Campus - 17.02.2015 - 00:00 

49 Doctor’s degrees awarded

On 14 September 2015, the University of St.Gallen (HSG) awarded 49 Doctor’s degrees. In his address, President Thomas Bieger spoke about the fact that research in social sciences is never conducted without a context.


14 September 2015. On the occasion of the award ceremony, President Thomas Bieger presented 49 degree certificates: 34 in economic sciences, seven in social sciences, three in political sciences, four in law and one degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Economics and Finance.

Changes in context in the course of time

In management research, there was a vigorous debate about whether management was a science, an art or a profession, but President Thomas Bieger reckoned that all three dimensions are required. "No one makes use of a work if it fails to appeal in terms of the presentation of data, language or design,” said Bieger. “And an insight requires powerful propositions and evidence." At the same time, research in the social sciences was informed by context. Thus in our part of the world, diversity often referred to gender structure, whereas in Latin America, the focus was often on distribution according to social classes. And thus context also changed in the course of time.

Bieger drew some conclusions as to why the social sciences were never able to do without a context. Every type of research was influenced by the researcher. And every researcher was part and parcel of a context which informed his or her perspective. "As with a work of art, the value of a research work can only be understood through the knowledge of its context." Social science research imposes a certain degree of humility on researchers, "for their own insights are quickly qualified by time and other perspectives," said Bieger. He reminded his audience that it had to be the purpose of relevant research to advance practice, "and that is for current problems and rarely for eternity."

Expectations of holders of a Doctor’s degree

Alumna Jacqueline Moeri from the HSG Alumni Executive Board showed the new degree holders what they would be able to expect with their new title. "A great deal will be expected of you. This is an obligation and perhaps sometimes a burden," said Moeri, who was able to understand this as she had once studied at and obtained a Doctor's degree from the University of St.Gallen herself. Moeri encouraged the new doctors not just to "Keep calm and carry on" but also to look for a mentor who would occasionally hold up a mirror to them. Such mentors could be found, for instance, in the HSG Alumni network with its over 20,000 members.

Four prizes awarded

At the Doctor's Degree Award Ceremony, three doctors were awarded prizes. Stephan Winterhalter received two prizes for his doctoral thesis on Resource-Constrained Innovation and Business Models in Emerging Markets: the Dr. Peter Werhahn Prize for outstanding academic work in the fields of Business Administration and Scientific Theory, and the Amicitia Prize for the best doctoral thesis in economic science at the University of St.Gallen. The Walther Hug Prize for the best doctoral thesis in Law at the University of St.Gallen went to Frank Bremer. He wrote his doctoral thesis on the development of sanctions against private individuals in Swiss competition law: Strafsanktionen gegen natürliche Personen im schweizerischen Kartellrecht – Entwicklungslinien der schweizerischen Kartellgesetzgebung. Labinot Demaj received the Rudolf Mäder Prize for the best doctoral thesis in political science, which is entitled Information for Politics: The Polarizing Effect of Performance Budgets on Legislators' Allocation Judgments. Bremer and Demaj had already been awarded their Doctor’s degrees in February. The prizes are awarded once a year, in September.

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