Chair of Financial Management

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Schwetzler


Chair of Financial Management

Academic Group

Finance, Accounting and Corporate Governance


Professor Dr. Bernhard Schwetzler

Team Assistant

Alexandra Holzhey

Research Associates

Benjamin Hammer, Heiko Hinrichs, Maximilian Schreiter

Courses (Selection)

Corporate Finance
Corporate Valuation
Financial Management
International Finance
Risk Management

Research Areas

Corporate Valuation
Private Equity
Mergers & Acquisitions
Corporate Finance
Fairness Opinions


Center for Corporate Transactions
Center for Corporate Governance
View e.V.
Value Trust
The Boston Consulting Group

05/23/2017 HHL Prepares for Careers With Top Consulting Firms in Step With Current PracticeMore than 40 percent of the graduates from the Master Program in Management (M.Sc.) start their career in consulting Read ›
12/08/2016 2016 HHL Research Award for Private Equity Researcher During the 2016 HHL Forum, Benjamin Hammer, 28, received the HHL Research Award, which includes EUR 500 in prize money. Read ›
12/07/2016 top Rethinking Leadership: The Leipzig Leadership Model Compass in turbulent times Read ›


The Chair of Financial Management strives to combine theoretical foundations with application oriented elements in its teaching. We prepare our students for a challenging career in an international setting. Therefore, fundamental theoretical models are taught and applied upon relevant questions and examples.

Research at the Chair of Financial Management is mainly conducted by means of dissertations and third-party funded research projects as well as by selected student theses. The overall objective is to perform theoretical research with a potential to solve current problems in real situations. In order to connect our research with practice, the Center for Corporate Transactions was founded as an integrated part of our Chair in 2007.

One goal of the Chair of Financial Management is to support local entrepreneurs and start-ups by providing business and management know-how. This goal is mainly achieved via the non-profit association VIEW e.V. (Association for innovation, start-up and growth at HHL).


The Chair of Financial Management contributes with its courses to all HHL programs: We offer core and elective modules for the part-time and full-time M.Sc. and MBA programs as well as for the GEMBA program, respectively. Our interactive lectures and seminars offer an overview of modern financial theory with its assumptions, restrictions and implications consistent with current research.

We emphasize the importance of theoretical concepts for real managerial decision making. In particular, students have to apply their knowledge and their competences in case studies. Finally, guest lecturers regularly discuss their practical experiences in the areas of M&A, Corporate Valuations and Corporate Finance in our courses.

Course List

  • Finance (full-time and part-time M.Sc. programs)
  • Corporate Finance (full-time M.Sc. program)
  • Corporate Valuation (full-time and part-time M.Sc. programs, full-time and part-time MBA programs)
  • Risk Management (full-time M.Sc. program)
  • Seminar in Finance (full-time M.Sc. program)
  • Corporate Finance/Risk Management (part-time M.Sc. program)
  • Financial Management (full-time and part-time MBA programs)
  • International Finance (full-time and part-time MBA programs)

Our Guests: Acton Capital, PWC, Deutsche Bahn and BCG

Our courses regularly offer room for guest lecturers presenting specific financial topics from real life so that students see how their theoretical knowledge will be applied in practice.

Within this framework, Dr. Tobias Stork-Wersborg, HHL-Alumnus and Manager Valuation & Strategy, as well as Dr. Steve Janner from the Advisory Transactions-Team of PricewaterhouseCoopers AG in Hamburg gave a talk on “The Valuation of Intangible Assets” on December 18, 2015, which is always problematic in practice.

Already on December 4, 2015, Dr. Axel Jansen, Principal at The Boston Consulting Group Hamburg, gave a comprehensive overview of the PE market entitled “PE fund strategies: trends and perspectives”. Moreover, he explained six main trends identified by BCG, which could help PE firms to successfully establish on the PE market.

Fritz Oidtmann, Managing Partner at Acton Capital Partners Munich, held a guest lecture on “Challenges for Growth Companies: About Chances, Temptations and Sweet Poison” in our MSc course “Seminar in Finance” on June 25, 2015. Analyzing not only the challenges growing companies have to face in general but also venture capitalists in particular he explained why an IPO is not always advantageous in growth situations.

