New online program “Leading beyond the crisis” launched successfully

In November 2020, a group of 42 selected senior professionals came together in a virtual format to reflect upon their individual leadership challenges in times of a pandemic. The group of senior professionals attended inspiring sessions on crisis leadership to prepare them for events that could happen during their future time as a leader. In addition, participants were encouraged to reflect upon their personal as well as organizational resilience to cope successfully with unforeseen and stress-provoking events and change.

“I am thrilled to see that we created an intimate learning environment so that our participants had the opportunity to discuss their personal leadership challenges”, says Dr. Rebecca Winkelmann, Managing Director WHU Executive Education, who initiated the “Leading beyond the crisis” program. High-profile guest speakers from different industries complemented the academic and self-reflection sessions. They shed light upon the challenges of their corporations during the pandemic, and gave insight into innovative solutions. Participants appreciated the possibilities to personally interact during the seminar and to learn from each other in a fully virtual environment. A few of them share their personal learnings and take-aways:

“The topic and curriculum of the seminar could not have been timelier. What impressed me most was the seniority of the participants and the speed at which a mutual sense of trust was formed which, even in a fully virtual classroom, quickly fostered highly valuable discussions and peer-group connections.“

Armin Häberle, Head of Business Media Division & Managing Director „Die Stiftung“ Media GmbH

“Leading beyond the crisis Program” defined leadership differently with exchanges of real-life experiences and nowhere-to-be-found group works. Leadership during a time of crisis will never be easy, but I feel I will be able to understand the meaning, reason, and purpose better and more importantly, convey this understanding to my team.”

Ali Inal, IT Director of Enerjisa Üretim

“The Leading beyond the crisis Program successfully directed our awareness and understanding of resilience. What does resilience mean for me, my team, and the organization? How to handle the first signs of misbalance? The well-experienced coach Karsten Drath helped us gain a deeper understanding, and the exchange with peers in the online break-out groups was extremely valuable.

Friday and Saturday were filled with insights from industry speakers and consecutive deep dives into resilience. We later summarized that it was especially good to see that we were not the only ones with concerns, challenges, and questions on what this challenging time of Covid-19 is doing to us and our work lives. A lot of food for thought!”

Jutta Kaiser, Head of Retail Development - Strategy & Governance @ Customer Support at BMW AG


Strategy and Leadership Skills for Foundations: Management Program for Executives in the Non-profit Sector

Fourteen participants, all working in the non-profit sector, spent five days at WHU Campus Düsseldorf where they learned new conceptual insights and discussed a wide range of topics and questions with their peers.

The agenda of the theory-based yet practice-oriented curriculum included the following topics: the effects of climate change on the foundation's work, changes in the structures of volunteer work in the civil society, and the digitalization of non-profit organizations. Furthermore, the topics of "Managing employees in VUCA environments" and the use of storytelling in management and everyday work were discussed. The speaker range included representatives of WHU, foundation managers, and other experts on focus topics.

At the end of the week, Dr. Gereon Schuch, Managing Director of the Deutsche Stiftungsakademie, concluded: "The positive feedback from the participants confirms our decision to host the program on-site in Düsseldorf. Similar to other certificate courses of DSA, the exchange in a protected environment is a significant added value for the participants, especially with regards to networking aspects.

Dr. Peter Kreutter, Director of the WHU Foundation and Faculty Director for the program added: "We are very pleased that the joint Executive Education program of DSA and WHU has taken place for the third time already and that we were able to execute it on-campus under these special circumstances. Furthermore, I would like to especially thank the Stiftung Mercator, which made it possible for representatives of small foundations and small organizations to participate in the program.”

The next program run of the "Management-Führungskräfteprogramm für Non-Profits" will take place on September 6-10, 2021 at WHU Campus Düsseldorf. You can find more information here.


