WHU General

WHU Masters Student Wins Prestigious Award

The German Association of Private Universities awards Caroline Vaessen with the Förderpreis

Caroline Vaessen, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management Master in Management 2022 student and recent Bachelor of Science 2020 graduate, was awarded the prestigious Förderpreis of the Association of Private Universities (VPH ) on February 26th based on her outstanding bachelor’s thesis, which focused on the topic of digitalization as a driver of economic and social change, specifically “The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem of Edge Computing”.  

Caroline  believes her thesis was particularly relevant because her chosen topic, edge computing, will play a major role in the future, particularly regarding “topics that concern the Internet of Things (IoT). For example, time-critical devices such as autonomous driving require real-time data analysis, which cannot be done in the cloud. Sending real-time data to the cloud or data centers would take too long.” She sees her thesis as “a wake-up call for Europe. If Europe wants to lead the edge computing market in the future, policymakers should support startups that are already working on this topic. Otherwise, the market will be dominated (again) by large US corporations like Amazon or Microsoft. In the U.S., most edge computing startups are based in California. Here they can accelerate their growth with a large number of investors willing to put a lot of money into them - they are less risk averse and hold a more positive view on risk. This kind of environment is not found in Europe, so there is a risk that we lose the game, even though many European startups are already technically very advanced.”

The 1,500 Euro award money is to go towards the financing of Caroline’s master’s at WHU, as is required in the contest bylaws. The competition was nothing short of tight,  and prizes were awarded by a jury on the basis of empirical work, practical application, methodological-theoretical correlations, and several other categories.

Caroline Vaessen was born in Belgium and grew up in Bonn, Germany, speaking Dutch and German. After finishing her Bachelor of Science at WHU in 2020, she joined the 2022 Masters in Management cohort. Caroline has worked extensively throughout her time at WHU in capacities ranging from Strategy Development Intern with T-Systems International GmbH, Student Assistant in Public Relations at WHU, and Chairwoman for TEDxWHU events held at WHU. She actively looks forward to the upcoming TEDxWHU event and her role to play within the team.

Regarding her long-term future, Caroline intends to work within the field of technology. The WHU community is proud to congratulate and celebrate Caroline Vaessen on her most recent accolade and look forward to what she will accomplish in the future!

Key findings of Caroline Vaessen’s bachelor thesis:

  • The definition of edge computing is dependent upon the perspective and application (i.e., telecommunication, IT, etc.,), and the potential uses for this type of technology are exponential, including but not limited to privacy protection and the potential for real-time data management without the use of a telecommunications network or cloud.
  • Edge computing is a rapidly expanding entrepreneurial ecosystem with key actors ranging from financial investors to policymakers to vendors, which can be divided into niche (often smaller startups) and hybrid (corporate bodies such as Amazon) solution providers.
  • Key factors within the realm of edge computing are: accessible markets, support systems, regulatory framework, finance, and culture (factors which promote productive entrepreneurship and vary from location to location).
  • The US offers a more accessible market with more open and willing support for the incorporation and promotion of new technologies.