Our Engagement, Innovation, Impact and Societal Impact

WFI seeks to extend the university's reach and connectedness by taking part in different projects that support our vision of giving our students the tools and skills to work towards a better world. With this in mind, we engage in a wide number of initiatives and strategic partnerships that assist both our students as well as our partners by fostering innovation and giving direction to new relevant opportunities and solutions.

Our goal is to address current challenges by prioritizing partnerships and high-quality research outputs with societal impact in order to create change. This is achieved thanks to the work performed by students and academics at the different chairs at our university, all of whom are actively engaged in our community and inspire research that makes an impact on the global workforce.


Our Engagement

As part of our mission-driven endeavors and our strategic plan execution, our faculty, staff, students, and alumni engage extensively with the business community, the broader academic community, and society. Engagement with all our extended stakeholders is built into the DNA of WFI and is reflected in every aspect of research, teaching, and service activities at WFI. It is not a stretch to claim that the school does not need to ‘encourage’ engagement, as it is part of the school’s fabric and is an integral part of all our activities. 

How We Engage...

Engagement with the Business Community

At WFI we believe that the best way to educate capable professionals well-prepared for the future is by providing hands-on experience and involvement. By staying closely involved with local and global businesses, we aid our students in their future careers by offering them a wide range of experiences where they can interact with established businesses, organizations, and professionals.

Our faculty and students engage with the business community and with society (policymakers, non-governmental organizations) in and out of the classroom. Among the varied ways in which this engagement occurs, the most common examples across our programs include – a) Experiential learning projects in which students are engaged in solving real business problems for companies, b) Professionally qualified business experts as adjunct professors and lecturers, c) Guest speakers from specialized industry functions, representing all levels of middle and senior management, d) Recruiting fairs and Company-sponsored events, e) Nationally well-known student organization events that attract top industry partners in immersive, multi-day events, e) Boot camps in multiple disciplines that include business leaders, and f) Alumni sponsored and led workshops for professional development.

Some recent, select examples of infusing real-world expertise from business include

Experiential learning projects and student consulting assignments integrated into our courses, across all programs, with industry partners from Germany such as – Audi, HiPP, Deutsche Bahn, Continental, Munich Airport, Media Markt Saturn, and STIHL – and multi-national industry partners from all over the world such as – EDF (France), KPMG, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever. This is not to say that WFI faculty and students engage with only large corporations. Recent experiential learning and student consulting projects with startups and innovative small ventures include partners such as Greenforce, Brigk, BrainEffect, and Achtzig20.

Here are some select examples of experimental learning projects and student consultant assignments.

Nationally renowned immersive student organization led events such as the WFI Consulting Cup and the WFI Summer Challenge which are not only among the most prestigious university events in Germany that attract students participants from all major universities in Germany to WFI but also bring in keenly sought after recruiters and business leaders to interact, mentor and engage with students. Given the small size of our business school, these annual events at WFI have an outsized reputation for engagement, professional development, and exposure to the business community.

Here are some select examples of events hosted by student organizations.

Recruiting Fairs, Company Days, and the “WFI Talente” Organization. Students benefit from recruiting fairs, company-sponsored and led workshops, and company-focused days, coordinated by the WFI Talente organization which was set up at WFI to formalize industry partnerships that help in the professional development and recruitment of our students. WFI Talente conducts in-person and digital events and provides a career portal for students to network with industry executives, find internship opportunities, and get their first full-time job after graduation. Unsurprisingly, WFI Talente enjoys strong alumni support, engagement, and loyalty; alumni come back to WFI to recruit talent, completing a full circle through the student lifecycle.

Here are some select examples of other events where business and students interact.

Faculty and Student Engagement with the Broader Academic Community

Our faculty (including young researchers – doctoral and post-doctoral candidates) maintain close ties with the broader academic community internationally. Faculty members engage in multiple ways, including but not limited to, co-authoring research papers with international collaborators, participating in national and international academic conferences, assuming thought leadership positions in academic journals and discipline-specific organizations, participating in research exchange stays including hosting guest scholars from all over the world at WFI.

