Campus - 18.09.2016 - 00:00 

68 new Doctors

On 19 September 2016, the University of St.Gallen (HSG) awarded 68 Doctor’s degrees. In his address, President Thomas Bieger spoke about why only new questions, rather than good answers, have an impact on people.

19 September 2016. On the occasion of the award ceremony, President Thomas Bieger presented 68 degree certificates:

  • 46 in economic sciences,
  • nine in social science,
  • four in law,
  • three in political science,
  • five degrees of a Doctor of Philosophy in Economics and Finance, and
  • one degree of a Doctor of Philosophy in Finance.

Asking new questions

In his address, Thomas Bieger reminded the doctors that it is not good answers, but primarily new questions that can have an impact on society, since in contrast to the natural sciences – where development continues on a constant basis – people and thus society were always influenced by the same fundamental questions and fears in ever changing contexts. Accordingly, the fundamental questions often also remained the same in research conducted in social sciences.

A skill which doctoral students have learnt in their studies and which is frequently underestimated, is the ability to ask good, differentiated questions: narrowing down a general interest in a certain field to one research question, structuring this question into separate parts, scrutinising these and asking sub-questions in order to then research these. It is not only in the management of academic staff that this ability will stand doctoral students in good stead. "It also has a societal significance," said Bieger, "for only new questions, or least asking the old questions from a new perspective, advances people’s and thus societies' way of thinking.

Experiences after obtaining a Doctor's degree

In her welcoming address, HSG alumna Prof. Dr. Simone Westerfeld, Group CFO of the Basel Cantonal Bank and Associate Professor of the University of St.Gallen, described her experiences after obtaining her Doctor’s degree from the HSG and focused on three aspects: to begin with, doctoral studies enabled students to excel in a specialist field and in terms of methodology – both were essential for a professional career. Besides excellence, however, a healthy degree of pragmatism and a great deal of flexibility were also required for the achievement of sustained career success and satisfaction in professional and private life. Particularly in times of change and uncertainty, as they could now be observed in the finance industry, this ability was required to muster the necessary resistance to constant change.

Six prizes awarded

At the Doctor's Degree Award Ceremony, three doctors were awarded prizes. Three doctors received the Walther Hug Prize for the best doctoral thesis in law at Swiss universities: Melinda Lohmann for her thesis on automated vehicles from the perspective of Swiss approval and liability law, Adrian Rothenberger for his thesis on the tensions between the prohibition of overcompensation and the principle of congruence, and David Rechsteiner, whose thesis on law in special and exceptional situations and disasters in particular additionally earned him the St.Gallen Walther Hug Prize and the Rudolf Mäder Prize for the best thesis in law or political science.

Nina Kruse received the Dr. Peter Werhahn Prize for outstanding academic work in the fields of business administration and scientific theory for her thesis entitled "Tensions in the management control of innovative projects". Tobias Kowatsch was awarded the Prize for the best doctoral thesis in economic science at the University of St.Gallen. He wrote his thesis on "Emotions in Ubiquitous Information Systems: An Empirical Investigation of Electrodermal Activity and Its Relation to Service Breakdowns, Perceived Ease of Use, and Task Performance". The prize for the best thesis in the Ph.D. Programme in Economics and Finance went to Stefan Legge, whose thesis is entitled "Essays on the Distribution of Income, Attention, and Rewards". Lohmann and Rechsteiner had already been awarded their Doctor's degrees in February, Rothenberger his in September 2015. The prizes are awarded once a year, in September.

The musical background to the ceremony was provided by the Amplify band.

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