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Generation CEO Young Talent Award presented for the first time

The winner of the first Generation CEO Young Talent Award is Franziska Bednarz from Airbus Operations GmbH. In addition to the award, she will receive a 50% partial scholarship for the part-time Global Online MBA at WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management.

The final round of the Generation CEO Young Talent Award was held last week for the first time and in digital format. The four finalists had to prove their professional know-how, personality, and leadership skills in interviews with the jury, consisting of representatives from Generation CEO and WHU.

"It was a really difficult decision for the jury," reports jury member Dr. Rebecca Winkelmann, Director of the WHU Center for Responsible Leadership & Managing Director Executive Education. "We are very pleased to join forces with Generation CEO to present the Talent Award, and thus jointly contribute to the talent development of women."

"One of Generation CEO's goals is to seek out and promote top female talent. We are pleased that with the Generation CEO Young Talent Award, we can support young, talented women in their career path together with WHU," added jury member Diana Schramm, Managing Partner at SARIVA GmbH.

What is the Generation CEO Young Talent Award?

The Generation CEO Young Talent Award is an annual competition for top female talents, which WHU organizes together with the Generation CEO network with the aim of promoting young female talents and giving them visibility as "role models."


Financial Times Executive Education Ranking 2022

Both WHU’s Open and Customized Programs receive excellent placements in the renowned Financial Times Executive Education Ranking for 2022

The market for continued managerial education is one that is highly competitive all across the world. With a wide range of offers and differences in quality, those interested take their cue from the renowned global Financial Times Executive Education Ranking, which also takes participant feedback into consideration. Only a few German business schools active in this field make it onto this list of best universities.

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, which offers executive education programs through its campus in Düsseldorf, has made its first appearance in the overall ranking. In the most current Financial Times Executive Education Rankings for 2022, WHU has placed at #28 worldwide and #2 in Germany. This result is the product of a combination between the sub-rankings of the “Open Programs” and “Custom Programs” categories. Participants in the Open Programs need not be enrolled at the school. Rather, they can freely choose from a selection of different courses and bundle them together. WHU’s Customized Programs are specifically tailored to the needs of an inquiring organization—and it is with their recognition that WHU has been able to enter the combined overall ranking.

It is remarkable that WHU’s Open Programs in executive education now stand at #15 worldwide, jumping ahead twenty-two spots since 2020. When looking at schools in Europe, these programs have moved from #20 to #11.

“We are particularly pleased about our program’s outstanding performance in customer satisfaction,” noted Dr. Rebecca Winkelmann, Director of the Open Programs at WHU Executive Education. “We’re already being considered one of the best around the world when it comes to the design and preparation of these courses, and our faculty has much to celebrate.” Winkelmann attributes this positive development to the high-quality further education formats, the high degree of interactivity, a practical focus, and the special networking possibilities for the participants. She sees the resultant rankings as a clear sign that the program’s management team is on the right track.

The Customized Programs WHU has on offer have already reached #57 worldwide and #3 in Germany with its debut appearance. “The conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic were really not easy,” said Dr. Heike Brost-Steffens, Director of Customized Programs. “Companies are still somewhat reluctant to book high-quality, Customized Programs. We are all the more pleased that our long-standing collaborations are being complemented by new partnerships with other companies seeking to benefit from WHU’s excellent research, pedagogy, and practical focus.”

Professor Markus Rudolf, Dean of WHU, also expressed his delight at the news: “Given that executive education is one of WHU’s strategic fields of growth, I am very happy about this positive development. It gives me confidence in the future.”

A detailed look at the results of the Financial Times Executive Education Rankings for 2022 can be viewed here.


First HPBM Program from IESE and WHU Successfully Completed

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management and the IESE Business School have offered their first-ever joint program for top-level managers. The High-Performance Board Member Program (HPBM program), which took place between November 2021 and February 2022, was met with considerable positive reception from participants.

The program modules took place across seven days at three different locations: the WHU campus in Düsseldorf and the IESE campuses in Munich and Barcelona. The group of participants comprised 19 “C-level” leaders active in various industries, including software, media, engineering, corporate consulting, and energy. Hailing from Portugal, Spain, Poland, Russia, Turkey, and Germany, these high-level executives are active in their companies as CEOs, CFOs, executive vice presidents, managing directors, and other capacities.

The program is targeted at executives from all industries who are either preparing to enter or are already active in the boardroom. Professor Markus Rudolf, Dean of WHU and Academic Director of Executive Education, noted, “Unlike most other board programs, ours does not make technical knowledge the main focus. Instead, participants should learn how to ask the right questions and lead their companies strategically.”

The board members and supervisory board members meet with each other, the lecturers, and top-notch guest speakers on common ground to exchange ideas concerning the most pertinent challenges they face in their respective fields and discuss possible scenarios based on practical examples. The program’s small group maintains a confidential, safe environment to allow for such conversation.

“The HPBM program has given me perspective and self-confidence in the best practices of the boardroom and my role within it,” explained Javier A. García Sedano, Founder and Group Director at OPTIMITIVE, summarizing his experience. With two of the best business schools in all of Europe, along with their first-class faculty, the program offers us the chance to meet with top managers and executives from different countries. You get to learn from their experiences and gain a much broader view of the organization and functions of the boardroom. I really enjoyed it!”