Some recent, select examples of engagement with the broader academic community include -

Audi Guest Professorships. This initiative, supported by Audi, hosts an internationally renowned professor for research and teaching stay at WFI and includes a generous honorarium. The visiting scholar also engages with Audi through a keynote speech at Audi’s headquarters on a topic related to their research and scholarship. This prestigious initiative has attracted professors from Asia, Europe and USA. The Audi guest professorship provides multifaceted engagement opportunities for faculty and students at WFI to engage and collaborate with international researchers.

Here are some other participation of select guest professors by our Faculty.

Publications in peer-reviewed journals, participation in academic conferences, and editorial boards of peer-reviewed journals. Faculty members at WFI are research active through highly impactful and visible presence and scholarship in peer-reviewed journals, at academic conferences and service activities such as hosting / chairing conferences and conference tracks. WFI hosts a research brown bag series each semester with invited professors (in-person and digitally) who present latest and cutting-edge research in their discipline. These brown-bag seminars are attended by faculty members, young researchers, and even research-focused master’s students. Additionally, multiple faculty members have held editorial review board positions in top-ranked peer-reviewed journals.

Here are some select publications in peer-reviewed journals by our Faculty.




Here are some select participations in academic conferences and panel discussions by our Faculty.

Participation in Research Networks (ifo Institute and CESifo). Two of our Economics faculty members, Prof. Dr. Alexander Danzer, and Prof. Dr. Simon Wiederhold are active participants in the prestigious ifo Institute, and the CESifo research network, for Economics research. Several research projects, authored by Professor Wiederhold and by Professor Danzer in collaboration with other renowned academics nationally and internationally, inform theory, practice and policy in the field of Economics. Additionally, Professor Wiederhold serves as an ifo Research professor at the ifo Center for the Economics of Education, and as CESifo Research Fellow.

Here are some select participation in research networks by our Faculty.


Our Innovation

The open and collaborative culture at WFI provides fertile ground for innovation and creativity to thrive in all aspects of scholarship. The governance model at WFI, through the elected Faculty Council body, guarantees involvement of all internal stakeholder groups (faculty, staff, and students) on a regular basis. Our governance structure allows for a spirited, respectful exchange of ideas across all internal stakeholders, resulting in multiple innovative initiatives each year. In contrast to strategic decisions made centrally through a hierarchy, or in silos, the governance structure gives voice to all groups within the school and promotes robust discussion and input on all ideas that are discussed during the monthly Faculty Council meetings. Indeed, innovation can come from anywhere in the organization.

How We Innovate…

Innovation Initiatives in Cooperation with the Academic Community

The foundation of our programs at WFI is to create and seek innovative ways of teaching, so we can offer our students the best with the tools at our disposal. To that end, we take great care in providing education that is high in quality, accessible, future-focused, and relevant.

Some recent, select examples of our innovation initiatives with the academic community include-

An innovative Hybrid MBA with business immersions in the Silicon Valley and the German Mittelstand. WFI’s MBA program (weekend, in-person format), which was paused in 2018 for re-evaluation, is now ready to relaunch in a hybrid format that includes 50% in-person and 50% digital learning modes, in October 2022. This creatively re-designed program now includes a global immersion in the Silicon Valley in collaboration with the Graduate School of Management at the University of California at Davis, and a business immersion in the German Mittelstand (Middle Market Firms). A Hybrid format for the MBA, though available in many schools internationally, is uncommon in Germany. This program is poised to offer a differentiated, value-laden educational experience that offers a balance of flexibility and experiential learning, not found elsewhere in German business schools.

Here are some select examples of innovative initiatives with the academic community.

  • Living lab in the Ingolstadt City Center in cooperation with regional companies on the future of urban air mobility. Living Lab - Living Lab (Ingolstadt.digital)
  • KU is the first university to support „YES! – Young Economic Summit“, a nationwide student competition in economics. Each year students, in close cooperation with researchers of renowned economic research institutions, develop their own solutions for regional and global challenges in the economy, society, politics and environment. 

