German business education with an Irish twist

Set up in 2006 by Dubliner Susan Walsh, the Globe Business College in Munich is fostering Irish-Bavarian business relations

If Ireland is serious about beefing up its post-Brexit engagement with Germany, then Munich’s Globe Business College is a good place to start.

Founded in 2006 by Dubliner Susan Walsh, the private institution housed in an art deco building has become a fixture of the business and political life of the booming Bavarian capital.

And with each passing year, it grows its cohort of business graduates who can straddle the Irish and German business traditions.

“Germans are brilliantly efficient and rational, the Irish are good at thinking on their feet, and we try to produce graduates who can do both,” said Dr Walsh.


“We try to give our international students that innate ability the Irish have, and often aren’t even aware of, to relate to people quickly and work with them.”

As well as with her enthusiastic graduates, her winning formula has clicked with students’ parents. Many are business owners from the so-called Mittelstand – the family-owned business backbone of the German economy.

Long after Michael Grodd graduated from Globe he remains actively involved, alongside his role as global sales head at telecoms giant Gigaset, with turnover of nearly €300 million in 2017.

‘Modern, agile’

“The image of Ireland we have in Germany is of a modern, agile ... digital and optimistic place,” he said, “and Globe College encapsulates this perfectly.”

While Globe attracts students from all over the world many, enthused by their time with Dr Walsh, have gone on to study in Ireland.

German-Swiss man Soren Sinz is now doing an information systems research doctorate in Trinity College Dublin.

“What I liked about the Irish approach here was nurturing students, the personal touch, you don’t get that elsewhere,” he said.

It was Dr Walsh’s contacts and initiative that saw Tánaiste Simon Coveney invited to address Bavaria’s Foreign Affairs association last week.

His tight schedule and bad weather meant Mr Coveney missed his chance to address 600 leading business people, politicians and academics in the prosperous southern German state.

But Dr Walsh and the Munich Irish remain convinced Bavaria will be a fertile ground to put into practice a new bilateral strategic partnership report.

‘An Irish touch’

As well as educating students from dozens of countries, Globe College offers “Golden Tickets” to Irish students: allowing them visit Munich in the summer and get a taste of life and education in the Bavarian capital.

“This isn’t an Irish college, it’s an international college embedded in the German system but with an Irish touch,” said Dr Walsh.

Considering the Government review prioritises education and research exchange with Germany, well-placed Bavarian officials see Globe Business College and its founder as providing a crucial blueprint and jumping-off point – if Dublin is really interested.

"The Irish have this power and ability to get things done with people," said Dr Horst Mahr, director of Bavaria's Foreign Affairs Association. "And Dr Walsh is one reason why Irish-Bavarian relations develop in such a positive way."

Derek Scally

Derek Scally

Derek Scally is an Irish Times journalist based in Berlin