This collaboration between WHU and IESE allows participants to earn a joint certificate from two excellent institutions that are both strong in research. In summarizing the goals of the program, Faculty Director, and holder of the Chair of Innovation and Corporate Transformation at WHU, Professor Serden Ozcan said, “The High-Performance Board Program broadens participants’ understanding of the key tasks, dynamics, and strategic challenges of the boardroom and equips them with action-oriented approaches.”

The next High-Performance Board Program is due to start in November 2022. Further information can be found on the program website.


Cooperation Between WHU and IESE Business School

On November 22, 2021, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management and IESE Business School jointly kicked-off the High-Performance Board Member Program at WHU Campus Düsseldorf. It was the first module of a seven-day program which is offered in cooperation by two of the most renowned business schools in Europe.

19 C-level executives from various industries such as Software, Media, Engineering, Non-Profit, Healthcare Services, Consulting, Manufacturing & Production, and Energy experienced a vivid program mix of interactive lectures and networking opportunities. Professor Markus Rudolf, Dean of WHU, was delighted to welcome the executives during the formal dinner on the first day. “It is great to see that two of the best business schools in Europe joined their forces to offer such a high-caliber program for senior executives. It was great to welcome them at our campus in Düsseldorf coming from Portugal, Spain, Poland, Russia, Turkey, and Germany. It makes me proud that we were able to welcome back some of our WHU alumni for the program,” said Professor Markus Rudolf.

During the first part of the program, which took three days, renowned faculty from IESE and WHU including Professor Marc Sachon (IESE), Professor Serden Özcan (WHU), Professor Govert Vroom (IESE), and Professor Martin Glaum (WHU) shared their knowledge on corporate boards, including insights on disruption, and financial reports. Furthermore, Dr. Christian Vocke (Baker & McKenzie) and Jürgen Steinemann (Supervisory Board, METRO AG), shared best practice insights during their guest lectures. Module two and three will take place at the respective IESE campuses in Munich and Barcelona in spring 2022.

The High-Performance Board Member Program is most suitable for executives currently serving on boards and next-generation leaders preparing to transition to a board role. It illustrates the main challenges and responsibilities of corporate boards while using examples taken from real-life scenarios. Additionally, the program offers an opportunity to discuss current challenges in strategic corporate management on an equal footing and in a protected space. It is meant to provide a highly practice-oriented approach and is the starting point of IESE’s and WHU’s fruitful cooperation.


Coalition negotiations after the German federal election: Who has the best bargaining power?

Negotiations expert and WHU Professor Dr. Lutz Kaufmann comments on the latest developments with Germany's election.

With no single party securing a majority of seats in Germany’s Bundestag, a coalition government is imminent. Intense negotiations, party promises, and bridging differences will lay the foundation down for the next few years.

“The situation is quite clear regarding the coalition negotiations after the German federal elections. There will be a so-called “traffic light coalition” (SPD/ Social Democrats, Grüne/The Greens, FDP/Free Democrats) – and I assume this will happen fast due to the internal party constellations and their general motivations: The Greens do not want to explain to their followers that they are (still) voting for Armin Laschet, or possibly even Markus Söder, from the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU). When going into talks with the FDP, the Greens will for sure favor a coalition with the SPD. However, the FDP is, in general, more flexible and Christian Lindner will not call negotiations off again (like he did in 2017). Furthermore, the FDP does not back their (former) favorite coalition partner CDU as strongly as they used to do.

When looking at the CDU, one can see many and too large conflicts within the party, which holds their leadership back from having a clear mandate and the full support from the party for possible negotiations. In the meantime, the SPD can follow Olaf Scholz’ path during the election campaign, meaning to stay stable and remain calm, because the further the CDU drifts away from being a credible alternative for a coalition with FDP and Greens, the more the SPD wins bargaining power for a negotiation for a traffic light coalition with FDP and Greens. Paradoxically, Greens and FDP are, therefore, still interested in keeping the option for a coalition with CDU alive.

Recently, statements on the coalition negotiations referring to the prisoner’s dilemma based on the game theory were published. CDU and SPD were compared with the prisoners. In my opinion, this comparison does not hold, as game theory rests on the foundational assumption of rationally thinking and acting players. However, the game theory perspective does not consider any conflicts or dynamics within the parties. If the players can be seen as truly rational actors in the current coalition negotiations, the reader must decide.”

There seems to be only one strategic move that would allow the CDU to participate in the next government: Offering Robert Habeck from the Greens to become Chancellor. This implies that the original candidates Baerbock (Greens) and Laschet (CDU) will both not become the next Chancellor. The Green party is unlikely to reject a Green Chancellor, and party-veterans like Winfried Kretschmann with experience in a coalition with the CDU probably would support this. At the same time, the SPD and Olaf Scholz will certainly not pass on the chancellorship to the Greens.

About Lutz Kaufmann

Professor Dr. Lutz Kaufmann is a professor at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. He has been researching and teaching at WHU for 20 years. He has already received numerous awards for his teaching and hitherto research at WHU. His doctoral students, numbering some 40 to date, have won around 20 national and worldwide prizes for their respective dissertations. Many managers, as well as sales and procurement professionals, know him by his highly sought-after Executive Education courses on Negotiations. Read more!


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