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Awards for WHU Bachelor Theses

On March 13, the Koblenz Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) honored WHU alumni Philip Harms, Till Oltmanns and Tim Willmann with honorable mention at the IHK University Award 2018.

WHU graduates Philip Harms (left) and Till Oltmanns

Harms and Oltmanns received the award for their bachelor’s thesis on “Technological Innovation and the Future of Senior Care.” Tim Willmann’s award was received in recognition of his bachelor’s thesis on “The Role of Lobbyism for Industry Development.”

In their thesis, Harms and Oltmanns investigated the prospects of voice-controlled systems in the senior care market via a series of interviews with leading care experts and voice-based technology acceptance with senior citizens. The bachelor students identified that such systems, although positively rated by the majority, face severe obstacles due to the German care market’s infrastructure and issues related to data security. Nonetheless, care institution managers have to become aware of technological innovation that might significantly affect the elderly care market.

The two students, who graduated from WHU in 2017, wrote their thesis at the Chair of Technology and Innovation Management. They were supervised by Professor Dr. Holger Ernst, Peter M. Bican, and Carsten Guderian. The two WHU graduates became so intrigued with the potential of technological innovations in senior care that they founded their own startup Afilio - Gesellschaft für Vorsorge mbH last year.

In his work, Willmann examines the influence that the targeted special interests on the part of individual enterprises have had on their respective industries, and what companies can do to have their interests represented most effectively, taking into account such relevant factors as size and internationality. Examining a large number of expert interviews, he comes to the conclusion that the information flow inherent to lobbyism in particular reduces information asymmetries between the world of business and political decision-makers, thus exerting positive effects on the development of industries. As the results of his work also show, smaller companies benefit from special interests in larger associations; that lobbying strategies aimed at weakening competitors grow more ineffective as the ranks of competitors increase; and that the future importance of special interests will increase internationally as well. These theoretical findings are ultimately applied in a specific question by Kalzip GmbH of Koblenz.

The WHU alumnus wrote his thesis under the guidance of the IHK-Chair of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and was supervised by Professor Dr. Christina Günther, Assistant Professor Dr. Rainer Michael Rilke and Nicole Gottschalck.

Each year, IHK Koblenz's Academic Excellence Award in Commerce and Industry (IHK Award) recognizes the best thesis papers written at universities in the IHK Koblenz region and prepared in cooperation with local businesses. In addition to academic thoroughness, the competition focuses on the practical relevance of the research.

WHU graduate Tim Willmann

Susanne Szczesny-Oßing, president of IHK Koblenz, Tim Willmann, Stefan Luig, Kalzip GmbH and Professor Dr. Christina Günther, IHK-Chair of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises at WHU