ment the Bologna ar­chi­tec­ture in all of its de­gree pro­grams, trans­form­ing its dip­loma pro­grams into bach­elor’s and mas­ter’s pro­grams.

2007: EQUIS ac­cred­it­a­tion – an in­ter­na­tional seal of qual­ity

In Feb­ru­ary 2007, WU re­ceived the pres­ti­gi­ous EQUIS (European Qual­ity Im­prove­ment Sys­tem) ac­cred­it­a­tion from the renowned EFMD (European Found­a­tion for Man­age­ment Devel­op­ment).

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The EQUIS ac­cred­it­a­tion came as the most pres­ti­gi­ous in­ter­na­tional dis­tinc­tion WU had re­ceived up until that point and made WU the first Aus­trian uni­versity to join the el­ite circle of EQUIS-ac­cred­ited schools. Aside from WU, only three other uni­versit­ies from the Ger­man-speak­ing area were EQUIS ac­cred­ited at the time (Uni­versity of Man­nheim, WHU Otto Beisheim School of Man­age­ment, Uni­versity of St. Gal­len).

2013: WU moves to a new cam­pus next to Vi­enna’s Prater Park

After just four years of con­struc­tion, WU’s new, mod­ern cam­pus with ap­prox. 90,000 m² of net floor area was com­pleted on a piece of land between the Messe Wien ex­hib­i­tion grounds and the Prater Park in 2013.

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The cent­ral build­ing, the Lib­rary & Learn­ing Center, is sur­roun­ded by six build­ing com­plexes designed by in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned ar­chi­tects. 35,000 m² of the cam­pus area is built up, the re­main­ing 55,000 m² are pub­licly ac­cess­ible grounds.

Cam­pus WU is a unique uni­versity cam­pus that provides an ideal en­vir­on­ment for study­ing and teach­ing. 25,000 stu­dents and 1,500 teach­ers, re­search­ers and ad­min­is­trat­ive staff study and work on Cam­pus WU.

2015: Triple ac­cred­it­a­tion

At­tain­ing a place as one of the world’s top busi­ness and eco­nom­ics uni­versit­ies has al­ways been a high pri­or­ity at WU. With its pres­ti­gi­ous triple in­ter­na­tional ac­cred­it­a­tion, WU has achieved this goal.

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Fewer than 1% of uni­versit­ies world­wide can claim triple ac­cred­it­a­tion by EQUIS, AACSB, and AMBA, the three most well-re­spec­ted ac­cred­it­a­tion agen­cies. WU is one of only two uni­versit­ies in the Ger­man-speak­ing world to belong to this ex­clus­ive group of schools.