On June 5, 2015 Dr. Christian Wulff and his colleague Dr. Steve Janner from the PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Transactions team Hamburg enriched the same course with their talk on “Due Diligence and valuation in M&A processes”. Starting with recent transactions and an overview of the steps of a transaction process they focused on Due Diligence and practical valuation methods.

On January 28, 2015 we welcomed Harald Brost, Senior Project Manager M&A Transport & Logistics at Deutsche Bahn AG as guest speaker within the M15 lecture “Corporate Valuation”. His committed guest lecture provided students with a deeper insight into the practical implementation of corporate valuation and M&A. Mr Brost presented the most important acquisitions and disinvestments of Deutsche Bahn AG between 2001 and 2011 and the strategic goals connected to them and explained the three-step M&A process of the company. We are very happy that the cooperation with the M&A department at Deutsche Bahn could be intensified.


Research at the Chair of Financial Management rests mainly on three pillars: dissertations, third-party funded research projects and selected master theses. 

The overall objective is to perform theoretical and empirical research with precise links to current problems. In order to combine our research with practice, the Center for Corporate Transactions was founded as an integrated part of the Chair in 2007.

Our research is focused on:

  • Corporate Finance (optimal capital structure, risk of default,  diversification, conglomerate discount)
  • Private Equity (PE business model, M&A activity under PE ownership, fund characteristics)
  • Corporate Valuation (dynamic structural models, tax shield and special topics in valuation practice, multiple quality)
  • Corporate Governance (ownership structure)
  • Mergers & Acquisitions (fairness opinions, MACs, serial acquirers, synergies)

We have published our research in leading academic journals such as the Journal of Banking & Finance, Journal of Corporate Finance, Journal of Business Economics and International Review of Law and Economics.

Additionally, we regularly discuss our results in practice-oriented journals such as the CORPORATE FINANCE, Die Wirtschaftsprüfung (WPg) and Zeitschrift für Recht und Rechnungswesen (RWZ).

Depending on the topic, working on a research project or a thesis goes along with individual supervision by Professor Schwetzler or other mentors. We also discuss our research frequently at academic conferences and chair colloquia with all current doctoral students and alumni. In sum, we aim at connecting our doctoral students with project partners and alumni to share feedback and interchange ideas.

Current Research: Dynamic Structural Models and Leveraged Byouts (LBOs)

We develop a model that allows evaluating the financial effects of leveraged buyouts (LBOs) from the perspective of the investor. We provide explicit form solutions for all payoffs from acquisition to exit and therefore feature the determination of net present value (NPV) and internal rate of return (IRR). The model is based on a boundary crossing approach where the default of the target firm is represented as a lower piecewise linear barrier. Those default barriers either consist of debt repayment and interest expenses or are contractually-fixed by covenants like debt-to-EBITDA. Our approach features the typical LBO debt repayment schedules: fixed and cash sweep. Furthermore, the model captures all drivers of performance and leverage identified by empirical studies: firm-specific ones like profitability, cash flow growth, volatility, and liquidation value as well as external ones like credit risk spreads and pricing discounts for debt overhang. We optimize the LBO financing structure for NPV and IRR maximization, and find arguments beyond the classic discussion of the investment criteria: Maximizing the IRR leads to higher leverage, increased default risk and a substantial loss in present value.

Current Research: Private Equity

We use the Chair’s rich dataset to investigate the topic of default probabilities of Private Equity (PE) portfolio companies. Although existing research is limited to the mere comparison of the default probability of PE versus non-PE backed firms, we analyse the way different PE firm and deal characteristics affect default probability.

This topic has become increasingly relevant in the recent “boom” years of the PE industry, because there were many more new market entrants with heterogeneous ways of operating PE firms. It has therefore become difficult for institutional investors to judge which PE firms jeopardize their capital.

The results indicate that specialization of PE firms significantly reduces the default probability of portfolio companies, but only if they operate within the PE firm’s target industry, market or segment. Otherwise, portfolio companies of specialized PE firms exhibit significantly higher default probability than those of generalist PE firms.

Publications of the Chair of Financial Management

Current Research: Conglomerate Discount

For a long time scientists have been studying the so-called “conglomerate discount”, the phenomenon of a lower market valuation of conglomerates due to their diversification. However, interesting questions remain in this field. The availability of an up to date, global data sample helps Christin Rudolph to comprehensively review this issue and to make regional comparisons. Additionally, new research questions arise against the backdrop of the 2008/2009 financial crisis, including the short term and long term consequences of such a credit crisis on the internal capital allocation of conglomerates and on the conglomerate discount.
Furthermore, Christin Rudolph does research on the variety of causes of the discount. Recently, research was done on the influence of principal agent conflicts on the discount in collaboration with Markus Brendel and Professor Schwetzler. In the context of this project, the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition, originally established in the field of labor economics, was presented as an insightful alternative to the established estimation method.

Publications of the Chair of Financial Management

Awards and Honors

The 2015 Beta Gamma Sigma Scholarship, jointly funded by the Beta Gamma Sigma Chapter at HHL and the Friends of HHL, to Benjamin Hammer for his outstanding grades in the doctoral program and the exceptional quality of his research.

EFMA (European Financial Management Association) 2015 Larry Lang Corporate Finance Best Paper Award ($ 2,000) for the working paper “Exit through Exitus in Private Equity Buyouts” by Benjamin Hammer, Robert Loos and Bernhard Schwetzler, presented at the EFMA 2015 Annual Meetings, June 24-27, 2015 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Acceptance at Research School "Stochastic processes and applications 2015" of CIMPA, DAAD and Bernoulli Society in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (Maximilian Schreiter)

HHL Annual Research Award 2013 and 2014 (EUR 500 resp.) for Dr. Christin Rudolph for the excellent academic performance level of her papers and conference presentations.

Leonardo & Co. Award 2012 for the best master and bachelor thesis on mergers & acquisitions (M&A) (EUR 4,000) for Susanne Knoll’s master thesis on the “Influence of MAC Clauses on Offer Premia and Cumulative Abnormal Return” supervised by Professor Bernhard Schwetzler and Junior Professor Alexander Lahmann.

Successful Dissertations in 2014 and 2015

Overview of doctoral theses at HHL 

External Doctoral Students and Their Projects

  • Hannes Kaltenbrunner:
    Does consistency improve the multiple quality? – The German case (publication-based dissertation)
  • Susanne Knoll:
    Contingencies in M&A contracts, especially MACs & evaluation of pharmaceutical patents (publication-based dissertation)
  • Robert Loos:
    Empirical essays on private equity – an investigation of default exits, holding periods and the demography of investment firms (publication-based dissertation)

Finanz-Forum Alpbach 2013

On October 24-26, 2013, the Chair of Financial Management held its triennial finance conference Finanz-Forum Alpbach in Alpbach, Tyrol. This year’s Finanz-Forum laid the focus on current research as well as discussions about future projects of the chair. It was attended by our research associates, external doctoral students, alumni and selected financial professionals.
Our doctoral students discussed their current research results as well as their recent papers, such as Conglomerate Discount (Christin Rudolph), MACs (Susanne Knoll), Mergers & Acquisitions (Matthias Tischner, Johannes Reusche), Private Equity (Alexander Knauer, Benjamin Hammer and Magnus Pflücke) and Ownership (Markus Brendel).
On the second conference day many of the Chair’s alumni joined the forum, giving the current doctoral students the opportunity to reflect on practical applications for their work and providing a unique opportunity to become part of the Chair’s close alumni network. The day’s highlight was the keynote speech held by Professor Dr. Christian Aders, Managing Director and partner at Value-Trust Financial Advisors, on recent developments on the German transaction market.
Subsequent to the academic program the participants and their families joined some extensive mountain hikes in the picturesque location of the Austrian Alps strengthening not only their personal network but also their physical performance.

