Guidelines for Papers and Theses
To complete the Master of Arts in International and European Business, students have to write a master thesis in English. The master thesis has to be written in connection to one of the courses taken within the programme. Generally, any professor who offers courses that can be accredited towards the MA in International and European Business can supervise master theses in the programme.
The Chair for International Management offers to supervise master theses. It is generally a prerequisite that a student who intends to write her/his master thesis at the Chair for International Management has successfully participated in at least one of the courses offered by the chair.
- For students who started their studies from Fall Semester 2021, a new regulation applies and the master thesis counts for 18 ECTS.
- For students who started their studies before that date, the old regulation applies and the master thesis counts for 27 ECTS.
Accordingly, some requirements are changed. These are marked in yellow.
Different approaches are possible:
- Students can submit a provisional research proposal for a specific topic that they wish to analyse in their master thesis. Obviously, the topics have to be related to the fields of International Management and/or European Business – possibly discussed in one of the lectures. In this case, the provisional proposal is evaluated and if the chair agrees, the student can work under the guidance of the chair to develop a full proposal which is then the starting point for the master thesis.
- Students may adopt a research topic suggested by the chair. In this case they should contact the chair first to discuss some ideas in order to facilitate the process of developing a provisional/final proposal.
Simultaneously with the provisional proposal or the first contact with the chair, students have to provide the chair with a list of their grades and a short CV.
The proposal should be a short paper (ca. 3 pages) including
- the relevance of the topic
- the main questions (research question) to be answered
- the planned methodology (e.g. is it planned to do expert interviews, is it planned to carry out a large-scale empirical survey, etc.)
- a (provisional) table of contents
- a short list of literature dealing with the topic.
After acceptance of the proposal the student generally has 6 months to finish the 27-ECTS master thesis (or 5 months for the 18-ECTS master thesis), a time during which consultation hours by the chair are offered upon request of the students. Students may be invited to present the status of their thesis and their ideas within a colloquium with other master students.
Master theses have to be written following the formal guidelines of the chair which can be downloaded here. To facilitate the application, we highly recommend using the MS-word template that we provide and that you can download here.
Types of Master Theses
Generally, three types of master theses are possible at the chair:
- Empirical research oriented theses:
Students intend to finish a research project by themselves which includes an empirical survey, e.g. of companies or of consumers, and the necessary statistical analyses. Generally, the first part of such a master thesis has to contain a thorough review of the existing literature and previous studies on the topic. Then, a conceptual framework and the basis for a questionnaire have to be developed and finally the empirical study results have to be discussed.
- State of the art oriented theses:
Students analyse systematically and thoroughly the existing (high-level) literature concerning a specific topic and explain the state-of-the-art as well as existing research gaps.
- Practice-oriented theses:
Students who intend to work closely with a specific company for the preparation of their master thesis, e.g. in the context of an internship, write about a specific problem of this company and analyse potential problem solutions. Alternatively, the specific situation in an industry can be analysed using one or several case studies from within the industry as empirical foundation.
However, it has to be emphasised that a master thesis is still an analytic – and not merely a descriptive – work which is based on a theoretical and conceptual foundation and has to fulfil a high academic standard. Even in the case of a practice-oriented master thesis, it is not a consulting paper for a company.
Selection of topics for Master theses
The following is a list of topics that the chair likes to supervise as master theses:
- Nonfood-Discounter in Germany (e.g. Tedi, Euroshop, HEMA, Action, Black, …) – Development, strategies and reasons for their success
- New Intermediaries in Food Retailing – An analysis of players, competitive strategies and the impact on industry value chains in Europe
- The “Sharing Economy” in Furniture – Analysis of the concept and of its relevance for traditional retailers
Gescheiterte Lebensmittel-Online-Shops in Deutschland: Eine Multi-Case-Study-Analyse (Thesis in German or in English)
- E-Commerce Strategies of Nonfood Wholesale Companies in European Countries (you should select a specific sector, e.g. tools, chemicals, etc.)
- Personalisation in Retail Marketing – Effects and Examples
(analysing academic studies on the effect of personalisation, analysing consulting/practical papers on the effects of personalisation, showing and discussing examples of personalisation)
- Market Entry Strategies of Online-Retailers – A State-of-the-Art analysis
(Which market entry strategies are available for online retailers, what has research up to now shown about that?)
- AI in Retail Marketing – Potential, effects and examples
(analysing academic and practitioner studies on the use of AI, showing and discussing examples of AI)
- Quick Commerce in Europe – Emergence and Consolidation of a New Business Model
(analysing, maybe with a lifecycle perspective, the emergence of Quick Commerce players in the major European markets, the consolidation in the last months, reasons behind it, etc.).
- Market Entry Strategies as an Important Decision in International Business – What determines if companies establish a wholly-owned subsidiary or a joint venture?
(state-of-the-art study of the academic literature on this question).
- Lifecycle Models of International Alliances
(Which models with which stages have been proposed in literature? What are their advantages/disadvantages? How do they compare to each other? Is there a model that becomes standard?)
- International Strategies – Which approaches exist to make a strategy more “resilient”?
(Resilience, i.e., the ability to adapt to crises and un-expected challenges, is an important feature of strategies. What does the literature (academic literature and consulting literature) show about this feature? What is recommended for companies to make their (international) strategies more resilient?)
- Sustainable Construction – An Opportunity for Emerging Countries?
(Sustainable construction projects are increasingly started in emerging countries. In these countries, there is often a very intensive construction activity (i.e., very many houses and infrastructure projects are realised). Sustainability is important to save resources. On the other hand, other features than sustainability may be more relevant in these countries. A critical discussion of advantages and disadvantages when sustainable construction is promoted in emerging countries).
- Internationalisation and Digitalization of Manufacturers’ Services – An analysis of the options of manufacturers to provide their services cross-border
(state-of-the-art: What has literature shown about that? Which categorisations of services are proposed in literature? Are there already insights on the advantages/disadvantages of the different forms of providing digital services across borders?)