Master Thesis Process
Are you looking for an interesting topic in the fields of Interactive Marketing & Social Media for your final thesis? Then this is the place to be!
During the course of the Marketing master program, students must submit a master thesis worth a total of 20 ECTS credits. The master thesis is an academic paper, which demonstrates our students' ability to independently cover a topic and answer specific research questions using academic methods. In addition to meeting academic standards, students have to demonstrate their ability to translate the knowledge they have acquired in the course of the MSc program to real-world marketing decision problems.
The master thesis is required to be empirical in nature. At IMSM, students will typically make use of primary (e.g., survey or experimental) and/or secondary data, and employ quantitative methods to analyze the acquired datasets.
While original empirical research is expected to be the norm for master theses, in very rare cases conceptual work (such as theoretical syntheses, novel theories, or analytical models of previously unexplored phenomena) might be accepted as well. However, required efforts and expectations from students working exclusively on conceptual papers are typically much higher than in the case of empirical research.
What we offer
We offer you the opportunity to gain insights into current research in the field of Interactive Marketing & Social Media. This often includes the application of quantitative methods to derive insights from data. Our aim is to offer topics with a high degree of practical relevance, which may include a cooperation with one of our many industry partners. You will receive intensive coaching during the time of your thesis and the opportunity to actively participate in conducting State-of-the-Art research in a young and interdisciplinary team.
Finding a topic that best matches your preferences
In order to finish the MSc in Marketing program within two years, we strongly recommend to meet the following guideline:
In your second semester start looking for a topic suggested by a faculty member or start thinking about your topic and looking for a supervisor for this topic. You have to choose a topic in agreement with your supervisor. In particular, students who study abroad in their 3rd semester should get in touch with a potential supervisor as early as possible!
You have to hand in an abstract of your master's thesis project at the end of November in your 3rd semester.
Right after Christmas break in your 3rd semester, you have to present your master's thesis project.
Towards the end of your 4th semester you have to do a final presentation of your thesis.
There is the opportunity of a graduation ceremony (commencement) together with your classmates mid-October after your 4th semester. Apart from completion of all required courses, you have to submit the final version of your master's thesis by the end of May of your 4th semester in order to participate in this ceremony.
Before you apply
Please carefully study the official WU guidelines of writing a final thesis as part of the Marketing master program. Before you apply, please be aware that, at our Institute, we expect you to proactively manage the research and writing process (e.g., by scheduling meetings with your supervisor in appropriate intervals).
You are expected to be familiar with the general rules of writing a scientific paper. To ensure that you are familiar with the peculiarities of writing a thesis in marketing, we provide you with a summary of the most important aspects you will need to consider when writing your thesis with us. However, you will still have to proactively acquire relevant knowledge before you start writing your thesis. These contents are, for instance, summarized in the following readings:
Stickel-Wolf, C. and Wolf, J. (2006): Wissenschaftliches Arbeiten und Lerntechniken, 4. Aufl., Wiesbaden. (German)
Turabian, K.L. (2013): A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Chicago Style for Students and Researchers), 8th ed., University of Chicago Press, Chicago. (English)
Booth, W.C., Colomb, G.G., & Williams, J.M. (2008): The Craft of Research, 3rd ed., University of Chicago Press, Chicago. (English)
Finding an interesting topic
Please consider the following options to find a topic that you like and that you are willing to work on intensively:
Consult the list of currently available topics to find out if one of the open topics matches your preferences. In most cases, this will be the appropriate way of finding a topic.
In addition, we encourage our students to work on their master theses in cooperation with a local, national or international company. In doing so, they may also benefit from our faculty's connections to the business world.
When working together with business partners, please respect the following note of caution: The process of supervising master theses at the Department of Marketing involves numerous interactions with multiple faculty members and peers. In addition, students are required to present and discuss their findings by the end of the fourth semester. While it will be possible to disguise some of the most sensitive and/or internal information, complete concealment of your original research will not be feasible. Thus, when working together with companies, please make sure before the start of your thesis that all parties involved are fully aware of the fact that the thesis will be exposed to the "public" of the MSc in Marketing program.
In case you cannot find an interesting topic among the advertised topics, you may also consult our website to learn about the research fields of our team members. If you have an idea for an interesting topic that matches the research area of one of our team members, you may also proactively suggest a topic directly to this team member. However, please note that the supervision of topics proposed by students is only possible in exceptional cases and the decision to supervise a suggested topic is made by the potential supervisor.
Apply for a topic
You have found a topic that you like? Great!
Please apply for the respective topic by providing us with:
A short CV (including potentially relevant experience related to the topic),
A summary of your grades (“transcript of records”)
A short motivation letter outlining why you are interested in the topic.
Please direct the application to the supervisor of the topic.
Your potential supervisor will contact you after assessing your application and invite you to our Institute in order to explain the topic in more detail. Shortly after the interview, the supervisor provides you with feedback. If the feedback from our side is positive and you are still interested in the topic you need to make your final decision to accept the topic within one week.Note that we do not allow for a topic to be reserved by a student for a very long time.
Writing an exposé
Congratulations - at this point you have found an interesting topic to work on. Now your primary important task is to write an exposé to clarify the topic of your thesis and the way you plan to approach the research problem. The exposé is also intended to help you structure your thesis and should cover the following:
Working title of your thesis
Motivation of the research problem and identification of the “research gap”
Approach to solve the problem and proposed research method § Short outline of the thesis
Preliminary literature list
A plan of your work stages including biweekly milestones.
We will provide you with two examples of exposés written by former students of ours to help you understand the requirements for a very good exposé. Please note that drafting the exposé is an iterative process, which may require some time. Overall, your supervisor will provide feedback on three different versions of your exposé. After each round you will have the opportunity to revise the exposé. We expect you to submit your exposé within four weeks.
Writing your Thesis
Do not postpone writing your thesis as you don’t have more than about 6 months in total (computer crashed or “dog-ate-my-thesis” are no valid excuses and do not lead to an extension).
During the writing process, please report to your supervisor on the progress of your work at least every 2 to 3 weeks. Note that you have to proactively arrange the meetings with your supervisor to receive feedback and check on the agreed milestones. Furthermore, we expect you to provide your supervisor with meeting minutes after consultations via email on the same day.
It is important that you strictly adhere to the formatting and writing guidelines as summarized in our instruction sheet for conducting scientific work. In addition, we provide you with a template for your theses here.
Handing in your Thesis
You must submit your thesis no later than 6 months after having received your topic.
The submission process includes the following steps:
Submit your thesis electronically via Learn@WU and send your supervisor a copy of the thesis via email. Please fill out the cover electronically and place it at the beginning of your thesis.
Besides your written thesis, you have to hand in a short presentation of your results. Please send this presentation to your supervisor by email.
If you are working on an empirical topic, you also have to provide the raw data, which you used for estimation (e.g., on CD or USB). In this case, all steps of your analyses have to be transparent (e.g., by providing the code that you have used) so that your supervisor is able to replicate your results.
The final version of the work is subjected to plagiarism detection. The results of this examination are automatically forwarded to the thesis supervisor.
Generally, we will try to correct and grade your thesis as fast as possible. However, you should plan in 8 weeks after submission (uploading the thesis to Learn@WU) for the correction time on our side in case you need the grade on your student record by a specific date (e.g., for job applications).
Your thesis will be graded according to a standardized grading scheme, which you can download here. Note that the weights of the different grading components depend on the type of your thesis (i.e., empirical vs. non-empirical).
Once your thesis has been graded, you will receive a written grading report from us that details the reasons for your grade.
Finally, we will grade you electronically via Bach and also send you a written reviewer report via email which details the reasons for your grade.
Note that your final grade can only be entered into the system if you provide your supervisor with the filled out documents according to the guidelines described here
The final thesis process from the initial contact to the final feedback:
Here you find a collection of links that are relevant for your thesis:
In case you have any questions please contact Nils Wlömert.