Interview: Why brand management is crucial for a company’s long-term success

A strong brand is often the tip of the scales when it comes to the long-term success of a company: it provides certainty and value for consumers and companies. Prof. Dr. Tim Oliver Brexendorf, Apl. Professorship of Marketing and WHU Executive Education set up a new program “Brand Management Essentials” providing professionals and executives with the skills and tools to build and sustain powerful brands. In the following interview, Professor Brexendorf shares insights on the importance of brands, how to successfully build a brand and why brand management is crucial for a company’s long-term success:

Professor Brexendorf,

… why is brand management so important for companies?

Brands influence and guide consumers’ decision-making and allow firms to occupy a distinct place in the minds of their consumers. Consider the “Red Bull” brand – they epitomize energy in everything they do. Strong brands provide added value beyond a company’s products and services and help to make a connection with consumers on a very deep and personal level. For strong brands, consumers not only buy the brands, they buy into the brands. This helps companies stand out from the competition, enabling them to achieve higher prices and higher volumes.

…what is required to successfully build a brand?

Brand marketers require arts, crafts and science to successfully create, build, and maintain a strong brand. Insights from many disciplines – not only marketing – are needed to deliver a holistic and favorable brand experience to consumers. It depends on the subtle interplay of many areas including design, linguistics, psychology and strategy, to name just a few. Although persuasive brand names and logos are important for strong brands, branding goes way beyond that.

… why is brand management so crucial for a company’s long-term success?

The power of strong brands lies in their ability to create deep consumer connections along with a high degree of desirability and goodwill. Especially in times of uncertainty, brands can give consumers a feeling of familiarity and security. Brands’ loyal consumers accompany the brand through its ups and downs, making it possible for companies to facilitate and enable continuous growth – even in the most difficult times.


Creating a business impact abroad with a diverse team of leaders

Managing and leading a business project is never a simple task, and especially doing it in another country. To successfully carry out a project, a team must face challenges that will enable them to grow, have a connection with each other, and as in this Sri Lankan experience, adjust to the resources provided.

Marianne Ohm, Managing Partner of codiviti UG and participant in WHU’s 6th General Management Plus Program, shares her program experience, challenges, and takeaways from an on-site business impact project in Sri Lanka in cooperation with the non-profit organization BOOKBRIDGE.

You will get her point of view on how the reopening of a learning center was made possible, the leaders who contributed and made it happen, a glimpse into the Sri Lankan culture, and the outcome of the project for the team and the Sri Lankan community.

Read part 1 and part 2 of her incredible learning journey!


The new WHU Global Online MBA

There are many possibilities to acquire a Master in Business Administration (MBA) in an online course. However, the names of the most recognized business schools are rare in this market. Yet, it is the name of the institution which is of particular importance for the further careers of MBA students. Ranked no. 1 in Germany by the Financial Times in its renowned Global MBA Ranking, WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management is now one of the first top business schools in Germany to offer an online MBA program for students from all over the world.

"For us, the Global Online MBA is the next step towards the future," says Professor Dr. Markus Rudolf, Dean of WHU. "We have learned a lot from the corona crisis and have made a great leap forward in terms of digitization. And we have seen that there is great interest in our online offerings internationally. We want to make use of this experience now." WHU has committed itself to excellence in research and teaching and is determined to meet this goal also with the new MBA format. The online program will therefore be closely aligned with the existing triple-accredited MBA program, will also offer many opportunities for interaction and personal exchange using state-of-the-art technology, and will provide students with individual support in the usual manner.

It is the flexibility which makes the big difference to regular MBA programs. Participants in the Global Online MBA can work from home, adapt the program to their individual situation, and choose freely between a duration of 18 and 36 months. Those who want to be even more flexible in terms of time can also participate in smaller units of the Global Online MBA by obtaining individual certificates.

The new program is also an expression of the international orientation of the business school. And, even if they are not personally present, participants of the Online MBA will benefit from the network of students and the more than 4,500 WHU alumni of most diverse national and professional backgrounds. They can also take advantage of WHU’s customized career service, which helps students realize their own goals. Applications are possible as of August 3, 2020.

"With the Global Online MBA, WHU is reacting to a new demand situation, which has certainly been enhanced by the current crisis", explains Dean Markus Rudolf. "It is an excellent additional part of our program portfolio, which is already very diverse.”


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