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Sun Yat-Sen EMBA students visit WHU Campus Düsseldorf

Two groups from the Sun Yat-sen University visited the campus of the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in Düsseldorf in September and October. A total of 53 students from the EMBA at Sun-Yat-sen University participated in a Customized Executive Education Program on the topic of Industry 4.0. In addition to lectures and company visits on this subject, the participants learned about innovation and Hidden Champions in Germany as well as the EURO crisis and Brexit.


Strategies for inspiring executives

From November 6 to 10, 2017, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management is conducting its first “Advanced Management Program (AMP)” at the Düsseldorf campus. The five-day program offers experienced executives an opportunity to reflect on topics in strategy development, strategy implementation, and leadership behavior while acquainting themselves with new points of view and broadening their networks at the same time.

For experienced executives seeking to evolve their leadership style, the greatest challenges they face are to cultivate flexibility and agility and to efficiently achieve strategic objectives. The new WHU Advanced Management Program offers effective ways to develop fresh strategies in difficult situations.

The Executive Education Program is divided into two areas: “Strategy” and “Inspiring Leadership Behavior.” In the first part, instructors familiarize participants with new and flexible methods for the development of strategy against the backdrop of the international economic context, taking global megatrends and their impact on businesses into account. Complementing this, participants have the opportunity to share their own strategic challenges with one another and with the instructors in a protected setting.

“When it comes to providing inspiring leadership, we ask ourselves and the course participants questions such as: What properties do inspiring executives have, anyway? How can I get difficult messages across? But also: What role do the emotions play in my leadership behavior?” explains Dr. Rebecca Winkelmann, Managing Director Executive Education at WHU.

The WHU Advanced Management Program is designed particularly for executives who are about to ascend to senior management positions or are already working in a position of this nature. Ideally, participants will have more than ten years of experience as an executive in a position that is located one or two tiers below executive-board level.

More information about the program


New: Mergers & Acquisitions in Practice Program

Three-day program at WHU Campus Düsseldorf from June 8 – 10, 2017

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management is offering a new Executive Education Program titled “Mergers and Acquisitions in Practice Program” in June 2017. During the three-day program, executives are equipped with the necessary tools and methods to manage the main challenges related to mergers and acquisitions.

A high share of mergers and acquisitions transactions (M&As) fails because opportunities and risks are not analyzed and managed rigorously. Additionally, prior studies indicate that a large number of mergers and acquisitions fail to generate the expected return for acquirer shareholders and that some of them even lead to substantial value destruction. Nevertheless, M&As are an important growth strategy for firms. Since opportunities and risks are closely connected, M&As need to be strategically planned and carefully executed. Mastering the mergers and acquisitions process from the idea origination through post-merger integration is, therefore, key to achieving the projected synergy value.

The program philosophy is rooted in the why? how? do! learning approach. “The focus is first on understanding why it is important to implement M&As, and in which contexts M&As are a value-creating response to a firm’s growth challenges. The next step is to understand how to effectively and efficiently implement M&As,” explains Professor Dr. Nihat Aktas, who holds the Chair of Mergers and Acquisitions at WHU and is the program’s director.

Discussions and exchanges of ideas with WHU faculty, top-notch industry experts, and a select group of peers allow participants to gain experience in handling the M&A process from the initial idea to post-merger integration. Course participants will be put in a real business situation with the help of case studies and computer applications. Designed to improve the participants’ M&A performance in particular, the Mergers and Acquisitions in Practice Program will teach them strategies and tools that are ready to use in order to help participants better implement and assess their M&A strategy.

“A failure to observe essential M&A principles could be highly disruptive for the firm’s ongoing business and for the careers of senior executives involved in deal-making”, says Dr. Rebecca Winkelmann, Managing Director Executive Education at WHU. “This is why managers in this field should aim for targeted continuing education opportunities with a practical orientation.”

The program is specifically designed for young talents and experienced managers who aim at working in positions with a greater focus on strategy or corporate development in their firms. Further, the program is conceptualized for senior executives whose firms are potential acquirers or targets for acquisition by another firm.

