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From studies to doctorate, via management to professor

New addition to the Faculty of Business Administration: working together for SMEs. Professor Philipp Michaeli is committed to further development through digital transformation.

"It's a great feeling to get to grips with a topic, develop new ideas based on it and drive them forward together with the faculty in interdisciplinary teams," says Prof Dr Philipp Michaeli enthusiastically. He has been a professor at Landshut University of Applied Sciences since the summer semester of 2024. He has been appointed to the Faculty of Business Administration for the competence area of digitalisation in SMEs and wants to make an important contribution to society. Bavaria has the most medium-sized companies in Germany. With 19 million employees and a total turnover of 2.44 trillion euros in 2021, SMEs are a key pillar of Germany's economic strength. Michaeli is now actively accompanying the digital transformation as a professor and supporting the further development of SMEs.

Students experience the possibilities and dangers of ChatGPT

He wants to achieve this by showing students the many possibilities of digitalisation, but also discussing the dangers with them. Last year, for example, the development of language models such as ChatGPT made the headlines. These can be used as versatile assistance tools. They offer great potential for new industrial applications. At the same time, it must be ensured that the results are correct. In extreme cases, this can pose a risk to life and limb, especially in industrial applications. It must be ensured that the results are checked for accuracy. Michaeli therefore recommends "not using ChatGPT for programming, but for checking the codes you have created yourself". Michaeli wants to sensitise his students to the topic proactively and is looking forward to learning from them: "They should try out the various use cases, experience the limits and find out for themselves what is good and what could be improved.

Professional experience in the SME sector paved the way for Michaeli's doctorate

The well-connected father of two was able to gain his expertise on the subject during numerous professional challenges. After studying industrial engineering in Karlsruhe, he started his career as a consultant at the technical management consultancy ifp consulting in 2010. During this time, he had the opportunity to plan, restructure and digitalise factories around the world: a very exciting and instructive time for Michaeli, during which he was able to get to know many different companies, especially medium-sized ones.
At the same time, he worked on his dissertation on "Methodology for the development of production strategies using the example of the engine industry" at the Institute for Machine Tools and Industrial Management (iwb) at the Technical University of Munich. This developed from an industrial project into a research project and then into a doctoral thesis. Whilst working, he designed a systematic approach for an engine manufacturer because the literature did not provide a suitable solution. He even went so far as to receive EU funding totalling almost one million euros through a research application.

Promotion to management and professorship

After successfully completing his dissertation, he was appointed to the management board of ifp consulting in 2015. This gave him the opportunity to familiarise himself with the company from a different perspective with increased responsibility for all areas of the company. At the same time, he fulfilled his teaching assignment at the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management at Munich University of Applied Sciences. His area of expertise and responsibility was digital factory planning.

After a further six years as Managing Director, Michaeli moved into industry at Voith, a globally active machine and plant manufacturer. As Senior Vice President, he most recently managed central industrial engineering and supported the optimisation and digitalisation of global production and logistics systems with his team.
Now that he has taken on the role of professor, the likeable Munich native is looking forward to the new challenge at Landshut University of Applied Sciences. He finds a balance to his job in the mountains or on a spin on his vintage Vespa. His favourite place to develop ideas is in nature, on a long walk in the forest.

University President Prof. Fritz Pörnbacher welcomes the new addition to the Faculty of Business Administration: "With Professor Michaeli, we have gained a colleague who, with his experience in the field of digitalisation in particular, can prepare our students excellently for their professional careers".

Photo: Landshut University of Applied Sciences / Florian Karow
(free for use provided the source is acknowledged)