University of St.Gallen (HSG) MBF 2014 intake : MS Finance
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# University of St.Gallen (HSG) MBF 2014 intake

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University of St.Gallen (HSG) MBF 2014 intake [#permalink]

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10 Nov 2013, 08:24
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Look before you leap info for all applicants.
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10 Nov 2013, 08:29
Hello people,

I am here to dispel the myths and set things right for all the applicants of the MBF 2014 at University of St Gallen.

There is a lot of ambiguity in the data related to post completion statistics. Please refer this thread before you go ahead and waste 300CHF in applying.
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10 Nov 2013, 08:38
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FIrst the Good:

1] MBF at HSG (Pronounced 'Ha ess gay' ) or HSG in general is the Harvard, MIT, LBS, CBS etc all put together and more in the German speaking world. Let me re-iterate the most important part "IN THE GERMAN SPEAKING WORLD"

2] HSG Banking days is an event where the who's who of Investment banking, private banking, commercial banking come down to campus to conduct interviews and workshops. Dont believe me check this out www(dot)bankingdays(dot)unisg(dot)ch

3] The courses are intensive more specifically math intensive but then what do you expect from a top notch school which has a class avg gmat score of like 700+

4] Students are competitive and the learning environment is serious

5] 10 pm during the semester break , the library is full. people study in the cafeteria!

6] Overall semester plan is flexible subject to few constraints
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11 Nov 2013, 06:40
Hey Snowden,
I am also looking to apply to MBF program for 2014 intake. I thank you for sharing with us a very important insight about the school. Can you throw some light on the job opportunities for international students ( those who don't know German) after completing this course.
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11 Nov 2013, 09:48
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The Bad
Let me be clearly as objective as possible. For my analysis I assume the whole and sole objective of all applicants to this program is to start a career in finance with a great workplace. I believe everything is just preparation towards this objective. Be it slogging for GMAT/GRE/TOEFL , working on the coursework once admitted, adjusting to a new place and so on. If you disagree and believe your only objective is learning, well, I can only say a decision to be at HSG(University of St Gallen) is not a bad choice after all and you might as well stop reading the following post.
Now I divide the student population (Since I don’t have any info about the applicant population)into 4 major categories. See in which category you fall into and then read further. Hopefully it saves you much time 
1] Swiss Citizen – Speaks German, French, English etc
2] German Citizen – Speaks German, English etc
3] EU-8 Citizen – Speaks German, English + Native language (ex Spanish, French, Italian etc)
4] European Citizen (Schengen + Russia + UK) – Speaks German, English + Native language
5] European Citizen (Schengen + Russia + UK) – Does not speak German, Speaks English and Native language
6] Non European – from developed countries ( USA, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Japan, HK) Only English
25] Non European – from developing countries speaks german and English
100..] Non European – from developing countries speaks only English

Category 1 : Congratulations, you are at the right place. Go ahead and apply, the world sorry Switzerland is your Oyster.

Category 2 : The majority of the students belong to this category. So you are never out of place. You get interviews, workshops etc on par with the Swiss, no hassles at all.

Category 3 : You are at a competitive advantage compared to you compatriots but not so much here. Looking for opportunities in Switzerland is tough but then given the clout of the alumni network you can often find opportunities in the country of your origin

Category 4 : Similar reasoning as category 3

Category 5 : When compared to your fellow citizens in category 3 you are infinitely disadvantaged. But then the degree is valuable and focusing on the home geography advantage is a good bet.

Category 6 : Seriously? You left the Berkleys, NY sterns, Rotmans of the world to be here full-time? Well then, seems like you want adventure and you don’t care much about the career point of view. Also coming from a society with higher social security, why should you? Cant tell you much..on your own..

