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Stipend & Tuition Waiver

Granted to all successfull candidates

Programme Start

5 Years

Application Deadline
15 January

Management Concentration

This concentration is one of the three concentrations offered in the Frankfurt School's Doctoral Programme.

We are among the very few European business schools conducting top-level scientific research and training Doctorals in English. Joining the Management track enables you to study cognitive and behavioural processes shaping the decisions of managers, entrepreneurs, employees and customers as well as the external and internal drivers of organisational design, strategy and performance in fast-changing, globalised markets.

Choosing life as a management scholar is an ambitious but rewarding career choice. If you join our five-year Doctoral programme, you will be expected to get your bearings through a number of theory and method courses before moving on to produce research of international scientific standard.

Programme Structure

A prototypical path through our programme would have you brush up on statistical inference, qualitative induction, or machine learning, immerse yourself in the theory of the firm or decision making, beef up your knowledge of your chosen specialist area with internal and external courses, learn-by-doing on research projects with faculty, craft and execute an original thesis, present and publish ongoing work at conferences and journals, go on an overseas visit to engage with leaders in your field, hone your teaching skills and prepare for the institutional demands of entering the professorial job market.

Each field of research specialisation deserves a slightly modified version of the above. To get you started, you will have approximately two years’ worth of courses, beginning with the standard courses required for all Frankfurt School Doctoral students. These will be complemented with the specific management courses. During the course period, you can start exploring research projects with Frankfurt School faculty. The idea is to thus identify an advisory team for the later research stage of the programme.

Management Curriculum

Standard Classes

Mathematics and Statistics

This class sets the foundations for later applications of analytical methods. This includes linear algebra, calculus, optimization, and probabilistic inference. Frankfurt School also offers a preparatory maths class in the summer, for those aiming to brush up before entering this course.


A graduate-level micro-economics course. It begins with consumer decision making and general equilibrium, followed by game theory. Also covered are bi-forms, i.e. the combination of the two game theoretic solution concepts as applied by incomplete contract theory.


The class provides key knowledge on how different econometric models work and most importantly sheds light on their limitations. The course also provides step by step application of new tools to different data sets in the computer lab. You will be asked to replicate, and in some cases improve, prior empirical studies.

Advanced Empirical Methods

This course covers extensions to standard regression techniques and offers alternatives. Bayesian statistics, prediction and validation, simulation models, and machine-learning techniques are among the key topics.

Management Classes

Management research at the Frankfurt School is to move the research frontier, be it through theoretical or empirical contributions. We pride ourselves in making meaningful additions to knowledge by tackling hard problems with novel approaches. To equip students with the foundation needed to join us in this scientific endeavour, we deliver the in-house courses listed below and additionally ask students to partake in specialized courses outside Frankfurt School. This is to ensure that students get exactly the content needed for their idiosyncratic research foci:

Judgment and Decision Making

This class takes a hard look at individual judgement and decision making. It covers normative as well as behavioural notions of attention, perception, belief formation, cognition, memory, emotions, social influence, among others.

Markets and Strategy

This course explores the research frontier in strategic management. Strategy questions rest on attempts to explain performance differences across firms. We cover industry, firm, and individual-level explanations of such performance differences.

Theories of the Firm

This course asks why firms exist, how value is added, and what should be done within/without the firm. It explores the logic and methodologies of the extent-of-the-market argument, of the opportunism-based theories of the firm, and of the resource-based theories of the firm.

Corporate Development Activities

A particular focus on current research on external firm development. The emphasis is on empirical research grounded in organizational economics, specifically transaction cost economics, information economics, and property rights.

Management Research Methods

The additional methods class rounds out the core courses with a specific management toolset. One emphasis is on experiments. We also review inductive methodologies, as well as mixed forms such as latent-variable analysis and qualitative comparative analysis.


You will have a budget for three additional courses suitable for your chosen area of specialisation. These can be offered by Frankfurt School but often are found at other research universities in the region. You might want to deepen your knowledge of Natural Language Processing, develop Bayesian Models of Cognition, or learn how to set up Organizational Field Experiments, to name just a few of a myriad of options available at neighbouring institutions. Faculty and the program office help you identify appropriate courses.