The next Finanz-Forum will be held in Alpbach in fall 2016.


Center for Corporate Transactions and Private Equity

Facing the growing importance and complexity of corporate transactions the Center for Corporate Transactions and Private Equity (CCTPE) was created in 2007 as an integral part of the Chair of Financial Management.  

Together with the chairholders of HHL’s Chairs of Accounting, Auditing and Controlling, Professor Dr. Henning Zülch, and of Economics and Information Systems, Professor Dr. Pierfrancesco La Mura, our Chair combines the expertise of the most prominent research areas regarding corporate transactions. Our objective is to analyze and discuss problems of corporate valuation from different perspectives in order to discover new research perspectives and to generate innovative solutions for the business world.  

We cooperate with external research partners, such as ValueTrust Financial Advisors SE, the German Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVK) e.V., Deutsche Vereinigung für Finanzanalyse und Asset Management (DVFA) e.V., European Association of Consultants, Valuators and Analysts (EACVA), Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, The Boston Consulting Group GmbH, and Noerr LLP.  

Carsten Knobel, Executive Vice President and CFO Finance, Purchasing & Integrated Business Solutions at Henkel AG & Co. KGaA on our collaboration: “We at Henkel appreciate the Chair´s unique combination of academic and practical relevance.” Our new partner Prof. Dr. Christian Aders, Chairman of the Executive Board of ValueTrust Financial Advisors SE, adds: "The cooperation between the Center for Corporate Transactions and Private Equity at HHL and ValueTrust has been productive right from the start as both parties could build on the experience gained in preceding projects." 

Knowledge Transfer

Besides excellent academic research and high quality teaching we emphasize a lively exchange with practice, working with cooperation partners from both the academic and the business world. In this context, we focus on transferring knowledge and current results of our academic research as well as on the transfer of methodological competence. International conferences allow the members of our Chair to present and discuss their research and to gain ideas for innovative research projects.

In order to highlight the importance of our research and syllabus for practice, we periodically organize projects with prestigious cooperation partners. This background allows for an intensive interaction of both realistic decision situations from the business world and the results of academic research. Beyond this, public events such as the HHL Forum permit a regular exchange with high-level decision makers from both politics and the business world.

Peer-Reviewed Paper Presentations

Modelling Dynamic Redemption and Default Risk for LBO Evaluation: A Boundary Crossing Approach (A. Lahmann, M. Schreiter, B. Schwetzler)
Real Options 19th Annual International Conference, Athens, Greece, June 17-20, 2015
Annual Meeting of the Asian Finance Association (AsianFA), Changsha, Hunan, China, June 29- July 2, 2015.

Exit through Exitus in Private Equity Buyouts (B. Hammer, R. Loos, B. Schwetzler)
European Financial Management Association (EFMA) 2015 Annual Meetings, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, June 24-27, 2015
Southern Finance Association (SFA) Annual Meetings, Captiva Island, USA, November 18-21, 2015
Financial Management Association (FMA) Annual Meeting, Orlando, USA, October 14-17, 2015
22nd Annual Meeting of the German Finance Association (DGF), Leipzig, Germany, September 25-26, 2015

The Paradoxon of Policy Intervention: The Case of the German Tax Reduction Act (M. Brendel, B. Schwetzler, C. Strenger)
Eastern Finance Association (EFA) Annual Meetings, New Orleans, LA, USA, April 8-11, 2015

A Corporate Finance Application of the Oaxaca-Blinder Decomposition: Causes of the Diversification Discount (C. Rudolph, M. Brendel, B. Schwetzler)
Midwest Finance Association (MFA) 2014 Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL, USA, March 5-8, 2014
VHB Annual Congress 2014, Leipzig, Germany, June 11-13, 2014
20th Annual Meeting of the German Finance Association (DGF), Wuppertal, Germany, September 27, 2013
20th Annual Conference of the Multinational Finance Society (MFS), Izmir, Turkey, June 30-July 3, 2013