Category 25 : Ha, so you spotted that the sequence was wrong? But then it was intentional. You will now see why. “Ich gratuliere dich uber ihre deutsch.” You know what I am talking about. You are a rare breed, you know german and English and possible an important native language( Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin). There are few very very niche positions available. But the problem is they are only few and far far far between. Also the hassles of work permit are only growing more and more harsher. I know its tough enough to learn a difficult language devoid of beautiful little things called the vowels and even more so when you come to know that nationality does play its part.
The most important point is that you may know german as a language but not the culture( I am making a guess about the cultural aspect but lets go with it) Most jobs are front ending ones. Unlike the backoffice operations kind of roles in your home countries(making a lot of assumptions here, pardon me ) . Front offices rely more on the so called ‘goodness of fit’ rather than raw talent or skill. They want to know if the team as a whole likes you as a person and feels rather comfortable with you ( no regards to how you feel about them  ) This, you might term it subtle racism or strong nationalism or whatever. But this is the reality. There is no changing it. European organisational structure is very close knit unlike the American structure. The close knit nature is almost incestuous and thick. All in all its your call.

Category 100] If brevity is wit, I have four words “ JUST DON’T DO IT”
Seriously speaking I empathise with this group the most. No interviews, no workshops either. Job fair meetings with all companies last 30 seconds max. Here is how it goes:

C100 guy : Hello, I am C100
Xyz co : Hello Ich heisse xyz, ghjkdlk dlfkjakjdwrt gflkjsbnxcdljfjt
C100 guy : Sorry, I don’t speak German
Xyz co : Oh, Sorry. We are looking fur die persons who is a speaks die Deutsch
C100 guy : Are there any positions in any other Geographies?
Xyz co : Yess,yess of course. Pleasse go to die internet,you are finding all die coutriess and apply.
C100 guy : thank you. Nice talking to you.
Xyz co : Auf wieder..err. good day! Here take this candy

Once again the companies recruiting here are mostly for positions which are front ending or lead to front ending roles. Talent here is ubiquitous. What can you bring to the table which is not already there? I can agree if you tell me you are a gold medallist in the math Olympiad. But then, I come back at you why the heck did you not go to USA or other english speaking dev countries? where meritocracy and yearning for profit rules above all forms of pride and prejudice.
If your plan to circumvent this situation is to learn german on the side…I see that it is futile. The course work is heavy. People would be happy to pass this course in the designated 3 semesters. Which is, trust me, is quite a big achievement. And of course the course is flexible, giving you 4 years or 8 semesters to pass it, but then coming from a developing country Switzerland is not a very affordable place to be. It is ridiculously expensive and not value for money. It is just expensive for expensive sake. Converting your very hard earned undervalued currency into the most overvalued currency (refer big Mac Index)to spend on inflated prices is not smart. Look elsewhere.
I know the issues for category 100 are many, and I would take questions later but in summary I would suggest as mentioned before , don’t do it. Not worth it AT ALL

Disclaimer : All the statements made above are true. If you feel otherwise. Please feel free to do your own research. I am sure our results will not differ.

Last edited by snowden on 11 Nov 2013, 15:10, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: University of St.Gallen (HSG) MBF 2014 intake [#permalink]

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11 Nov 2013, 10:39
Solid thread bro; appreciate the candor.

Do you have any info on the MBA program, and its ability (or lack of) to get category 6 folks opportunities in Switzerland?
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11 Nov 2013, 11:27
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Blax0r wrote:
Solid thread bro; appreciate the candor.

Do you have any info on the MBA program, and its ability (or lack of) to get category 6 folks opportunities in Switzerland?

As I said in the 'Bad' post why leave home and take a very big chance. Let me illustrate. i shuffle a deck of cards and then ask you to pick one. If its an ace you get a career start in Switzerland else you have to go back home with no job . will you dare? Try this, go to a decent pub in NYC ( I assume you are from the US based on ur location desc) tell people that you are a graduate from St Gallen. I bet that 99/100 will think its some sort of school for rich snobs in the hills. Brand recognition and hence brand equity is one of the key take away from any program. When the brand is endemic and not global and conversely you are not local within the region where it is recognised, I see no argument in taking this up.

I see that your list of target schools are well stocked. All the best.

