Teaching

I am teaching several university classes, on bachelor, master level and beyond. My teaching philosophy is to provide relevant knowledge (i.e. knowledge that will be useful to students in their career) in a way that is both illustrative (i.e. use of case stories, anecdotal evidence, metaphors) but also thorough (i.e. go “deep enough”, not only discuss the phenomenon but also underlying theories).

 

International Management Class, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management

This 3 credits class aims to prepare first year bachelor students for international management tasks. In a mixture of lectures, video podcasts, guest talks, article discussions, and case study work, we cover the following topics: reasons for internationalization, entry modes, institution-based view on internationalization, free trade mechanisms, organizational structures, cultural differences, leadership in cross-national teams, cross-border negotiations, doing business in emerging markets, and knowledge sharing. This class is attended by almost 200 students.

 

Lecture “Managing the Family Business”, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management

In this second year bachelor class, we talk about family firm specifics. The 3 credits class covers the following topics: relevance of family firms, definition of family firms, theories to explain family firms, strengths and weaknesses of family firms, strategy and growth of family firms, innovation and entrepreneurship in family firms, succession, advisors in family firms, governance, and financing family firms. We use a mixture of lectures, guest talks, article discussions and case study work.

 

Seminar “Managing the Family Business”, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management

The goal of this course to prepare third year bachelor students for academic work. In this seminar, we first cover topics such as family firm specifics, academic writing, and academic search for and analysis of literature. The task of the students is to collect and analyze literature on one family firm-specific literature stream. They present their work in an oral presentation as well as a written seminar report that follows the scholarly rules of a systematic literature review.

 

Doctoral course “Theory building in management research”, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management

What is good theory and what is bad theory? Those are questions we aim to answer in the doctoral course on theory building. In this class topics such as perspectives on theory building, indicators of good and bad theory, and reviewing theory are covered.

 

Praxisprojekt “Entrepreneurship and Family Business”, University of St.Gallen

The goal of this practice-oriented master-level course is twofold: (1) Students should apply their theoretical knowledge they have gained in university to a “real case” and create value for a business owner/manager. (2) Students should increase their soft skills (team work, conflict management) and their project management skills. To achieve those goals, the students work in groups of 3-4 to “solve a real problem” (mostly of business owners/managers active in the region of St.Gallen) over the course of 10 months. The addressed problems can refer to any entrepreneurship or family business related issue. Exemplary list of past projects (not comprehensive): Development of “controlling monitor” for a startup. Business plan for an established ice cream shop. Succession plans for specific family firms. Analysis of cooperation potential for two firms of the region. Project to increase employee satisfaction. Project to increase customer satisfaction. …

I have been teaching this course since 2012 (responsible since 2013) with, on average, 25 students attending this class. The scope of the course is 6 ECTS. The class is taught in German and it is part of the “Master in Unternehmensführung” (more information). My role is to help establishing contacts with interested firms, to coach the students (regarding content, team work, project management), and provide feedback.

 

International Entrepreneurship, University of St.Gallen

This class is an “advanced entrepreneurship” class for the international students enrolled at the University of St.Gallen. It covers topics such as opportunity identification in a variety of professional situations, the entrepreneurial process in a VUCA world, and entrepreneurial leadership. What makes this class special is a focus (although not exclusively) on entrepreneurship theory developed within the European context.

The class is a mixture of lectures, talks of practitioners, and project work and its scope is 20 classroom-hours (3 ECTS). I have been teaching this course since spring 2014, with on average 25 MBA-students from universities around the world attending the class. The class is taught in English and it is part of the “International Study Program” (more information).

 

“Managing the Family Firm”, University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland (HES-SO), Lausanne, Switzerland.

This class is part of the “Managing for the Long Run” course at HES-SO, an elective course for first year master students. The class covers the following topics: (1) What are family firms and why are they important? (2) Strategy of family firms (3) Family firm succession and business transfer (incl. financing of SME take-overs), (4) family firm governance,  and (5) family firm advisors.

This class is a mixture of lectures, case studies, and practitioner talks. The scope is 32 classroom-hours. I have been teaching this course since 2012 with an average of 30 students, mostly from France and the French-speaking part of Switzerland. The class is taught in English (more information).

 

“Sustainable Growth of Family Firms”, Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Switzerland.

This 2-day module of the executive master program (eMa Fesh) is targeted at young generation family members. In this executive course, which I taught in 2015 for the first time, we cover topics such as reasons for growth, different strategies of how to grow and related advantages and disadvantages. Another emphasis is on family firm governance as well as on reflexion about the own business and working on a family firm M&A case study.

 

“Theories of Family Firms”, Ringvorlesung Familienunternehmen at TU Munich, Germany. 

The goal of this lecture (given twice a year, since 2013, language German, more information) is to provide students with useful knowledge of how to interpret “news” or talks about family firms. In this class I show the students how they can use “classical” theories such as agency theory, behavioral theories, or resource based view in order to explain family firm behavior. We also use several real life examples to illustrate the usefulness (as well as boundaries) of those theories. I have also taught this class at the Munich Business School International Week (2014, more information)

 

“Strategic Management”, University of Bergamo, Italy.

This class aims to provide master students in an engineering class with strategic management knowledge. The course (40 hrs) covers the following topic areas: (1) What is strategy and why is it needed (incl. important theories such as Principal-Agency Theory and Resource Based View) (2) Tools for strategic management (3) Organizational learning and implementation of strategies (4) Strategic management in a globalized, volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world (5) Disruptive technologies (6) Entrepreneurial strategies (7) Leadership. I taught this class in 2014 for the first time as part of a visiting professorship agreement for fall 2014 with the University of Bergamo, Italy.

 

“Family Firm Strategy, Change, and Innovation”, St. Gallen, Switzerland.

This 4-hour class is part of the “Family Business Week”, a one-week seminar organized by the Center for Family Business that targets owners, managers, and board members of family firms. The content of this lecture is how strategy of family firms differs from strategy in non-family firms, innovative behavior of family firms, and advantages and disadvantages of family firms when the environment changes. I have been taught teaching this class since 2013. It is in German and contains a lecture as well as a short case study. Typically 20-25 participants attend this class.

 

Doctoral seminar, Center for Family Business, University of St.Gallen, Switzerland.

I am responsible for organizing an internal doctoral student seminar at the Center for Family Business which takes place once per semester. The first half-day course took place in July 2014 with a focus on qualitative research design and agency theory in family firms.

 

Further teaching experience

In addition to the above mentioned classes, I have (co-)supervised a number of bachelor and master theses and I am currently co-supervising a PhD thesis. During my time as PhD student, I also ran tutorials for the master-level class “Strategy and Sustainability in Marketing” (German language).

During the last years, I have given several guest lectures and research seminar talks, for instance at the University of Cagliari, Italy; Technical University of Munich, Germany; University of St.Gallen, Switzerland; Otto-Friedrich University of Bamberg, Germany; Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden; KTH Stockholm, Sweden; University of Maastricht, Netherlands.

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