Inorganic Growth Strategies in Private Equity: Empirical Evidence on Add-on Acquisitions  (B. Hammer, A. Knauer, M. Pfluecke, B. Schwetzler )
21st Annual Meeting of the German Finance Association (DGF) / 13th Symposium on Finance, Banking, and Insurance, Karlsruhe, Germany, December 19-20, 2014
Midwest Finance Association (MFA) 2014 Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL, USA, March 5-8, 2014
WHU Campus for Finance – Private Equity Conference, Vallendar, Germany, March 27-28, 2014
World Finance Conference, Venice, Italy, July 2-4, 2014
European Finance Association (EFA) 41st Annual Meeting, Lugano, Switzerland, August 27-30, 2014
2014 Financial Management Association (FMA) Annual Meeting, Nashville, USA, October 15-18, 2014



Latest Invited Talks

Hammer, B.; Loos, R.; Schwetzler, B.
Exit through Exitus in Private Equity Buyouts
European Midmarket Conference 2015, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, October 23, 2015

Schwetzler, B.
Unternehmensbewertung und Insolvenz
9th Annual Conference of the EACVA (European Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts), Berlin, Germany, November 26-27, 2015

Schwetzler, B.
Unternehmensbewertung von Banken
13th Jahresforum Unternehmensbewertung of the Handelsblatt Fachmedien GmbH, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, July 2-3, 2015

Schwetzler, B.
Cash und Excess Cash in der Unternehmensbewertung
8th Annual Conference of the EACVA (European Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts), Berlin, Germany, October 16-17, 2014

Media Coverage

Student Consulting Project 2015: Our chair set up the cooperation with the Berufsbildungswerk Leipzig, a local vocational training center, for five M.Sc. students to prepare a business concept for the Philippus project. By the end of 2016, the city's first integration hotel as well as the former church hall of the Church of St. Philippus serving then as a restaurant and event location within the framework of an integration business will open their gates.
See „Wirtschaftskonzept fürs Integrationshotel“, in: Leipziger Volkszeitung, June 26, 2015, p. 17 and „Kontrolliert verrückt. Die Phillipus-Kirche in Lindenau erlebt ihren zweiten Frühling”, in: Leipziger Zeitung, July 10, 2015, p. 10.

A major European PE-journal discussed the results of our working paper “Exit through Exitus in Private Equity Buyouts” by B. Hammer, R. Loos and B. Schwetzler. Moreover, we were invited to present our paper at the realdeals European Midmarket Conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on October 23, 2015.
See “The special ones”, in: realdeals. The independent voice of European Private Equity, May 21, 2015, p. 8-9

The Economist mentioned Christin Rudolph’s and Bernhard Schwetzler’s research on the conglomerate discount.
See: “From dodo to Phoenix. Conglomerate, once seen as heading for extinction, are spreading their wings”, in: The Economist, January 11, 2014, p. 54

Professor Schwetzler was voted "Professor of the Week" by the Financial Times. Every Tuesday the Financial Times asks a business school professor to define a key term for the FT Lexicon, an online economics, business and finance glossary. Professor Schwetzler has chosen to define the term “tax shield”.
You can read the online article here: (June 2013).


Prof. Dr. Bernhard Schwetzler
Chairholder | Academic Director
MBA Programs
T +49 341 9851-686
F +49 341 9851-689
Dipl.-Kffr. Alexandra Holzhey, M.A.
Team Assistant
T +49 341 9851-685
F +49 341 9851-689
Benjamin Hammer, M.Sc.
Research Associate
T +49 341 9851-652
F +49 341 9851-689
Heiko Hinrichs, M.Sc.
Research Associate
T +49 341 9851-688
F +49 341 9851-689
Maximilian Schreiter, M.Sc.
Research Associate
T +49 341 9851-690
F +49 341 9851-689
Entrepreneurship & Technology Transfer
Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship

Accreditation & Rankings

Among the leading EMBA
programs worldwide

Top 5 in Germany

Most International University
in Germany

#1 for Entrepreneurship
in Germany

Favorite Business School
in Germany