Final words : If you still want to come to switzerland ( for personal reasons) I suggest get into a good US b school and take an exchange sem to HSG. I bet (if i am still around here) you will thank me by treating me to a couple of shots of tequila (currently costs 15CHF each )
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Re: University of St.Gallen (HSG) MBF 2014 intake [#permalink]

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11 Nov 2013, 11:56
snowden wrote:

As I said in the 'Bad' post why leave home and take a very big chance. Let me illustrate. i shuffle a deck of cards and then ask you to pick one. If its an ace you get a career start in Switzerland else you have to go back home with no job . will you dare? Try this, go to a decent pub in NYC ( I assume you are from the US based on ur location desc) tell people that you are a graduate from St Gallen. I bet that 99/100 will think its some sort of school for rich snobs in the hills. Brand recognition and hence brand equity is one of the key take away from any program. When the brand is endemic and not global and conversely you are not local within the region where it is recognised, I see no argument in taking this up.

I see that your list of target schools are well stocked. All the best.

Final words : If you still want to come to switzerland ( for personal reasons) I suggest get into a good US b school and take an exchange sem to HSG. I bet (if i am still around here) you will thank me by treating me to a couple of shots of tequila (currently costs 15CHF each )

Yep, if I get into one of my target MBA programs this year, I'm definitely looking to do a semester at HSG or LBS, and will gladly do some shots haha.

But, can I assume that your advice for MBF students applies to MBA students?
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11 Nov 2013, 12:33
yes. can safely be extended. Given that MBF is the flagship program of the Uni while MBA isnt. In fact, i am sure this can apply to all continental European schools. ( Very few exceptions like some french and dutch schools). Only place it doesnt work is when somebody is targeting to do masters in technology in germany....but then, that is not the topic of this thread.
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11 Nov 2013, 13:50
I belong to category 5, I am spanish without any knowledge of german language, even though I am willing to learn it. I am doubtful if I should aim to RSM or ESADE rather than St Gallen. You scared me with "it is a big achievement to pass it in 3 semesters". I would know if I could break into Swiss' financial labour market or this MSc would be well recognized in Spain or UK.

Thank you.
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Re: University of St.Gallen (HSG) MBF 2014 intake [#permalink]

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11 Nov 2013, 15:05
@Stoxxyy First, what I said is not an exaggeration. The big achievement I am talking about is only Finishing the 72 credits ( assuming you have no supplementary credits). I left out the dreaded master thesis. It is worth 18 credits. HSG standard is 1 credit = 90 hours of study. So 18 credits implies 18x90 = 1620! hours..to give some perspective you can pass all 3 CFA levels with this kind of effort as prescribed by the CFA Institute

Next, the Swiss labour market is getting tough overall. Refer the tightening work permit laws from the Swiss gov website.

Finally opportunities in outside Swiss..hmm this seeming tough question is the easiest. Refer page 15 of this document www(dot)unisg(dot)ch/en/Studium/Master/~/media/04607D793E8448B789FDCDA68393378A(dot)ashx it is the official brochure. there you can clearly see that 80% of the people placed are placed in Switzerland, surprisingly this number is the number of German speakers!!!(upto cat 4) others are split as follows..9% Germany,6% UK, 2%Liechtenstein, 2% austria, 1% russia (i hate this number..1%of a batch of 100 means like 1 russian guy went home and found a job on his own no thanks to the career services)...Evidently as you can see 0%Spain..Sorry friend this is the truth.

I suggest go on fb and find the hsg mbf group, there are a few spaniards on it. talk to them and make an informed decision.
All the best.
- Snowden
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12 Nov 2013, 10:40
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The ugly truth :

From my posts titles the good and the bad you should have sort of expected this already.
If you had read my previous above mentioned posts you would ponder over these questions atleast at the back of your mind. Let me summarise those into this one below:
1] Since most (80%+) of the placements happen within Switzerland which require atleast german (Schweiser Deutsch even better) then why do so many international students throng this institute?
2] The Swiss government by law allows for only 25% foreign students enrolled in the university then how come there are so many international students?
3] The placement brochure and at several places in the official website the statement about placement says that about 100% of the students get placed within 3 months of graduating, so where is the problem?
4] It was ranked 5 in 2012 by FT..ok it dropped to 10 in 2013 but it aint so bad afterall , whats the fuss?

