The following FAQ will support you in the process of writing your master thesis at our chair. It provides the most relevant information for students that are interested in writing their master thesis at the assistant professorship of management analytics. It should answer all (administrative) questions that might come up before or during the thesis process.
Alternatively, look up this document for a summarized version of all relevant information.
Our chair supervises master students in the Mannheim Master of Management (MMM) and Master of Business Informatics (BI) programs. The programs differ with regards to the timespan of the thesis and the number of credit points (CP):
These differences will be considered when scoping your topic.
To write a master thesis at our chair, you must fulfill the following requirements:
These prerequisites are necessary, because you need at least some level of experience for writing a master thesis in a technically challenging field like process mining. If you start without any previous experience, you spend too much time learning the basics.
Typically, we do not have thesis topics “in stock” that we can hand out to students. We define each topic individually, such that it matches the research topics of the supervisor and the experience and preferences of the student. Therefore, you should think about concrete topics before you approach us about writing a thesis. Ideally, such topic ideas have emerged while writing your seminar thesis, during the IS 515 course, or in the context of your working student position. Alternatively, you can read recent publications of the chair (or other researchers in the same domain) and see whether those match your interests and offer potentials for a thesis topic. Make sure that your idea is as concrete as possible.
If you want to read current literature in the BPM domain to find some motivation for a topic, we suggest that you check out the current proceedings of the International Conference on Business Process Management (BPM) or the International Conference on Process Mining (ICPM) or the associated workshops. You can also look at the BPM tracks of the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) or the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS). The journals Business & Information Systems Engineering (BISE, Springer) or Information Systems (IS, Elsevier) also publish BPM papers.
In the rare case that we do have concrete thesis topics available, you will find them on our website.
If you fulfil the prerequisites and have found one or multiple ideas for a thesis topic, you can apply for supervision. For applying, please send an e-mail with the following documents:
You should address your e-mail to the employee of the chair who in your opinion has the best fit with the topic (check their websites and publication records for details). If you are not sure, you can alternatively address your e-mail to jpmac. mail.uni-mannheim.de
If we already know you, e.g., because you have written your seminar thesis at our chair, you can skip the application procedure and approach your seminar thesis supervisor about potential thesis topics directly.
In principle, we only supervise bachelor theses if you have previous knowledge in process mining / business process management / data mining because otherwise the familiarization with the topic would take too much time. If you have such prior knowledge (e.g. from lectures at the University of Mannheim, lectures during your semester abroad, internships, etc.), please outline it in your application. If you have concrete topic ideas or wishes, please also include them. All other regulations concerning bachelor theses will be explained to you by the supervising person.
Please find more information here.
If an employee of the chair finds your topic sufficiently interesting and has free capacities, you can start working on a detailed proposal of your research topic. This proposal is very important because it sets the objectives and expectations of your thesis. You can expect that your proposal will go through multiple iterations before your supervisors accepts it. Only then you may only officially register your thesis. Working on a proposal is therefore not a commitment for supervising your thesis! There is always a chance (for you and for us) to decide against supervision if we feel that it’s not a good fit for one side.
In the first iteration, research proposal should be about 3–5 pages (net, so text and figures only). It should contain the following:
You should use the official thesis template (available at the chair website or from your supervisor).
Once the research proposal is accepted, it will serve as an orientation throughout your writing process. However, that does not mean that everything in the proposal is set in stone. If during the writing process, you realize that you need to change something, that is always possible (if your supervisor agrees).
Once your proposal is accepted, you may officially register your thesis. For registering, you need to fill out the official registration form, which your supervisor will send to you. This document needs to be signed by Prof. Rehse and sent to the study office. You can freely choose the official start date and hence the submission deadline of your thesis.
In general, our chair welcomes thesis projects in cooperation with industry. We have a lot of experience in this area and have seen great results come out of those cooperations. However, before starting your thesis project in cooperation with a company, here’s a few things you should consider:
If you’re convinced about doing your thesis in cooperation with a company, don’t let these points discourage you! These projects can be great starting points for your career in a company and may be very helpful in the long run.
