2 in 1: Master’s study programme and career start in a single package

Earn money, gain practical experience, and earn a Master’s degree – HOFER has a solution to make it happen

Undecided whether to start your career or earn an advanced degree? At HOFER, we offer a dual Master’s study programme for Area Managers who want to earn a Master’s degree. Combine theory and practice in this one-of-a-kind educational programme in Austria.

Study programme – practical and thorough

Students of the International Retail Management programme receive a high-powered education in an ALDI class of their own at the prestigious ESB Business School of Reutlingen University near Stuttgart, Germany. The limited number of programme openings ensures a personal working atmosphere with plenty of networking opportunities. Since the classes are integrated into the training plan for Area Managers, students can apply their theoretical insights directly to practical situations.

The initial introduction to the company and the management tasks of HOFER Area Managers is followed by the first of a total of eight classroom phases at Reutlingen University. Each of the two-week classroom phases, which are held in regular intervals, cover special modules of International Retail Management, partly in English. The semester starts in October.

During the subsequent practical phases, Area Managers apply their knowledge in the HOFER regional offices. Participants write their Master’s thesis in the fourth semester  and graduate with a Master of Arts in International Retail Management.


In addition to personal qualifications, the following academic prerequisites must be met to be accepted into the dual Master’s study programme:

  • Bachelor degree in an economic field, ideally with 210 ECTS
  • or a completed graduate degree in economics
  • average marks of first study programme below 2.5 (based on university calculation system)
  • excellent language skills in German and English

Focus on personality

We use clearly defined criteria for selecting the most qualified candidates. In addition to academic prerequisites for the study program, we prioritise a fitting personality profile for our managers. Which characteristics should you have as a future Area Manager?

  • team leadership and motivation skills
  • excellent communication skills and cooperation abilities
  • reliable and outcome-oriented work methods
  • entrepreneurial, innovative and integrated outlook
  • full commitment and flexibility, international background a plus

In addition to the interview with the Management team, candidates will have an admissions interview with a representative of ESB Business School at Reutlingen University. HOFER will provide organisational support from the application to the start of the study programme.

Benefits at a glance

  • permanent position as Area Manager with integrated study programme
  • intensive support with the organisation of the Master’s study programme
  • specialised university classes with focus on retail
  • earn Master of Arts in International Retail Management
  • company covers tuition fees 
  • attractive compensation
  • top-tier technical equipment with iPhone and company vehicle (e.g. BMW 3 series)*
  • management training and Master’s degree in a single package

*for professional and private use

Questions and answers on the dual Master’s study programme

Based on this one-of-a-kind innovative academic programme and the parallel opportunity to acquire extensive retail knowledge, participants of the dual Master’s study programme receive an excellent foundation for their future career. Practical experience and a dependable monthly salary are just two of the many advantages this position offers.

The study programme and the parallel work obligations take about 24 months or four semesters. You complete your exams in the first three semesters, while the fourth semester is dedicated to writing your Master’s thesis.

The dual Master’s study programme efficiently combines theory and practice.

During the practical phases, students of the dual programme undergo intensive on-the-job training as Area Managers in one of our six regional offices in Austria. In the beginning you will shadow an Area Manager to learn the work processes in stores and the regional office.

The theoretical modules will be taught at the international ESB Business School in Reutlingen near Stuttgart, Germany. The classroom phase comprises five modules (Retail Fundamental, Soft Skills, Leadership and Retail Processes, Advanced Skills and International Retail as well as Project-based Learning), some of which are taught in English.

The theoretical phases are offered as block programmes at ESB Business School. These modules are integrated into the trainee programme for an optimum combination of theory and practice.

Graduates earn a "Master of Arts in International Retail Management".

We will provide you with a list of accommodation close to the university at negotiated prices. The selection and organisation is your own responsibility.

HOFER covers the cost of tuition and provides a Routex petrol card to fuel up in Austria and Germany for the duration of the study programme. Programme participants will arrange and pay for their own accommodation, but can benefit from a list of pre-negotiated properties.

Applications should be submitted to HOFER about six months prior to the desired programme start.

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