I will attempt to answer these questions not sequentially but in the form of a lengthy argument. Since I feel these questions are inter-related to each other. Please take the data, and the arguments posed by me and critically analyse them and make your decision after all the decision maker and the owner is YOU.

Firstly the answer in brief for all questions is one word “RANKINGS”. It is this end that is being chased at the cost of almost everything. One good thing is the chase for rankings can yield change within an institution which by nature can be good. But then the changes only at the superficial level without change happening at the systemic level will yield only short term results.

Let me zoom back in time when HSG was no where in the rankings that’s about a decade ago. I mean across any course or metric. Then the so called Bologna process happened. The Germanic setting and lack of internationality seriously weakened the University’s ranking prospects. Internationalisation was impossible per se because of the 25% ceiling. This needed drastic steps. The Swiss universities needed a place under the ranking sun. No matter what. There was a key weakness that was exploited by these universities in general and University of St gallen has been a champion at it.

“The rankings are given per course and not for the university as a whole.”
So, simple solution. Open few courses to international students with percentage greater than 25% and close doors on certain obscure courses so that the overall % of international students remains sweetly below 25%. This is a fact.

So, % of international students in the MBF program
2011 40%,
in 2012 47%
in 2013 it is as high as 84%!
Internationality check. Rankings here we come.

There are two reasons why St gallen ranks higher than it probably should. One is value for money. The fees is low about 1000 CHF in 2011, 2000 CHF in 2012 and expected to be 3000+CHF in 2014 (all amounts per semester). So you have a lower base no matter what the salary might turn out to be. What is ignored by most students is the super high cost of living. My favourite comparison is the doner kebab. In neighbouring germany a doner costs 3 euros in a decent place. Here it is a ridiculous 15 CHF or about 12 euros. So it is 4 times as expensive as expensive germany! This is not taken into consideration in the rankings.

Second is placement success. It has apparently never gone below 100% according to the official communication channels of the university. This is sadly a very very big lie. Here is my argument. A 23-25 year old graduate with a degree gets no job through the university’s career services or in the open Swiss job market. He/she goes back to his/her native country and finds one within 90 days. It is possible 100% of the time, the reason is that the admission criteria is biased, class average GMAT is 710! So these blokes(female for bloke?) are smart and will find a job inspite of the course not because of it. The ugly part is the program shouts from the roof tops that it is their achievement.

Ok you don’t buy my argument so far. Good. I will seal my case with the points below.

This is a pre-experience masters. Which means that majority of the program participants have no prior relevant experience. This means that internship plays a major part in getting placements. In fact several top notch I banks and private equity firms and also consulting firms often prefer this route instead of giving spot offers or so called lateral hiring. It makes sense as lateral hiring happens only in post experience masters. So internships are the absolute key to crack any job market, in Switzerland more so. So here are the numbers.

Percentage of students with internships as part of the masters program:
2011 – 63%
2012 – 57%
2013 – 58%

Here is my knockout punch the sum of percentage of international students and percentage of students with internships is ~ 100%!!! This is it. Take a deep breath, Let it sink in.
( 2013 data is again the same fraudulent reporting. 3 months of break for international students,so most go home to save money. They do some reports and other stuff for small start-ups in their home country. This is later reported as an internship by the career services folks). It simply means international students are on their own. No value add from the university in terms of finding internships.

