"With the IEMBA Thesis, I was able to provide value – that was exactly what I had hoped" Interview with Matthias Miller (IEMBA 8), Angst+Pfister-Award-Winner

Matthias, how are you – a couple of months after the emotional graduation party and receiving the Angst+Pfister-Award, handed out for the first time in the history of IEMBA?

It was emotional indeed! On the one hand, because of the fantastic award but, of course, also because of an incredible journey, the IEMBA studies came to an end. A very intense and emotional time with many inspirational inputs and exciting encounters is behind me now. 

Right now, I am doing very well. After the challenging time of my studies next to the job, I now have more time for my family and me personally. Meet friends, exercise, just breathe – this is on my agenda now, next to my job, of course.

Not too long ago, other things were on top of your agenda, namely your IEMBA thesis «New Business Models in a World of Assisted and Automated Mobile Machinery der Bosch Rexroth AG» – how did you come up with that topic?  

It was evident to me that I would want to link my thesis with my current role at Bosch Rexroth and try to provide as much value as possible with it. In my department of Business Development, we look at the drivers of change in our target markets to then make the right decisions for the future ahead of time.

With the thesis, I could create a bridge from very substantial value for a problem and solve them with the tools I learned from my IEMBA studies. Inside my organization, I talked with many different people about possible topics. During this process, I got a comprehensive view, both personally and regarding content. This is how I chose my case and found a new position within my organization.

Bosch is a big and well-known company. What is your daily business precisely?

Our industry of mobile work devices with appliances like tractors, shovels, wheel loaders and many more is in the middle of a massive transformation. Next to upcoming more efficient hydraulic solutions, electric power transmissions, software-based and connected systems for a more sustainable future are getting more and more critical. Assistant Systems already support the operator in their daily business, and some machines operate entirely automatically. This transformation is not done overnight, obviously and not in all areas it is going at the same speed.

It is not only the used technologies that change but especially the way of cooperation. We view our clients as partners and always try to generate a benefit together. Precisely this is what was the essence of my thesis.

In what capacity is your thesis topic still relevant for your day-to-day business?

The new forms of cooperation are part of my day-to-day business, and we are still working on concrete implementations with a project team. Topics like these must comply with the overall strategy, but overall, the theme is living on in our company: new ways of cooperation are explored, and many tools are used in that process. Seeing that, I feel delighted that I could provide substantial value with my thesis.

Given your knowledge now, is there a chapter in your thesis that you would like to re-write? It somehow sounds like there could be a sequel to your thesis…

The master thesis is done – and that is very much okay that way. The topic lives on but not in the form of a scientific, written piece.

Honestly, I am not sure if this was the last thesis in my life. I think this form of lifelong learning is very inspiring! I recently got to know a very inspiring character that went back to university at the proud age of 60.

After my time at the University of St. Gallen, I can definitely say that with fantastic people, great insights and high motivation, it is fun – and it comes easy!

That is a perfect clue for my last question. What did it mean to you to be awarded the Angst+Pfister award in front of your class? 

The award for the best thesis in our IEMBA class means the world to me. Over the two years, I was able to experience the extraordinary quality and geniality that many of my fellow students had firsthand.

Next to the valuable methods of the IEMBA, the extraordinary support by Oliver Gassmann, and the creative workshop insights by my colleagues at Bosch Rexroth, the exchange about my thesis was profoundly inspiring for me. Being awarded in this special class is a tremendous honor for me.  

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