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Interview with Boris Benzus, Johannes Voss and Stefano Vincenzo De Simone

The Executive MBA at RWTH Business School is completed part-time. In order to give students enough time and space for work and family, the practice-oriented program at the interface of management and technology concludes with a master’s thesis, which is usually written in groups of up to three people. Within the thesis, students link the study content with a concrete practical task. These theses have already given rise to entirely new business units and many improved processes or procedural models in the industry. A large number of startups have also already been founded. We spoke with three students from our current cohort about their experiences writing their master’s thesis.

The topic of your master thesis is: “Drivers and barriers for the market entry of small wind turbines”. Why did you choose this topic?

As engineers, we are not only enthusiastic about technology, but we have also found climate awareness and ecologically justifiable behavior to be a common denominator for us, so we wanted to deal with this regenerative energy source. We want to inspire broad-based enthusiasm for micro wind turbines and, in our master’s thesis, we asked ourselves why decentralized and easily scalable energy generation with small wind turbines has not achieved a similar market penetration as has been the case with photovoltaic systems over the last 20 years.

How and when did the idea come about?

In a lecture, we once looked at the contrast of market launch strategies from the USA to Europe. As a result, we noted that it is in the European culture to develop products technically very far and then advertise with the implemented features. In America, it is common to spend more effort on sales rather than development. At this point, there is no right or wrong, but we set ourselves the goal of looking at a topic from a different perspective than we know from our daily business. We chose an existing technical product and wanted to deal with market entry strategies and marketing for it.

The basic idea was clear very quickly after we had formed a group. For the concrete topic, however, it took 2-3 digital meetings over an after-work beer.

In the Executive MBA, it is possible to write the master’s thesis in groups of up to 3 students. In what ways was it helpful for you to write the master’s thesis as a group?

First of all, we had chosen the topic in such a way that there was something from each of our fields. Not only did this allow us to dive very deep into the topic technically, but we also complemented each other perfectly.

Writing the paper as a team was much more constructive than we initially thought. Many approaches and goal-oriented discussions quickly emerged. The basis for the cooperation was a good organization because we were partly limited due to the local separation and by COVID-19. Last but not least, writing the thesis in a group is also fun!

We would definitely recommend working in a group.

Master’s theses within the Executive MBA are usually very practice-oriented. What potential do you see in your approach?

Whether a business model can be derived from our master’s thesis is still written in the stars. However, we have agreed that our involvement goes beyond the thesis. For example, we run a website where we upload data of regenerative energy producers to evaluate all relevant information about their operation. From this, profitability, longevity, efficiency, and site suitability can be determined and made available to potential users.

Depending on the response from the market, we would keep it open to create a non-profit company.

What are your visions for the future? What happens after graduation?

That’s an interesting question. We would say that our studies have definitely opened new doors for us. Be it in terms of personal development or in a business context. Apart from wanting to apply what we have learned in practice, we have few concrete plans for the time being. It would be best to talk about this again in a year’s time. 🙂

Take the next step in your career with our Executive MBA Technology Management! Please note that the program is offered in German. Read more about the program here:

Porträt Boris Benzus für Interview zur Masterarbeit im Executive MBA der RWTH Business School

Boris Benzus
Head of Technology
Odenwald-Chemie GmbH

Porträt Johannes Voss für Interview zur Masterarbeit im Executive MBA der RWTH Business School

Johannes Voss
Senior Engineer
RWTH Aachen University &
Authorized Representative
Flexible Elektrische Netze GmbH

Porträt Stefano De Simone für Interview zur Masterarbeit im Executive MBA der RWTH Business School

Stefano Vincenzo De Simone
Business Developer Municipalities &
Sales Manager