New areas of programming, including Digital and Data-driven Business, and Sustainability. WFI has developed two new bachelor programs, one ready for launch in October 2021 (B.Sc. in Digital and Data-driven Business) and the second for a launch in October 2022 (B.Sc. in Economic Sustainability and Social Responsibility). Both these programs were conceptualized and developed over two years, each starting their lifecycle in WFI strategy meetings that include all professors and the full Faculty Council body.  The Digital and Data-driven Business program addresses a growing need in the industry fueled by an emphasis on business analytics and digital business. The Sustainability focused program responds to an emerging demand from high school students who view climate change as the most important issue of their generation, and from industry partners who are looking for well-trained talent to work on sustainability related initiatives in their organizations. These program innovations represent responsiveness in providing innovative solutions to marketplace needs.

Here are some select examples of innovative programs and courses at our Faculty.

Innovation based on Collaborations and Partnerships

At WFI we put great value into creating relationships with different institutions, organizations, and partners of all kinds. This allows us to not only offer important experiences and resources for our students, but also to contribute to a variety of communities.

Some recent, select examples of our innovation initiatives based on collaborations and partnerships include-

Unique collaborative activities with businesses, with internationally competitive Open Innovation competitions. Integrating experiential learning projects into program curricula is common and expected at WFI. Open Innovation competitions are a novel way in which our students collaborate with businesses under the rubric of experiential learning. Two such recent Open Innovation challenges provide a showcase for the creative talent of our students. In the first example, students in a master’s class at WFI participated in an international Open Innovation challenge by a French multinational energy company, EDF. WFI students created a record with their winning performance in this competition that included 422 teams from all over the world. A total of 31 teams were selected for the second round, consisting of a mentoring phase by EDF executives. Of these, seven were from WFI. One WFI student team was awarded one of three grand prizes in the final held in Paris in December 2019. In a second Open Innovation challenge, student teams from a master’s class at WFI competed with several other student teams to provide innovative solutions to STIHL, with four WFI teams making it to the finals where a total of nine teams competed for three grand prizes. A WFI team won the Game Changer grand prize in December 2021, capping this unique form of collaboration and providing a showcase for the abundant creative student talent at WFI.

Here are some select examples of unique collaborative innovations activities with businesses

Student and Faculty Led Innovation and Initiatives

Our WFI students are our priority, and we wish to offer them the best possible tools, which is why we put special focus into having interesting and useful opportunities and engagement possibilities for them. This includes the UNICEF campus group of the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, a student engagement organization that actively supports UNICEF's work in Ingolstadt and the surrounding area. Our studies programs are designed to prepare students for an international career and for working in interculturally mixed teams. In particular, this is achieved through international and intercultural content in the courses, languages modules as well as intercultural preparation, support and follow-up for students going abroad, Double Master's degree in Business Administration – International Marketing in cooperation with Université Toulouse 1 Capitole supported by Franco-German University  provide the students a bi-national professional training and will strengthen their intercultural competences.

Our faculty also support innovation initiatives as the consulting and support for a rideshare app start-up, developing strategies for early-stage marketing/market entry, and even study abroad programs. The Center for Entrepreneurship is preparing an application for the nationwide EXIST program of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy – BMWi. The application aims to increase the number of university-realated start-ups at the KU, with a focus on charitable and social-scientific establishments, and to improve start-up support at the KU with relevant measures, also at the WFI. Through these opportunities, we teach and encourage innovation, by supporting our students’ initiatives and giving them spaces where they can learn through practice the meaning of innovation and what it can do for their communities.

Some recent, select examples of our innovation initiatives from students and faculty include-

Our Impact

WFI’s mission statement is where the impetus for all impact starts for faculty and students at WFI. Evoking “responsibility, a global mindset, and the creation of meaningful and lasting impact on business and society,” WFI’s mission statement encourages faculty, staff and student led to impact in multiple ways. WFI’s impact can be seen in and out of the classroom, at the regional / national / international level, and on business and society

How We Create Impact…

WFI’s Mission Aligned Impact at the Regional, National, and International Levels.

