WHU’s Executive Education #2 in Germany
WHU among Germany’s best Executive Education program providers, placing #33 worldwide in the 2024 Financial Times ranking for Open Programs.Learn more!


Why Do We Need Education on AI? Are Artificial Intelligence and Politics Compatible?

Like any major technological innovation, technology can be used for good and bad purposes and can be used with good and bad intentions. That was the case when a finance worker at a multinational firm was tricked into paying out $25 million to fraudsters using deep fake technology to pose as the company’s chief financial officer in a video conference call.

In his article, “The Dark Side of Superhuman Persuasion: Why We Need Education on Generative AI,” Professor Dries Faems, Chair of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technological Transformation at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management and leading expert in the field of AI, laid out the risks and threats of the new emerging technology.


  1. Advanced AI systems can potentially influence human behavior and decision-making to a much greater extent than humans can.
  2. The GPT Builder application called the Election Persuader, showcases the ability of AI to tailor communications based on individual profiles and preferences, potentially influencing political decisions. The power of AI in crafting messages that resonate on a personal level could have significant implications for the future of advertising, campaigning, and even interpersonal communication.
  3. Education is essential in the face of rapidly advancing AI technologies. While regulation is necessary, it often lags behind technological innovation, making it difficult to manage the implications of AI globally.

Professor Faems writes that superhuman persuasion is the concept where advanced AI systems can significantly influence human decision-making by utilizing large datasets and algorithms to create highly personalized messages. This capability allows AI to connect with individuals on a deeply personal level, making it more effective than traditional human communication.

While Professor Faems adds that Sam Altman, CEO of Open AI, discussed this as a potential risk in AI development, Professor Faems illustrates that the application called “Election Persuader” was created using GPT Builder. This chatbot can craft customized emails to voters, encouraging them to support a particular political party based on their interests and beliefs. The “Election Persuader” requires the user to upload a political party’s program and a LinkedIn profile to generate a persuasive email. This application demonstrates the potential of AI to tailor persuasive messages that can appeal to individuals’ specific preferences, even if they initially seem unlikely to support the cause.

The conversation on AI is often complex, and the importance of these issues highlight the need for a comprehensive approach. Following up on his article, we had a short interview with Professor Faems:

- Professor Faems, there are voters voting in elections all around the world this year, and we now know that AI is increasingly being used to manipulate voters with tailored content. How can the public and tech companies keep up with this?

Keeping up will be quite challenging as the technology is developing at exponential speed. Nevertheless, we should make sure that citizens are at least aware about what is happening to improve their ability to recognize the difference between content created by humans and content created by AI. In my opinion, educational institutions at all levels of the educational trajectory should start thinking about how they can prepare their students for these challenges.

- How transparent should technology companies be about their use of AI?

At the technological level, transparency is good but will not be sufficient. The problem is that technology companies themselves do not fully understand how these AI technologies exactly work. At the application level, companies should indeed be obliged to clearly disclose which AI technologies have been used for particular applications and how they are used.

What happens next?

While A.I. has taken a giant leap forward — and is evolving so rapidly that it is hard to keep up with the state of play. The big question remains, “How do we actually equip youth, our current generation and future today with AI skills and do it with diversity and inclusion?” and “How do we not leave people and students further behind when much remains unknown about the technology even as its development speeds ahead?”

Are you interested in learning more about AI and its potential to facilitate your daily work?

Save a spot in our bootcamp: Unlocking the Power of ChatGPT and Generative AI for Business Development, in which Professor Faems will give an introduction on how to write effective prompts, combine different AI tools, and develop agents to execute tasks in the context of specific use cases. Registration is open until June 7th, 2024.


Transformational Technologies for Managers

Executive Education at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, with a variety of cooperative open programs already globally recognized by the Financial Times (#15 in the 2022 Ranking), continues to diversify its portfolio. WHU knows that it is more important than ever for any executive to take a 360° view of their field of practice to prepare themselves for the future. A core part of that is paying mind to how an industry can and ultimately does evolve—and understanding the potential strategic changes that new technology may bring. To date, the world of sports has secured itself a connected future and earned the reputation of being an industry well ahead of the curve. On October 3, WHU Executive Education will debut the new Transformational Technologies: Applied Lessons from Sports course running as a part of the MIT xPRO series. This brand-new curriculum uses the sports industry as an example of where the world of business is headed.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA (USA) started offering their xPRO series of courses in 2016, seeking to combine a student’s business acumen with the technical expertise necessary for the future. In line with this approach, this new asynchronous course, developed together with WHU, is the first of its kind to center around the sports industry and how it has adopted new technology—including virtual reality, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and Web 3.0. Designed for business professionals across all industries, the program will show how technological breakthroughs could forever change the way business is conducted and enable participants to apply this freshly gained knowledge to their own professional lives.

Professor Sascha L. Schmidt, holder of the Sports and Management Chair at WHU, is spearheading the course and explained, “This is a chance for business professionals to learn more about today’s technology revolution—and how it affects both their private and professional environment.” Upon successfully completing the course, participants will receive an official certification from WHU and MIT xPRO.

Those interested in enrolling in the program can find more information on the official course website.


Business and Leadership Skills for Experienced Physicians

In recent years, there have been substantial shifts in the medical profession, and today’s practicing physicians increasingly need to consider aspects of business, financial planning, and leadership in their daily routines. Typically, such topics are not a part of their medical training, neither while studying nor while interning. As such, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, in conjunction with MLP School of Financial Education, has conceived a specialized Executive Education program for physicians scheduled to start on October 1, 2022.

The Advanced Management Programm für Aerztinnen/Aerzte [Advanced Management Program for Medical Doctors] is a compact, intensive course that combines interactive online trainings and in-class sessions, the latter of which will be hosted first on WHU’s Duesseldorf campus and then later on MLP’s campus in Heidelberg. The program has been tailored to fit a medical professional’s often tight schedule. The modules, which are held exclusively in German, will enhance a participant’s ability to make managerial decisions within the context of the medical profession.

Over the course of two in-person modules, reinforced by a series of shorter online workshops, participants will take a comprehensive view on a wide range of topics that touch upon everything from practical matters (e.g., taxation, finance, and the sale of practice) to more recondite subjects (e.g., leadership skills and coping mechanisms). “WHU and MLP SoFE are confident that these highly specialized experts will benefit from all that is on offer. We want to ensure that we address their specific needs with this new curriculum,” says Executive Education Director Rebecca Winkelmann. “With a mix of face-to-face and online sessions, we offer physicians a distinctly flexible format with the latest insights from health economics and leadership.” Those interested in enrolling in the program should submit their applications through the program website by mid-September at the latest.

WHU is one of Germany’s top business schools, specializing in all topics relevant to finance, entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing, and much more. With a series of open enrollment programs already globally recognized by the Financial Times, as well as numerous partnerships with institutions both inside and outside of Europe, Executive Education at WHU continues to expand its course selection. From programs in advanced management skills and specialized coaching to branding and negotiations, WHU’s catalog has been designed with today’s leaders and managers in mind.

Prospective participants can find out more information here.


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