Seminars & Conferences

Research is a social process. Your Frankfurt School experience includes opportunities to both solicit feedback on your own research as well as learn from others’ ongoing research. The former you can do by presenting early drafts of your ideas and papers at the department’s brownbag seminar series, where colleagues provide a friendly environment for improvement. Besides informal chats with faculty and peers, the department’s annual summer school provides an additional intensive event for discussing research. To learn about and discuss current research conducted at other universities, a regular seminar series and occasional conferences with outside speakers provides ample possibilities for interaction with the field. You can find the upcoming management seminars in the below table.

Recent management conferences at FS include:

FS Marketing Research Camp

PROGIC: Workshop on Combining Probability and Logic

SMS: Strategic Management Society Frankfurt Special Conference

Research Topics

The following list provides indicative examples, by no means exhaustive, of research topics pursued by Doctoral students and faculty in the Management Department.


- Searching and Capturing Entrepreneurial Opportunities

- Venture Capital, Seed Funding, Incubators, and Accelerators

- IPOs, ICOs, and Crowd Funding


- Consumer Decisions and Eye Tracking

- Online Retailing and E-Commerce

- Marketing Strategy

Organisational Behaviour

- Relational Models of Behaviour and Interactions

- Affect and Emotions in Organisations

- Personnel Psychology

Organisation Theory

- Sense-Making in Organisations

- Routine Formation and Their Dynamics

- Processes of Learning and Adaptation


- Top Management Teams and Corporate Governance

- Value Capture, Competition, and Advantage

- Strategic Decision Making Under Uncertainty

Sample Publications

Frankfurt School publishes in the top outlets for management research. To get a sense for the kind of research we conduct, please click on the following sample publications:




Academy of Management Journal

Pseudo-Precision? Precise Forecasts and Impression Management in Managerial Earnings Forecasts

Markus Fitza

Administrative Science Quarterly

Colleagues and Competitors: How Internal Social Comparisons Shape Organizational Search and Adaptation

Nils Stieglitz

Management Science

Inferring Quality from Wait Time

Mirko Kremer

Organization Science

Noise as Signal in Learning from Rare Events

Claus Rerup

Strategic Management Journal

Entry Timing and Innovation Strategy in Feature Phones

Ronald Klingebiel

Management Faculty

Strategy & Organisation Area
Data & Decision Analysis Area
Technology & Operations Area
Marketing Area

Student funding and scholarships

Frankfurt School offers fully-funded study places for the Doctoral programme in order to attract and support the brightest minds in academia.

Students are expected to devote 100% of their working time to their masters and Doctoral studies at Frankfurt School for up to five years.

Funding includes a tuition fee waiver and a cost-of-living stipend. The monthly stipend comprises of € 1,200.

The stipend will be granted for five years conditional on the continued satisfaction of all academic programme requirements.

From the second year onwards Doctoral students may receive an additional € 400 for their involvement as a teaching or research assistant. Frankfurt School students thus have a total of €1,600 for their living expenses.

Furthermore Frankfurt School covers costs related to research, including conferences and overseas visits.

Application process

1. Target Group

Outstanding graduates of a Bachelor‘s or Master’s programme in business administration, finance, management, accounting or related fields who aspire to launch an academic career.

Candidates in the final year of a Master’s or Bachelor’s programme are welcome to apply with their most recent academic transcript. Please note that the degree has to be completed by the time of the beginning of the programme.

2. Online Application

The first step of our application process is to complete the online application form. You will need to upload the following required documents. Please note that you need a certified English or German translation for all documents, that are not originally in German or English. The application platform will be open between September 15th and January 15th.

Required Documents

  • CV and list of publications (if existent)
  • Certified copy of your University Entrance Qualification (Abitur, A-levels or equivalent)
  • Certified copy of your University Degree Certificate or equivalent and academic transcript of records
  • Official GMAT or GRE results
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency Test (TOEFL IBT min. score of 100/IELTS min. score of 7.0)
  • Two letters of recommendation from a former academic tutor or from another person in an academic environment.
  • Motivation letter and research interest (description of a possible research project, 2-5 pages, demonstrating how the candidate plans to apply his/her particular interests, skills and expertise to the pursuit of his/her academic objectives)

3. Interview

Successful applicants will be invited to a Skype interview with faculty members of the chosen concentration.

4. Results

The final decision regarding admission to our Doctoral programme will be made by the Committee for Doctoral Proceedings. It is based on the applicants overall portfolio and the interview.