Granted to all successfull candidates
This concentration is one of the three concentrations offered in Frankfurt School's Doctoral Programme.
It is offered by one of the most productive faculties in Europe. Ranked among the top in Europe of Brigham Young University’s prestigious research ranking, Frankfurt School’s Accounting group is known for its innovative research in capital markets and managerial accounting.
We train our students in applying state-of-the-art techniques to address questions that advance contemporaneous accounting research. Our faculty is at the forefront of their research area and shapes the profession not only through originality, but also by their editorial work and involvement in global research initiatives. Our doctoral programme, uniquely positioned in Germany, includes a structured coursework programme that provides students with methodological skills as well as with an in-depth knowledge of economics, finance, and accounting. The faculty has a proven track record of working closely with doctoral students throughout the programme and has placed students in some of the best research schools in the world.
Accounting research has little to do with refining the workings of double-entry bookkeeping. Instead, scholars examine a broad range of questions about the role of information in markets and within firms. Accounting research is strongly related to practice, studying questions such as the enforcement of international accounting standards or the way firms use incentives and performance measures to motivate employees. Accounting research is also empowered by the latest theoretical insights from economics, finance, psychology and related disciplines (sociology, linguistics, even biology) and has recently made significant strides forward by adopting methods developed by (big) data science. Accounting, contrary to some stereotypes, therefore is one of the most exciting fields of research in business.
Frankfurt School publishes in the top outlets for accounting research. To get a sense for the kind of research we conduct, please click on the following sample publications:
Review of Accounting Studies
The Quarterly Journal of Economics
Journal of Accounting Research
The Accounting Review
Grounded strongly in economics and quantitative methods, our faculty encourages students to explore creative, new ideas in a rigorous way.
We prefer students to extend the boundaries of the field by incorporating insights from adjacent areas such as finance, management, and the behavioral sciences rather than making incremental technical improvements.
The accounting concentration offers the following courses to help students achieve those goals:
Mathematics & Statistics
Calculus of Several Variables
Functions of Several Variables
Implicit Functions and Their Derivatives
Quadratic Forms and Definite Matrices
Concave and Quasiconcave Functions
Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors
Advanced Linear Algebra
Basic Probability and Statistics
The class provides key knowledge on how different econometric models work and most importantly sheds light on their limitations. The course also provides step by step application of new tools to different data sets in the computer lab. You will be asked to replicate, and in some cases improve, prior empirical studies.
1. Demand Theory
2. Expected Utility Theory
3. General Equilibrium Theory
4. Non-Cooperative Game Theory
a) Dominant strategies and applications
b) Nash Equilibrium and applications
c) Subgame Perfect Equilibrium and applications
5. Principal-Agent Theory
6. The Theory of Incomplete Contracts
Performance Measurments & Incentives
This module provides an introduction to academic empirical research on
performance measurement and incentives. It covers topics such as
financial and nonfinancial performance measures, subjective performance
evaluation, target setting and target ratcheting, relative performance
evaluation and management control systems.
The Accounting Seminars offer new insights into a broad range of accounting, managerial or economic issues. The seminars are a forum for mostly external researchers to present and discuss their work, employing rigorous methodological approaches, including theoretical models, empirical-archival methods or experimental methods.
The class provides key knowledge on how different econometric models work and most importantly sheds light on their limitations. The course also provides step by step application of new tools to different data sets in the computer lab. You will be asked to replicate, and in some cases improve prior empirical studies.
The course aims to familiarise students with the basic concepts of game theory. Students learn different classes of games and a variety of solution concepts to predict strategic behaviour in these games. They will learn how to capture practically relevant situations in a game and the necessary tools to solve these games.
Empirical Asset Pricing
Accounting Information & Capital Markets
This module provides an introduction to the key areas of financial
accounting research. It covers topics such as value relevance of
accounting information, accounting-based valuation, earnings
management, contracting and accounting, disclosure, text-as-data in
accounting, information intermediaries, real effects in accounting,
corporate governance, financial reporting regulation, political ecomony of
Advanced Topics in Accounting
Topics to be discussed include:
1: Advances in startup valuation and venture capital
2: Advances in difference-in-differences
3: Innovative performance measures in management accounting
4: Advances in disclosure research
Students can choose up to three elective courses suitable for their chosen area of specialisation. These can be offered by Frankfurt School but often are found at other research universities. The faculty and the programme office help the student identify appropriate courses.
Master Thesis / 2nd year paper
The second year paper is the first piece of the student’s very own presentable research work. It can also be used to obtain a Master’s degree in Business Research and Analytics.
Research (Dissertation and Defence)
Upon passing the Qualifying Exam at the end of the 2nd year, students enter the research phase of the programme. Students dedicate themselves to their research projects, produce scholarly papers and present their research at international academic conferences. They also have the opportunity to interact with international scholars visiting Frankfurt School to present research in the seminar series.
Why do managers so often underestimate the risk of their strategic decisions? Management professor Stevo Pavicevic tries to answer this question in his work:
"Making decisions is at the heart of professional lives of managers. Despite managers' best efforts, their decisions are often hopelessly erroneous. Here at Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, we investigate why managers make poor strategic decisions, and more importantly, how firms can build safeguards into the decision-making process to reduce the risk of flawed decisions."
Decision making is also important in marketing professor Tetyana Kosyakova’s projects her focus is on consumers rather than managers:
"My research is mainly in the area of choice and Bayesian modeling. Currently I am working on a series of projects, which focus on developing the methodology for estimating consumer preferences based on consumer choice (or purchase) data when consumers are making choice decisions given a large choice set.
A typical purchase decision from a large choice set could be a consumer picking a yoghurt in a supermarket, given a large yoghurt assortment on a dairy shelf or a consumer configuring a laptop given multiple options for processor, memory and other technical features. Traditional models don’t scale to large choice sets or large product assortments due to difficulty of likelihood evaluation. My work is aimed at contributing to this research area."
Dr. rer. Pol students at Frankfurt School often work closely together with faculty members on (larger) research projects. Digitalisation and its corporate impact is at the core of a project of accounting professor Matthias Mahlendorf:
"In a joint project with Dr. rer. Pol students and international coauthors, we are currently investigating how senior managers develop their expectations about their company's future performance.
This is important, because many firms are currently investing in new approaches (such as Google's "Objectives and Key Results", OKR) as well as in predictive analytics. These tools have the potential to solve some challenges that firms have struggled with for decades, such as slack building in performance goals and biased forecasts. However, we need solid research to distinguish between hype and actual improvements."
Research at Frankfurt School often centres on big problems in society, including climate change and wealth inequality. Take, for example the work of finance professor Yigitcan Karabulut:
"My current research interest lies in household finance, with a particular emphasis on studying the factors that contribute to household wealth dynamics and their implications for the evolution of wealth inequality. In other words, I examine why some families are poor and some are wealthy and how this changes over time. Lately I am working mostly to understand the impact of robots on differences in wealth."
After a lot of hard work, the tangible output of research is a publication in a scientific journal. We asked Professor Sascha Steffen about the paper that is closest to his heart:
"Even though it is not my best published paper, I am very happy about my paper on the "dash for cash" of firms during the current COVID crisis. It was not only the first paper that scrutinized this but also unearthed some subtle drivers of corporate cash holdings.
First, cash does not seem to be just "negative debt" (or a waste of resources that some literature seems to suggest) but there is an economic rationale for holding cash. Second, credit risk matters for cash holdings (which has been somewhat neglected in the literature); it is not only default risk, though, but there is a "cliff risk" for firms to become downgraded to non-investment grade which significantly affects cash holdings."
Frankfurt School is among the few schools in Germany and even in Europe to offer fully-fledged coursework, which prepares students for the demands of dissertation research, on a par with what has traditionally only been available in top schools in the U.S. The programme has achieved remarkable successes:
Doctoral students have been invited for visiting scholarships in top schools in the U.S. (e.g., MIT) and in Australia (e.g. University of Melbourne).
The accounting faculty has placed their doctoral students at renowned international research institutions in Europe, in Australia and in the U.S.
Doctoral students have presented their dissertation work in highly visible and competitive conferences such as the Singapore Management University Accounting Symposium and the MIT-Asia conference.
We want our students to share the faculty’s passion for research. Students are an integral part of the Accounting group, benefiting from the many workshops, conferences and visitors participating in our lively, informal, but intellectual culture.
We encourage students to work together with faculty members on their research ideas and students have easy access to all the group’s research resources, including essential databases such as WRDS, IncentiveLab and many more.
Doctoral students have their own discretionary annual research budget.
The annual Doctoral Boot Camp provides students with an informal setting to present their research ideas, proposal, and early draft papers to the entire faculty and receive constructive feedback.
Faculty members play key roles in the profession, serving as editors, editorial board members or reviewers for major journals in the field (including, Journal of Accounting and Economics, Journal of Accounting Research, The Accounting Review, Accounting, Organizations and Society, Management Science, Contemporary Accounting Research, Review of Accounting Studies).
Frankfurt School offers fully-funded study places for the doctoral programme in order to attract and support the brightest minds in academia.
Students are expected to devote 100% of their working time to their doctoral studies at Frankfurt School for up to five years.
Funding includes a tuition fee waiver and a cost-of-living stipend. The monthly stipend comprises of EUR 1,820.
The stipend will be granted for five years conditional on the continued satisfaction of all academic programme requirements.
From the first year onwards doctoral students will receive EUR 1,820 for the period of 5 years.
Furthermore Frankfurt School covers costs related to research, including conferences and overseas visits.
Outstanding graduates of a Bachelor‘s or Master’s programme in business administration, finance, management, accounting or related fields who aspire to launch an academic career.
Candidates in the final year of a Master’s or Bachelor’s programme are welcome to apply with their most recent academic transcript. Please note that the degree has to be completed by the time of the beginning of the programme.
The first step of our application process is to complete the online application form. You will need to upload the following required documents. Please note that you need a certified English or German translation for all documents, that are not originally in German or English. The application platform will be open between 15 September 2021 and 15 January 2021.
Two letters of recommendation: To request the letters from your recommenders, you have to register on a separate platform and send your request from there.
Please click on this link to access the platform: http://apply.interfolio.com/79802
Create a profile by clicking on the button “Apply now”.
If you require assistance, go to the “Home” tab and click the “Dossier Quick Start Guide”.
Once you send your request to your potential recommender, they will receive an e-mail together with a link where they can upload their recommendation letter confidentially. Please provide a deadline for your recommendation letter to ensure we receive it on time. Once the recommender has uploaded the letter, we will be notified and will be able to access it.
Successful applicants will be invited to an online interview with faculty members of the chosen concentration.
The final decision regarding admission to our doctoral programme will be made by the Committee for Doctoral Proceedings. It is based on the applicant's overall portfolio and the interview. The results will be communicated after the final decision.