How One Doctoral Advisor Guides his Candidates to Success

Handing over of award to Christine Koehler

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Sönke Albers´ doctoral candidate Christine Köhler won this year’s Faculty Award for the Best Dissertation from the Business Administration and Social Sciences department at the renowned University of Kiel.

Dr. Sönke Albers, professor of marketing and innovation at Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg, is a doctoral advisor who provides the candidates he supports with more than supervision for their dissertations. He guides them to success. The title of Christine´s work is “Essays on the Management-oriented Analysis and Assessment of Carryover Models.” Last year, another one of his PhD candidates, Thomas Fandrich from Kühne Logistics University, received the coveted award.

There is a method behind their success. “To me, rigorous, relevant research is the basis of every individual scientific achievement. It also determines the importance of the individual scientific institutions in the academic world,” said Albers, who is also the dean of research at Kühne Logistics University. “It begins with the choice of topic. It is relatively easy to find an impressive theme to write a doctoral dissertation on. A topic that is really at the focus of academic activity and delivers an important contribution to the current academic discussion requires more. The trick is to actively and consciously involve young scientists in your own research, give them responsibility and space in which they can try things out, motivate them and be a consistent point of contact.”

Albers has little sympathy for university teachers who pride themselves on the high number of doctoral candidates they supervise. “The quantity is not important – it’s the quality alone that counts,” said Albers. “And quality is not a bulk commodity.” He picks his doctoral candidates very carefully and demands a lot from them. But he is there for them whenever they need his advice and support.

His methods pay for KLU: the prestigious Handelsblatt research rankings place the “scientific university for logistics and management” founded in 2010 among the top universities for research performance in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.