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A full success: Campus for Corporate Transformation 2019

On September 25, the 2nd WHU Campus for Corporate Transformation took place at the WHU Campus in Düsseldorf. Top-class speakers shared their practical experience on the topic of "Agility and Growth in Volatile Times" with around 100 participants.

In his welcoming address at the beginning of the conference, Professor Dr. Serden Ozcan, Associate Dean for Corporate Connections and Chair for Innovation and Corporate Transformation, was pleased that, for the second time, some of Germany's most experienced and well-known executives met at the WHU Campus for Corporate Transformation to discuss current issues in the field of corporate transformation.

The conference aimed at creating a comprehensive picture of the current digital transformation based on the speakers’ different perspectives. For example, Olaf Koch, Chairman of the Management Board at METRO AG, gave insights into the CEO's perspective on corporate transformation. In his presentation, Koch showed how METRO has succeeded over the past 13 to 14 years in responding to changing customer needs and completely renewing and restructuring the company's business model and portfolio. The biggest challenges, he said, were, on the one hand, the changed information and shopping behavior of the customers as a result of the introduction of mobile end devices in 2007. On the other hand, international growth has forced the company to adapt to the individual needs and markets of other countries.

Sabine Bendiek, Chairwoman of the Management Board at Microsoft Germany

Sabine Bendiek, Chairwoman of the Management Board at Microsoft Germany, addressed the challenges facing her industry in her presentation: in the IT sector, more and more value is placed rather on innovation than on tradition. Andreas Neumann, Member of the Board of Managing Directors at Boehringer Ingelheim, on the other hand, described the tightrope act of a family-owned company as neither forgetting one's own tradition nor losing touch with modernity. WHU alumnus Julian Deutz, who works for Axel Springer SE as CFO, shed light on the financial aspects of corporate transformation. He showed how the company was able to transform itself from a publisher of mostly German print media to an international company with a revenue of about 74 percent of digital products.

The event concluded with two plenary debates and the closing words by Professor Dr. Stefan Spinler, Director of the Kühne Institute for Logistics Management at WHU.

Next year's topic for the Campus for Corporate Transformation will be "Leading Corporate Transformation in an Uncertain World." Save the date: September 23, 2020.


Digital Transformation in the Corporate Finance Function: WHU offers new Executive Education Program

Düsseldorf, September 16, 2019. WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, in cooperation with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), is offering a new program in its Executive Education portfolio from October 28 to November 19, 2019.

The intensive four-day program consists of two in-class modules designed for finance executives wanting a more in-depth understanding of the corporate finance function of the future. Professors, renowned experts from the field and CFOs will provide inspiration and advice to participating executives along with practical, applied case studies and plenty of opportunity for a lively exchange of ideas with colleagues on their way to digital transformation.

Gori von Hirschhausen, PwC Europe Finance Consulting Leader, says: "Digitalization is everywhere now. To take advantage of the opportunities as well as master the associated challenges, it’s essential to have a holistic view of every dimension of the finance function’s operating model. This is where our program takes you – starting with the conception and design of future-oriented financial functions to concrete advice for realizable operational implementation".

"The corporate finance function is being changed fundamentally by digitalization. Our program supports participants in developing the necessary knowledge and skills to create their own "Digital Roadmap" which also addresses the requisite paradigm shift in corporate culture that goes along with it” adds Professor Dr. Martin Glaum, Chair of International Accounting at WHU.

Due to the highly practical nature of the program and the opportunity to apply relevant concepts to a company-specific digital roadmap, the program provides real added value for both participants and their companies.

More information and registration at:


Negotiations Program: Interview with Prof. Dr. Lutz Kaufmann

Prof. Dr. Lutz Kaufmann is a professor in the Supply Chain Group at WHU since 2001. He is teaching in the Negotiations Program which was designed to equip participants with the skills necessary to manage negotiations successfully, even in the most challenging situations. In a short three-minute FAQ he gave us answers to some relevant questions regarding the topic of negotiations and the offered program.

What are the most common reasons for failure in negotiations?

  1. Taking the setup as a given. Why not change stakeholders, topics, or the sequence of the talks?
  2. Thinking in compromises. Why not using intelligent deal designs where the parties can keep their different views?
  3. Trying to trick the other side. Why using tactics from largely irrelevant contexts, like buying a car, a house or freeing a hostage?

What are negotiation techniques and why are they relevant for businesses?

These are strategies for jointly solving a problem without being sentimental about the business relationship. Negotiation skills are relevant simply because conflict is a growth industry.

How will this seminar benefit me?

