The Department of Business Administration at the University of Zurich is one of the leading research and teaching facilities in the German-speaking world. Its areas of expertise encompass all aspects of business administration, including accounting, entrepreneurship, management, marketing, operations research, organization and strategy. Our approach is interdisciplinary, drawing from management studies, economics, psychology, sociology, and political sciences. The department offers cutting-edge study programs leading to bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees. As part of its commitment to the community, the department offers access to scientific findings, publications, and expertise that are relevant to management practices, economics, politics, and society as a whole.
As the faculty’s mission statement underscores, we encourage the development of scientific skills, creative thinking and ethical reflection, and foster self-reliance and flexibility in our students. Our graduates emerge fully qualified for international careers as specialists or executives in the areas of science, economics and politics, and are equipped with the skills to compete successfully with graduates of leading universities worldwide. We are proud to attest that our alumni undertake their roles in the global economy in a responsible manner and take into account the economic, social, and environmental consequences of their decisions.
The idea of creating an educational center for business administration in Zurich was first introduced in the late 19th century. It came to fruition in 1903, when the Chair for Commercial Studies (Handelswissenschaften) was established – the first ever in a German-speaking country. At around the same time, the Department of Commercial Studies (Handelswissenschaftliches Seminar) was established, and over the years it evolved into today’s Department of Business Administration. In its early days, the department mainly focused on accounting because commercial studies were initially a niche area of economics. The Chair for Operations Research was established in 1958, and the Department of Business Administration was established in 1967. A little later, in 1968, the Swiss Institute of Banking and Finance was created, which today constitutes a separate department.
The Institute for Research in Business Administration (Institut für betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung) was launched in 1970 to enhance management research. An explicit decision was made not to restrict research to particular fields or even specific research programs. In addition to promoting research, from the outset the institute was committed to making research results available to private companies and public administration. In 1972, when the Institute’s doctoral degree regulations were implemented, business administration as a field of study attained the same status as economics.
The form and content of the courses offered have continuously been developed and updated since then, and business administration as a field of study has become increasingly specialized. Over the course of the institute’s ongoing modernization, the Department of Commercial Studies (Handelswissenschaftliche Seminar) was renamed the Institute of Accounting (1996) while the Institute for Research in Business Administration (Institut für betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung) was split into an Institute for Strategy and Business Economics and an Institute of Organization and Administrative Science at the end of 2003. Our new Department of Business Administration was created in the context of the latest reorganization of our faculty in January 2011, replacing and integrating the former Institute of Operations Research, the Institute of Organization and Administrative Sciences, the Institute of Accounting, and the Institute for Strategy and Business Economics.