In summary, the University and the program specifically needs international students only to spice up their rankings and break into the league of big boys of the west. To lure them, the communication and the sales pitch of the program starts from the rankings and most international students fall for it. This combined with no alternative source of information in English language forums makes the decision not so well informed. Finally the cost factor plays a huge role. Admittedly this place is way cheaper than HEC paris. But then these two are worlds or even universes apart. The sick thing is that they buy these rank increasing factors ( poor international students) at a negative price, i.e. the students self finance their doom ( tongue in cheek).

The benefits brought in by these poor international students is reaped by the German/Swiss students by means of earning a degree from a better ranked university , all thanks(but no thanks, seriously, this is my fatherland what do you expect ? ) to the international students .

Disclaimer : All numbers are based on FT data for the MBF program. Can be extended to other so called ‘international’ programs as well. The most funny is the SIM (strategy and international management)program. It is ranked number 1. It has like 1 and only 1 person from every country…wtf..
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Re: University of St.Gallen (HSG) MBF 2014 intake [#permalink]

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14 Nov 2013, 15:24
Snow den. Thanks for the great insight. Which category do you belong to among the list you have devised. Apologies if it is outrightly blatant, but just inquisitive to gauge whether there is any speck of bias.

Honestly speaking no offence intended. Your account is stellar, but it would be great to know your experience as first, second or third person.
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14 Nov 2013, 16:15
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irda wrote:
Snow den. Thanks for the great insight. Which category do you belong to among the list you have devised. Apologies if it is outrightly blatant, but just inquisitive to gauge whether there is any speck of bias.

Honestly speaking no offence intended. Your account is stellar, but it would be great to know your experience as first, second or third person.

hi irda, I have consciously tried to keep the content and tone neutral so that my feelings and emotions dont come into play. If you re-read all three of my posts, I have segmented it such that the right message goes to the right audience . It goes from welcoming german/french speaking people to cautioning others.

to answer your question truthfully. I belong to category 5. My account is first hand. Will penn down my personal experiences in this thread @some point in time in the future.

I felt cheated when i had this realisation. My career has sort of hit the wall, and felt the genuine need to caution others. If i had access to this kind of information i would have thought twice before coming here.

Final thoughts, I have laid out information out there. Do your own check. call up career services here at the university. call the program directors. Take/ask replies in writing. Dont feel shy to boldly say you WANT A CAREER IN FINANCE IN WESTERN EUROPE and ask them how will this help you. ask them to give you references of previous students (alums) from your region . you are giving this uni the most valuable thing in the world. your youth! you do masters only once in your life(well mostly)...its a more unique life changing decision than marriage. Dont be naive.

My namesake Snowden is my inspiration. this is my contribution towards the movement against systemic lies..
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14 Nov 2013, 16:39
I hope that I haven't offended your feelings. Your conviction to assist others from ground zero is commendable. I asked for your reference frame such that I can merely compare your experience with the experience that someone like me who hails from category 100 might face if he or she decides to dwell in false news.

No wonder, the lower an individual's country is in your list, the more gruesome the experience can become in terms of employ-ability; Nevertheless,the returns in academic prowess gained along the cost to knowledge axes would not be comparably gruesome as that of no job at all for a good few months or infact more.

Although, at the end life is not predictable, but yes bad planning is almost preventable.

I hope that people are cautiously optimistic after reading your anecdote, and take as a caveat.

If you don't mind me asking, how is the job situation in your home country? Since in Europe St Gallen is probably known.
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15 Nov 2013, 02:56
Thank you for this threat, snowden. I have been considering St. Gallen for my MSc degree even since I started my research towards that goal. I think that knowledge of German is essential. Otherwise there are better opportunities for this price range and below. Nevertheless, an eye-opener! Thanks again.
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Re: University of St.Gallen (HSG) MBF 2014 intake [#permalink]

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16 Nov 2013, 10:35
Hey snowden,