Participants will move beyond win-win or win-lose categories. They will be able to (re-)shape negotiation setups, achieve agreements while the parties still disagree, detect tactical and psychological tracks, and deal with complicated personalities and power constellations.

How is the program constituted?

Negotiating and swimming or tennis have one thing in common: you only learn it properly by practicing it. Therefore, this program is designed as one big ‘experiential learning’ event.

Become a successful negotiator yourself and register now for the Negotiations Program at WHU.


WHU and CIMA launch Executive Development Program for Top Managers

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management and The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) have launched the CIMA CFO Program as part of their cooperation agreement. Developed for top executives, this program provides finance and accounting content and enables them to acquire an internationally recognized professional qualification.

“Due to their immense level of responsibility, countless activities and obligations, Senior Finance Managers have little time to devote to their own continuing professional development. The CIMA CFO Program is designed as a “fast-track” course focusing on strategic and risk management as well as financial strategy for C-level executives and senior management,” says Jakub Bejnarowicz, Associate Director Europe, CIMA.

The CIMA CFO Program has already been successfully implemented in other countries such as the UK, Poland, China and Africa. “We are pleased to be taking this step together with WHU in Germany,” adds Jakub Bejnarowicz.

“The CIMA CFO Program is an exciting addition to our portfolio of Open Enrollment Programs,” says Dr. Rebecca Winkelmann, Managing Director, WHU Executive Education. The program is targeted at CFOs, CEOs and finance executives, candidates holding a finance degree, or an MBA/Master in Controlling or Accounting. At least ten years’ professional experience in finance or business is required to apply. The course is delivered in English.

“The launch of the CIMA CFO Program is another step in our intensive cooperation with CIMA,” emphasizes Professor Dr. Utz Schäffer, Director of the Institute for Management Accounting and Control (IMC) at WHU. By joining forces we want to promote and strengthen the competencies of financial controllers and finance professionals in Germany”. Further joint programs are planned.

More information:

CIMA CFO Program


Lying Is a No-Go. Bluffing Is Allowed, Right?

A study by WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management and Arizona State University provides answers to the question of the real difference between a bluff and a lie in business negotiations. The distinction is an important one, as the psychological consequences are fundamentally different – for those affected by a bluff or a lie, and for the actors them-selves.

Be it VW, campaign promises or deliberate dives to trigger penalty kicks: We are surrounded by deceptions. Business negotiations in particular are often said to resort to bluffs and lies to improve a particular party’s negotiating position – with the end justifying (almost) all the means. To date, research has considered bluffing a form of lying or regarded bluffs as the “more harmless variant” of a lie. The results of eight staggered studies by an international research team at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management and Arizona State University contradict this assessment and identify fundamental differences.

“The difference between a bluff and a lie can be found in the eyes of the beholder: as victims, we are annoyed with ourselves if the other side successfully bluffs, but no one wants to negotiate with a liar, if at all possible, ever again. Lying is immoral, but bluffing is viewed as amoral, both by participants and by those affected, i.e. as a negotiating tactic that does not constitute ethical misconduct,” notes the WHU negotiation expert Professor Dr. Lutz Kaufmann.

Surprisingly, both negotiation experts and laypeople would take the same view, as Christian Schlereth, Professor of Digital Marketing, explains: “A lie is fundamentally about falsifying information or making false promises. Bluffs, on the other hand, are about feigned emotions, such as sympathy, misrepresenting one’s own bargaining position, or making empty threats, such as breaking off negotiations.”

As the researchers also show, lying, for instance, can be reduced by means of a code of conduct, but this will have no impact on bluffing. “Instruments like these increase stakeholders’ moral awareness. This works against lies, but not against bluffing, because with bluffing, moral considerations play no role from the outset. Bluffing is considered a moral-free negotiating tactic that even has to be learned,” as WHU researcher Dr. Jörg Rottenburger summed up.

Prof. Dr. Lutz Kaufmann is a professor in the Supply Chain Group at WHU and instructor of the Negotiations Program. Get more information about the WHU Negotiations Program and enhance your negotiation skills!

Lutz Kaufmann, Jörg R. Rottenburger, Craig R. Carter, Christian Schlereth (2018), “Bluffs, Lies, and Consequences: A Reconceptualization of Bluffing in Buyer-Supplier Negotiations,” Journal of Supply Chain Management, Vol. 54., in press

Jörg R. Rottenburger, Craig R. Carter, Lutz Kaufmann (2018), “It’s Alright, it’s just a Bluff: Why do Corporate Codes reduce Lying, but not Bluffing?” Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management, Vol. 24., in press


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