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Master Thesis

Please note that, due to the current circumstances and restrictions given by the Corona Virus SARS CoV-2, our proposed timelines for writing a thesis at our institute are subject to change. For further information, see the ISC website.

Application Process

We offer continuous, rolling applications for master theses.

Before applying:

  • Review the topic domains offered at IIM (see below)
  • Identify and select your preferred topic domain

Please be aware that:

  • You will be expected to conduct research of an empirical nature (e.g. data collection, experiments, database research, etc.)
  • Research topics will be selected and defined in close collaboration with your thesis advisor

Admission Requirements

  • Passed seminar(s) and/or lectures at the IIM

Recent capacities of the institute determine the number of applicants for a final thesis.

Master Thesis Process

1. Application


  • Identify and select your preferred topic domain(s)
  • Send your application directly to the contact listed with the preferred domain(s)

Application documents as one PDF:

  • Cover letter that includes:

  Matriculation number
  Seminars & lectures attended at IIM
  Start date
  Domain of interest

  • Brief letter of motivation
  • CV
  • Transcript of records (Notenspiegel)

We will confirm receipt of your application within 5 working days.

2. Thesis Agreement / Exposé


  • Exposé: if admitted, you will be asked to write a detailed exposé in accordance with the guidance provided by your supervisor. The finalization and formal approval of the exposé takes approximately four weeks.
  • Registration: once your exposé has been approved, IIM will register your thesis with the ISC. This starts the formal 22 week period to complete your thesis.

3. Research


  • Exchange: structured exchange with your supervisor throughout the supervision duration
  • Colloquium: mid-point presentation of your thesis status at the institute
  • Submission: student is responsible for meeting deadlines and submission requirements as per requirements postulated by the ISC.

Thesis Specifications

English language is required for colloquium and thesis.
Further details can be found in the specific examination regulations of your studies (ISC).

Topic Domains

The Institute for Innovation Management offers master theses in the following topic domains.

Domain A - For-profit firms’ social value creation

Creating social value is no longer an organizational imperative restricted to philanthropic or not-for-profit organizations. Indeed, for-profit firms are increasingly being called on to effectively contribute to society, with major attention garnered by BlackRock’s annual letter to CEOs (2018), Business Roundtable’s redefinition of business purpose (2019) and Klaus Schwab’s Davos Manifest (2020). While for-profit firms have long sought to create societal value through corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities (McWilliams & Siegel, 2001), this approach is becoming insufficient to meet new corporate responsibilities (de Bakker et al., 2020). Students working in this domain will explore questions around social value creation of for profit firms and its operationalization in innovation management efforts.

If you are interested in conducting your master thesis in this topic domain, please apply directly to Marcelo F. de la Cruz delacruz-jara(at) and Cc your application to the IIM office iim(at)

Domain B – Innovating for value and complex behaviors

Services and service provision are the cornerstones of healthcare. Although medical professionals often provide a tangible product with their service, the intangible service experience is what puts the ‘care’ in ‘healthcare’. In addition, the healthcare sector has always been characterized by innovation – in treatments and drugs, in hospital and care systems, in primary and acute care pathways and in chronic disease management. However, research on what patients want and need, as well as the perceived agency of healthcare professionals to provide innovative solutions is sparse. Students working in this domain will explore questions around innovations in and around service design and provision in complex settings, involving complex behaviors, and often negative care contexts while incorporating two fundamental viewpoints: that of the service consumer and that of the service provider.

If you are interested in conducting your master thesis in this topic domain, please apply directly to Alessandra S. Gessl gessl(at) and Cc your application to the IIM office iim(at)

Domain C - Better together? Involving customers in innovation

Firms increasingly involve their customers in innovation to learn from and with them and, thereby, develop better new products and services. There are different forms of such customer involvement approaches, ranging from involving customers as an information source to customers being the innovators themselves (e.g., Cui and Wu, 2016). Despite the advancements in the literatures around customer cocreation, several questions are still open and require further research. For example, how does and can learning from and with customers work in detail and how does it relate to explorative and/or exploitative learning? What are the risks and downsides of customer involvement both for the firm and the customers? What are differences between B2B and B2C contexts? How can these forms of collaboration contribute to sustainable development? Can it help companies to innovate more responsibly and if so, under which circumstances? These are just a few questions that can and should be targeted by future research in the field.

If you are interested in conducting a master thesis in this topic domain, please apply directly to Lisa Welzenbach welzenbach(at) and cc your application to the IIM office iim(at)

Domain D - Sustainability-oriented innovations, sustainable consumption and impact investing

Due to growing social and environmental challenges all around the world, Sustainable Development gains importance in daily life, media, academic literature, and business. Accordingly, also profit-driven firms can no longer solely focus on economic output but must also consider social and ecological aspects. Therefore sustainability-oriented innovations, especially from startups are on the rise.
Students working in this domain will explore questions from one of the following three perspectives: firm perspective (sustainability-oriented innovations and startups), investor perspective (impact investing), or consumer perspective (sustainable consumption).

If you are interested in conducting your master thesis in this topic domain, please apply directly to Max Lindner lindner(at) and Cc your application to the IIM office iim(at)

Management - European Triple Degree (Master)

Please contact spanjol(at) with Cc to the IIM office iim(at) for further information.

Last updated on: March 9th, 2021