I understand that you feel bad that you could not find a job in Switzerland or other German speaking country for that matter.
However, I am certain that this is all your fault. I mean, it is unreasonable to expect to work in a country if you dont know that language of that country ? If you work for a big international company and they send you to work in a division in a foreign country, it is different. But to expect to find a full time employment in a country in which you dont know the language, it is unreasonable. And actually I think you do a good job informing people about it.
I believe if you go to St. Gallen with a decent lvl of German, say B2, and enroll in German language classes, and even some classes in the universities in which German is the language of instruction and combine these with the fact that you actually live in Switzerland and live with German speakers, I dont see how can be a problem to learn German to a level which is enough to get a job...
But generally I agree that if you dont know German and if you dont plan to learn it while there, a Ms from any German speaking country will be pointless.
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Re: University of St.Gallen (HSG) MBF 2014 intake [#permalink]

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16 Nov 2013, 11:11
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Ivan91 wrote:
Hey snowden,

I understand that you feel bad that you could not find a job in Switzerland or other German speaking country for that matter.
However, I am certain that this is all your fault. I mean, it is unreasonable to expect to work in a country if you dont know that language of that country ? If you work for a big international company and they send you to work in a division in a foreign country, it is different. But to expect to find a full time employment in a country in which you dont know the language, it is unreasonable. And actually I think you do a good job informing people about it.
I believe if you go to St. Gallen with a decent lvl of German, say B2, and enroll in German language classes, and even some classes in the universities in which German is the language of instruction and combine these with the fact that you actually live in Switzerland and live with German speakers, I dont see how can be a problem to learn German to a level which is enough to get a job...
But generally I agree that if you dont know German and if you dont plan to learn it while there, a Ms from any German speaking country will be pointless.

Hi Ivan91,
thanks for the reply.
your confidence in attributing the fault 100% to me is humorous to put it gently.
If you re-read my posts you will see that the message is about the uncomfortable truths that the University is hiding and hence deceiving the International student.

The offcial brochure says 100% placements in bold...can there be a bigger lie???In the states this would have lead to lawsuits!

Based on your prescription It logically follows to conduct the course in German. Which the University will never do because it will go down on the RANKINGS.

So long story short, International students get cheated out of the opportunities and loose confidence in their potential due to trivial German centricity in an Anglicised world.

ps: your last sentence captures the essence "if you dont know German and if you dont plan to learn it while there, a Ms from any German speaking country will be pointless"
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Re: University of St.Gallen (HSG) MBF 2014 intake [#permalink]

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16 Nov 2013, 14:30
snowden wrote:
The offcial brochure says 100% placements in bold...can there be a bigger lie???In the states this would have lead to lawsuits!

Well, I cannot get the point really. The official brochures states that 100% got placed and 100% got placed...in different countries. The brochure does not claim that all have been placed in the German speaking countries.

Switzerland - 80%
Germany - 9%
Austria - 2%
Liechtenstein - 2%
Total - 93%

93% of all graduates have been placed in German speaking countries
. To me this is good enough. I am sure that less than 93% of all students who started were German speakers, meaning that there are certainly many non-German speakers who got placed in German speaking countries.
Not to mention that there is a chance that the remaining 7% of all graduates got offers for a position in a German speaking country but decided not to take it and go home for a number of reasons - economical and/or personal.
Not to mention that, according to the report, 6% got placed in London, which debunks the myth that HSG only places in German speaking countries.

P.S
In the States everything can lead to a lawsuit They shouldnt be the benchmark :D
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Re: University of St.Gallen (HSG) MBF 2014 intake [#permalink]

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16 Nov 2013, 15:07
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Ivan91 wrote:
snowden wrote:
The offcial brochure says 100% placements in bold...can there be a bigger lie???In the states this would have lead to lawsuits!

Well, I cannot get the point really.

Hi Ivan91..This is the lie I was referring to. I have dissected the numbers already in my post titled "the Ugly truth".

I dont know if you are a student at UniSg. But if you are, please go to the career services and get this clarified.

The stats are of only the people who got placed!!!Not the entire batch!!!
Re: University of St.Gallen (HSG) MBF 2014 intake   [#permalink] 16 Nov 2013, 15:07

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# University of St.Gallen (HSG) MBF 2014 intake

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