Dissertations –

Publishable and innovative research

Full-time position

In your research, you will develop practice-oriented management innovations on a solid scientific basis. Typically, you will have submitted three professionally copy-edited working papers—ideally to STAR- and P-rated journals—with data and / or managerial insights cross-validated by senior managers of world leading companies. At least, two out of the three papers are in the second round of review. 

Thesis topics are discussed prior to signing up and leverage the candidate’s profile and interests. Overall, we focus on a broad range of research areas in Supply Chain Management with interfaces to both Finance and to Marketing:

  1. Management Quality for Industrial Excellence
  2. Operations Management-Marketing Interface
  3. Recommerce 
  4. Research & Development
  5. Operations Management-Finance Interface

We emphasize the importance of being present in international research and view this as market feedback on the quality of our work. At the same time, we maintain close contacts with industry and retailers to ensure high relevance, impact and innovativeness. 

Our chair’s doctoral program provides you with a unique and ideal environment to complete an outstanding dissertation publishable in top journals; completion of the thesis should not take more than three years. We value team spirit and maintain an open, honest and constructive work culture. On the one hand, you will work rather independently; on the other hand, you will receive fast and frequent feedback. This way, all members of the department act effectively and efficiently. We complement WHU’s doctoral program with one term stay abroad at our partner university Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University. Note that only select candidates—based on research interests and qualifications—are being invited by the Ph.D. program’s administration. In addition, we organize a knowledge exchange between our internal and our industry-supported doctoral students in an annual research workshop. In regular, i.e., weekly, meetings, you will be coached individually and assisted.

The focus of every doctoral student is the completion of his or her dissertation; administrative work is limited to infrequent exam proctoring duties and shared grading tasks. Besides, you will have the opportunity to gather valuable contacts and experiences in practice-related projects, for example, as program manager or member of the jury of the prestigious “Industrial Excellence Award Germany”, as assistant to exclusive European Study Tours by international top executives or EMBAs from leading business schools, or by participating in research-oriented workshops offered through WHU’s Executive Education unit. Outstanding students are welcomed to teach in the Bachelor or Master program; those efforts are remunerated separately. Typical courses focus on Blockchain, Machine Learning/AI or Supply Chain Finance topics.

A doctoral degree in Production Management will positively impact your career, whether you join academia or the business world. Alumni of our program are today, for example, Full Professor at an international Top Business School, CEO of a large multinational enterprise, Managing Director of an international online service provider, CEO & CFO of a fast growing online fashion retail company or Senior Partner at a renowned international strategy consulting firm.

Only complete application packages will be processed and a response sent out to you in due course. Please send us your updated CV, high school and university transcripts as well as testimonials of internships: arnd.huchzermeier[at]whu.edu .

Part-time dissertation


Part-time dissertations, which are disconnected from the applicant’s company, will be rejected for three main reasons: the expected completion time, insufficient and infrequent communication as well as low chances of getting published in top-tier journals. Typically, projects get started with great enthusiasm, but reality quickly erodes both the relevance of the topic and energy of the candidate so that such projects often fail or—with high likelihood—perform poorly. 

Industry-funded dissertations

A part-time dissertation is highly recommended, when a company offers financial support and proprietary data, knowhow respectively (among others, automotive companies, retailers and startups offer such programs). Obviously, research papers will only be published once the company has signed the release forms. Dissertations should address a pertinent business problem and be completed in the shortest possible time frame. This is possible, since the research topic, the data and possibly the methodology can be collected and determined before the start of the project. Moreover, the progress of the research project is often monitored by the sponsoring organization. Thus, chances of success—also for publications--are rather high.


Junior talents of major consulting companies have the aspiration to work from home or their base office. Independent research, however, collides with the personal dialog in which new (and publishable!) knowledge is purposefully created. Moreover, in the presence of a strict time limit of, e.g., 2 years, a “significant mismatch” between output and today’s standards for academic work is almost inevitable. In the worst case, a dissertation project cannot be completed due to an early return to the business; in most cases, lengthy delays and poor grades are the consequence. Please note that your company sets those tight limits, not we. Therefore, you should start to plan early, since your advisor—with all due respect—will not always be available when you need him or her. And Skype is not really a great help to communicate at eye level challenging research topics. 

Agile work culture: strategic direction setting from day 1, greater planning ability, higher relevance, higher impact

We offer all young consultants who are interested in a high-quality and expeditious dissertation a position as a research assistant. Almost all publications appear in ERIM P or STAR journals; in very rare cases a paper submitted by us to a STAR journal will be rejected for review. In addition, all our doctoral students are cited quickly and in large numbers, see www.google.de/scholar. This builds the foundation to be able to jointly define early in the process the research topic - at eye level - and to execute the research plan so that scientific standards are fully met. Additional support stems from initiation of select theses of students, discussions with peers and doctoral candidates of other chairs, visits of research workshops, participation in a Ph.D. program of a top business school, discussions and joint events with visiting faculty, lectures of WHU’s own doctoral program, contacts to companies outside of your sector, attendance of international research conferences, and many more. This kind of financial and intellectual support is unmatched when compared to working in a remote home office. Please take a minute to seriously think about this difference and be mindful about the real contributions of your advisor to you personally and the research topic at hand. 

Top Peer International Network

Moreover, friendships with many of your colleagues will emerge and last long beyond your doctoral studies. Publications in top journals give you professional credibility and visibility 24/7 globally. Interested to apply? 


Only complete application packages will be processed and a response sent out to you in due course. Please send your updated CV as well as high school and university transcripts to: arnd.huchzermeier[at]whu.edu .