WFI faculty provide leadership in creating mission-aligned impact through knowledge transfer at the regional, national, and international levels. WFI’s mission states, “…Through our excellence in knowledge creation and transfer we provide creative insights and solutions for sustainable and ethically responsible action in companies, the economy and society…” This emphasis on knowledge creation and transfer to positively impact business and society is evidenced in multiple initiatives and achievements at WFI.

Some recent, select examples of our mission-aligned impact are highlighted here-

Prof. Dr. Jens Hogreve, who holds the chair for Service Management at WFI and also serves as Vice President of Research at KU, was instrumental in developing a joint initiative with the city administration of Ingolstadt, Living Lab, which showcases cutting-edge research on the Future of Mobility and the co-creation of new Ideas with citizens in the region (Region 10, Bavaria). In collaboration with the region’s digital incubators brigk, and brigkair, Audi, and the city administration of Ingolstadt, the Living Lab features an Autonomous Driving Simulator for research on mobility transformation in the region.

Prof. Dr. Dominika Langenmayer who holds the chair for Economics (Public Finance) at WFI serves on the Advisory Board to the Federal Ministry of Finance in Germany. This prestigious appointment on one of the most influential economic advisory bodies in Germany showcases the national impact of WFI on financial policy in the country.

Prof. Dr. Andre Habisch is the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Bayer Cares Foundation, which runs the Social Impact projects of the Bayer Foundation worldwide. With an international footprint, the foundation actively partners with Professor Habisch’s Social Innovation student consulting projects at the master’s level, highlighting WFI’s impressive faculty and student impact.

Here are some other examples of Faculty participating in different Advisory Boards and Committees.

Academic Impact through the KU Research Institute for Business and Economics in Service of Humanity (BESH).

Co-founded by two business and two economics professors, this unique research institute is an active, mission-driven research initiative that produces, nurtures, and celebrates academic research that has a broader purpose and impact on society. Launched in 2019, BESH conducts an annual dissertation research competition and confers multiple doctoral research awards to young researchers from all over the world, encouraging the next generation of academic research that can positively impact the world. In addition, it celebrates international scholars with an exceptional body of socially impactful work with the BESH Legacy Award and the BESH Research Fellows program. After a pandemic induced hiatus, the Legacy Award and the Research Fellows program are set to resume from autumn 2021. BESH is a prime example of the compelling ways in which WFI engages with the global community of business schools with mission congruent initiatives and impact. 

Here are some other select examples of our impact with the academic community

Here are some select examples of partnerships between our business community,

  • Achtzig20 GmbH;
  • Agorize Deutschland GmbH,
  • Airbus Defence & Space Group;
  • Allianz Global GmbH;
  • Aloha Granola,
  • Andersch AG;
  • Audi AG;
  • AUMA Verband der Deutschen Messewirtschaft;
  • Autohaus Kornprobst GmbH;
  • Autohaus Kropf GmbH;
  • Autohaus Matt- GmbH;
  • Autohaus MKM Huber GmbH
  • Autohaus Stiglmayr GmbH;
  • Auto-Weber GmbH;
  • BAUCH Engineering GmbH & Co. KG;
  • Bauer AG;
  • Bayer Foundation;
  • BearingPoint GmbH; t
  • BKU Bund Katholischer Unternehmer e.V.;
  • Bosch GmbH;
  • BonVenture GmbH;
  • brigk - Digitales Gründerzentrum der Region Ingolstadt GmbH,
  • BSH Hausgeräte GmbH;
  • Bühler AG;
  • BMW Foundation;
  • BMW Group;
  • Conti Temic microelectronic GmbH;
  • Covestro Deutschland AG;
  • Dr. Wieselhuber & Partner GmbH
  • Digital Oxygen GmbH;
  • EDF Électricité de France SA;
  • esentri AG;
  • EY Ernst & Young Global Limited;
  • Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V.;
  • Gallup Organization;
  • Gebrüder Peters GmbH;
  • Hanns Seidel Foundation;
  • HINTE Messe- und Ausstellungs-GmbH
  • Hipp GmbH & Co. Vertrieb KG;
  • Hypo-Vereinsbank;
  • iCONDU GmbH;
  • ISKO Engineers AG;
  • KPMG AG;
  • Knauf Gips KG;
  • Ledvance GmbH;
  • MAN Truck and Bus SE;
  • McKinsey & Company;
  • MediaMarkt Saturn GmbH;
  • Molkerei MEGGLE Wasserburg GmbH & Co. KG,
  • Munich RE, AG;
  • NTT Data Group;
  • nurINpur UG;
  • Printkiss GmbH;
  • PWC PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH;
  • Rezemo GmbH;
  • Siemens AG;
  • SIXT AG;
  • STIHL International GmbH;
  • Straightlabs GmbH & Co. KG
  • Telekom Deutschland GmbH;
  • Truma GmbH;
  • Unconventional Capital GmbH;
  • VanillaWorks UG;
  • VHV Versicherungen;
  • Warth & Klein Grant Thornton AG;
  • Wayra Deutschland GmbH;
  • Werk 1 AG;
  • Würth Elektronik Group;
  • ZEB Consultung GmbH;