Your thesis should be around 60 pages long. If your topic contains a major implementation, this can be shortened to around 40 pages. Any major deviations from these guidelines need to be approved by your supervisor. These page counts refer to net pages (i.e., pages with text, tables, and figures) and do not include table of contents, lists of tables and figures, appendices, and the bibliography.
Your thesis should be formatted according to the chair template (available on the chair website or from your supervisor). The template is available for Word and LaTeX (on Overleaf).
Your thesis project will (roughly) consist of the following phases:
To manage your thesis project, it is helpful to make a rough schedule before you register.
Your supervisor’s task is to guide your research, to help you in case of questions, and (eventually) to grade your work after submission. Your supervisor may be interested in your topic, but that doesn't mean that it’s “their” topic – your thesis is your responsibility, and your supervisor will not do the work for you. This also means that you sometimes need to make your own decisions and justify them.
Our general policy is that you need to be proactive about contacting your supervisor if you need their input. Depending on their availability and preferences, you can either clarify questions via e-mail or schedule a meeting. As a rule of thumb, you should be in touch with your supervisor at least once a month, but no more than twice per month (except for emergencies). If you have many small questions, it’s better to collect them in one larger e-mail or meeting.
If your thesis contains confidential data (for example, if you cooperated with a company), there are two ways to deal with this:
Which way you choose depends on the circumstances of your thesis. It is important that you clarify any data protection concerns early in your thesis project such that they don’t cause problems after the fact. Note that your thesis must always be available to the examiners, i.e., your supervisor, Prof. Rehse, and a potential second reviewer.
Generative AI tools like ChatGPT are great tools to support you in your writing process. However, they should be used with care. The most important thing to consider is that you are 100% responsible for the contents of your thesis, whether you wrote them from scratch, used writing tips from tools like Grammarly, or if you used ChatGPT for certain parts. It is crucial that you recognize that ChatGPT does not actually understand the answers that it provides, can reply with unwarranted confidence, may provide non-existing references, and does not know the rest of your thesis, e.g., which terminology you have defined.
Therefore, you should only use this technology for tasks for which you can (and will) verify the correctness of the output. This means that with respect to your thesis, you should primarily use it as a tool for writing support, not to come up with argumentation and other actual content. For example, you can use ChatGPT to get quick suggestions on how to turn a set of bullet points into a nicely flowing paragraph, or how to improve the textual flow of an initial paragraph you drafted. Do not blindly copy the given answer but pick and choose the parts of its answer that you like, while also making sure that the meaning and terminology of the final paragraph remain correct. You can find additional information in the booklet ChatGPT im Studium (available in German only).
IMPORTANT: Make sure that you only use generative AI tools in such a way that it does not violate plagiarism and other rules of the University of Mannheim.
You need to submit your thesis in two ways:
If you send the thesis via mail, it does not need to arrive here on the date of the submission deadline. Only the submission of the electronic version counts.
Make sure that your electronic and your printed submission are identical. Both should contain the required affidavit as specified in the Prüfungsordnung.
Once you have submitted your thesis, we will automatically issue a submission confirmation and send it to the study office. In addition, we can issue a certificate of passing, which confirms that your thesis will be graded with at least a 4.0. If you need such a certificate, approach your supervisor.
In addition to supervision, you are expected to participate in the chair's thesis colloquium. The aim of the colloquium is to promote the exchange between students and to strengthen your presentation skills and feedback competences. To this end, you are expected to present your work at least once. A good time to do this is around the middle of your editing period, when you already have a good idea of your topic but can still incorporate feedback. Participation in the colloquium is mandatory during the editing period, even if you do not present. The colloquium usually takes place on the second last Thursday of the month. An invitation is sent separately to the respective students as soon as they officially registered for writing their theses.
Master theses are not published. However, very good theses can be turned into a research paper at a conference or in a journal. If this is the case for your thesis, your supervisor will let you know. You will have the chance to work on turning your thesis into a publication and of course will be listed as an author of this publication.
Your thesis will be graded based on the following criteria: