Greatest opportunities for a DAX board career for WHU alumni

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management

Alumni from WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management are very well represented on the boards of DAX, MDAX and SDAX companies. This is the result of the annual survey “Fact Check Management Board Structures” by the management consulting firm Horváth. That is it
WHU leader in Germany in relative numbers and among younger DAX board members.

Greatest opportunities for a DAX board career for WHU alumni

If you only look at those under the age of 54 among the more than 500 analyzed board members in the DAX companies, graduates from the business school in Vallendar make up the largest share. The next generation of executives in the largest German companies is increasingly coming from the WHU, which was first founded in 1984 as a private university-ranked business school.

In absolute numbers, the alumni are from University of Cologne With 20 Most board members in all DAX companies. In second place is RWTH Aachen University (18) and they share third place Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich and Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster with each 15. Of WHU come 11 board members. If you put these numbers in relation to the number of students at the respective universities, the WHU is ahead in relation to its size. With a total of 1,880 students, there is an average of one DAX board member 171 student. At the much larger state universities, the situation is significantly different. The University of Cologne has one board member per 2,575 th most common students and from RWTH one per 2,626 student. “As the ranking of the top 10 universities shows, it is not the university’s catchment area that is decisive, but rather its academic quality and reputation,” explains Dr. Oliver Greiner, partner at Horváth for strategy and transformation.

The study also concluded that a degree is still one of the most important requirements for a DAX board position. More than 85 percent of all board members with German citizenship have an education, more than a third of them also have a doctorate. In addition, an internationally oriented course of study is becoming more and more important according to the results of “Faktencheck Executive Structures”.

WHU candidates are not only strongly represented on the boards of DAX companies. They are also often successful entrepreneurs. 15 unicorns, i.e. companies that were already valued at more than a billion US dollars before being listed or closed down have now been produced by WHU alumni. This means that there are on average 1.4 Einhorn founders for every 1000 WHU candidates (calculation based on LinkedIn data). The corresponding analysis from the venture capital company Antler also comes to the conclusion that more than a quarter of all Einhorn founders in the entire DACH region over the past 20 years come from either the WHU or the Technical University of Munich (TUM). A calculation from TUM also shows that the WHU in relation to the number of students produces the most start-ups in Germany.

WHU alumni on DAX boards

– Dr. Thomas Töpfer (Diploma 1996): Covestro

– Andreas Grandinger (Diploma 1996): CTS Eventim

– Birgit Bohle (Diploma 1998): Deutsche Telekom

– Dr Mark Spieker (PhD 2002): E.ON

– Dominik Richter (BSc 2009): HeyFresh (not included in the study)

– Thomas Griesel (BSc 2009): HeyFresh (not included in the study)

– Ingo Franklin Chu (Diploma 1995): new job

– Dr Thomas Schroeter (PhD 2007): Scout 24

– Dr Wilm Langenbach (Diploma 1996): Talanx

– Dr Arno Antlitz (PhD 1999): Volkswagen

– Robert Gentz ​​(BBA 2007): Zalando

– David Schneider (Diploma 2007): Zalando

– David Schröder (Diploma 2007): Zalando


Bernadette Wagener
Associate Director Public Relations
WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management
Campus Vallendar, Burgplatz 2, 56179 Vallendar, Germany
Tel.: +49 261 6509-540;;
WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management is the Business School of the WHU Foundation.

Leave a Comment