Our Societal Impact

WFI gives significant prominence of creating and delivering societal impact. We believe that all business schools, and indeed all higher education institutes, have a responsibility to lead by example in nurturing the next generation of business leaders to contribute meaningfully to society. It is essential to set an example for our students and partners in demonstrating that societal impact is not just an aspiration but a reality that everyone can embrace. Business has a moral and existential responsibility to be a change for good in the world, and it can start right here, at business schools.

Highlighted here are some select examples of how we foster, create and promote societal impact through our actions at WFI.

Societal Impact through our Curriculum

Social Impact Start-up Academy (SISTAC), an initiative developed by Bayer Foundation and Prof. Dr. Andre Habisch at WFI enables master’s students in the Social Innovation course at WFI to work with social entrepreneurs in sub Saharan Africa over a 12-month period to jointly address challenges of upscaling the African social innovator’s business model. Creating remarkable social impact over a sustained period of time, SISTAC will usher in its fifth cohort in autumn this year. This unique action learning program actively supports United Nations Sustainability goals #2 (zero hunger) and #3 (good health and wellbeing) while providing evidence of curriculum driven social impact at WFI.

Here some other select examples of our societal impact through our Curriculum.

Societal Impact through Research and Knowledge Transfer

KU’s Research Institute for Business and Economics in Service of Humanity (BESH) is a mission driven research institute that produces, nurtures, disseminates, and celebrates academic research that makes a societal contribution. Research by the four WFI professors who are founding directors of BESH address important societal topics such as parental choice of healthy food for their children, financial well-being and resilience,  migrant worker skills, labor market returns to human capital, and export price and wages of rural workers. BESH, along with the soon-to-be-launched KU Center for Ethics and Sustainability (launching in October 2022) demonstrate a research agenda that values societal impact. The inter-disciplinary Ethics and Sustainability center will be housed in a 15th century building (Georgianum) in the historic city center of Ingolstadt, steps away from the WFI campus, is a collaboration with faculty from WFI, and the schools of Mathematics and Geography, Theology, and Philosophy & Education. These two research centers also point to KU and WFI’s investment in research, people, and resources towards meaningful impact that benefits society.

Here some other select examples of our societal impact through research and knowledge transfer.

Fostering and Promoting Societal Impact

Faculty members at WFI actively provide their time, expertise and mentoring to aid societal impact initiatives in the community. One such initiative where faculty members foster immediate societal impact involves multiple WFI professors who work with, mentor, and evaluate high school students who address societal challenges as part of the YES! Young Economic Summit. The Faculty Council governance structure at WFI promotes the regular exchange of ideas and initiatives among all internal stakeholder groups at WFI, which leads to enhanced collaboration and participation in mission consistent activities.

Here are some other select examples of how we foster and promote societal impact.