Please find detailed information on the program website


WHU-Professor Lutz Kaufmann comments on negotiations with US-President Donald Trump

There is much talk at the moment about Donald Trump and his recognizable and assumed negotiation style. Firstly, the US President is felt to be erratic and narcissistic – and it is always advisable to adapt one’s negotiation style to the other person’s personality profile. Secondly, there are people who even see Trump’s unpredictability as possibly masking a clever strategy that gives him a starting advantage in any negotiations. That too is correct.

Intelligently structured negotiations

However, this all fails to take into account a much more important negotiation strategy – after all, few protagonists will get to negotiate with the President himself, and fewer still with him on his own. A far smarter negotiation strategy is therefore to engage in intensive negotiations with anyone but Trump himself. For instance, the German government team has done this admirably from the outset: Ministers Sigmar Gabriel and Ursula von der Leyen – to take just two examples – were very quick to enter into a dialog with their respective counterparts. It is important to note that, with Trump, everything does not hinge on on-the-nose negotiation showdowns like with hostage-takers or car salesmen. What is needed instead are intelligently structured and timed negotiation campaigns based on careful stakeholder analyses.

One example of a smart move in such an overall campaign is the invitation of Ivanka Trump to Germany. During chancellor Merkel’s recent visit to Washington, German managers and entrepreneurs were part of her delegation. During a talk about the German educational system (i.e. the dual vocational training), they extended an invitation to the daughter and therefore a highly influential advisor of President Trump to visit educational centers in Germany.

In complex negotiations, substance is key

Another example that highlights the importance of negotiation skills beyond the obvious ones was provided by the President himself in the days when he tried to gain support for his health care bill. He is said to have used a lot of pressure in the form of coercive power (threats of punishment). That this hardball-type dealmaking behavior is not sufficient was underscored by recent comments from aides who described the President as not particularly knowledgable about health care. Knowing about the subject matter is particularly important if the other side cannot simply be swayed into accepting a deal. In complex negotiations, substance is key.

Professor Dr. Lutz Kaufmann
Chair of International Business and Supply Chain Management at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management.
Academic Director of WHU‘s Negotiations Program for Executives


Trends in the private equity sector in 2017

Interview with WHU-Professor Garen Markarian

Private equity is one of the most modern investment tools available, with a history of less than 30 years. Essentially, private equity means that a group of high net worth individuals and institutions (such as pension funds), pool together funds and hire a professional management team, that then invests on their behalf.

The rationale: Why put savings with professional equity/bond investors, when you can have much higher returns investing in private companies? The number of companies owned by private equity, globally, exceeds $3b in the latest surveys: anywhere from the Hilton, Formula 1, Hugo Boss, and Hertz are owned by private equity (PE).

We interviewed Professor Garen Markarian, who teaches in WHU´s “Value Creation in Private Equity & Venture Capital Program”, on recent developments in the private equity sector.

WHU Executive Education: Professor Markarian, you are specialized in financial accounting, corporate finance and private equity. Is the private equity sector stable or do you expect changes? Are there differences in the markets in Germany and the rest of Europe?

Professor Garen Markarian: The last recent years have been a boom period for the wealthy. If there was ever a period where the ”rich are getting richer“ and the ”poor are not getting richer“, then that would be today. Now, without getting into philosophical discussions as to why this has happened, I would like to say that the most recent wealth accumulation by rich individuals and organizations, has led to a massive boom for the PE industry. The PE activity now has exceeded that of 2007, with more and more funds going into southern European countries, and east all the way to the Russian frontier.

WHU Executive Education: What are top issues for the private equity sector in 2017?

Professor Garen Markarian: Well, having boom times has its drawbacks. When there is too much money floating around, things become expensive. The wise person would invest extremely careful in today’s inflated valuations. Nevertheless, we still see a lot of money flowing in, and you suspect that a lot of these investments are not justified by their fundamentals. If I were to predict, we will witness a lot more bankruptcies five years on from today, because some investments were done over-exuberantly today. Greed – we know its consequences.

WHU Executive Education: What would you recommend to PE companies to be prepared for in 2017?

Professor Garen Markarian: More investments into South America, Africa, and the western part of Asia. There are strong headwinds in Europe and the USA, and if I were to be a pessimist, I would worry about the negative political fallbacks from European politics, combined with poor policy making in the USA.

WHU Executive Education: Thank you very much, Professor Markarian!

Would you like to improve your knowledge in private equity?

Learn more about WHU´s Value Creation in Private Equity & Venture Capital Program for managers: (LINK)


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