Staff rotation & research stays

In the TRR 266 it is highly important for us to support our young researchers (PhDs and Postdocs) in building their skills. So one of the many advantages of being a member of the TRR 266 is the possibility of staff rotation: young researchers are able to transfer to one of our participating universities for a couple of months. They also have the opportunity to visit another university abroad for a research stay. On this page they share their learnings and experiences.

Jonas Wessel

The campus at Columbia Business School

Jonas Wessel, PhD student from Goethe University Frankfurt, spent 9 months at Columbia University as part of a TRR 266 research stay abroad.

There are many reasons why I chose to go to Columbia Business School: Firstly, it is renowned for its strong faculty, many of whom are leading researchers in the field of accounting. Working with distinguished professors (especially Thomas Bourveau) provides invaluable mentorship, insights, and networking opportunities. Columbia Business School also offers a stimulating research environment with access to extensive resources, including databases, seminars, workshops, and conferences, which significantly enhanced my research capabilities and exposure. Located in New York City, the university provides unique opportunities to engage with financial institutions especially sell-side financial analysts, which is my focus of research. In addition, living in New York for 9 months is definitely a plus!

During my stay, I participated in PhD courses of Shiva Rajgopal (Research on Regulation and Accounting Institutions), Laura Veldkamp (Information in Financial Markets), and Xavier Giroud (Empirical Corporate Finance). On top of that, I was able to attend the Burton Accounting Conference, the Junior Accounting Research Conference at Columbia, and the 4-University Conference at NYU. I was also able to visit Wharton School for a research workshop. Overall, there were almost weekly research presentations, brown bags, and reading groups at Columbia, in which I participated. I also took up the opportunity to present my research twice in Columbia’s brown bag seminar.

One of the most valuable lessons I learned was how engaging with scholars from various disciplines (e.g. finance and economics) enriched my understanding of accounting issues and introduced me to innovative methodologies and frameworks. I would absolutely recommend a research stay abroad as it continuously develops your skill set due to the various PhD courses available. Additionally, the new environment gives you a fresh perspective which helped me to develop new research ideas. By presenting and discussing my research projects with the faculty, I received valuable feedback for my papers. And lastly, an extensive network can be beneficial for future career prospects.

The best experience during my stay was coming into the office in Ney York City and the people I shared it with. I shared one of the university’s best conference rooms on the 11th floor with a view of the Hudson River with visiting PhD students from Scotland, the UK, Norway, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany. We had fun at the office every day, enjoyed lunch together, went for drinks after work, attended tennis and baseball games, and even watched the Super Bowl there after work in the conference room.

Ann-Kristin Großkopf

Schloss Mannheim: Mittelbau
© Stefanie Eichler

Ann-Kristin Großkopf, Postdoc from LMU Munich, spent seven weeks at the University Mannheim as part of the TRR 266 staff rotation program.

Due to the overlap in research interests in sustainability, (e.g. carbon accounting) I chose the Mannheim Institute for Sustainable Energy Studies (MISES) at the University of Mannheim for my staff rotation. Further, it is a great advantage that the University of Mannheim brings together a multitude of institutes and a diverse range of methodologies in accounting research, enhancing collaboration and innovation in the area of sustainability. In my seven weeks in Mannheim, I was also able to extend connections I had made at other workshops such as during the female mentoring. 

During my staff rotation, I participated in various research seminars and also presented my own early-stage paper, on which I got some great feedback. It was great to connect with my TRR 266 colleagues at work and in my free time. In my last week in Mannheim, the MISES team took me to one of the legendary Schneckenhof events called “Jazz im Schloss”, which I enjoyed very much.

MISES has a great combination of people with different backgrounds, not just accounting. Bringing these different perspectives together is incredible valuable when doing research in sustainability and makes you look at your research projects from a different angle. In general, I would highly recommend a staff rotation to fellow colleagues to form new connections and because a change of your surroundings and new input can be very productive. I would like to thank Stefan Reichelstein and his team at MISES for hosting me in Mannheim.

Kim Alina Schulz

Campus at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management

Kim Alina Schulz, PhD student from Paderborn University, spent one month at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management as part of the TRR 266 staff rotation program.

I selected WHU for my staff rotation due to the presence of distinguished researchers renowned for their exceptional quality. Previously, my engagement with these researchers was somewhat brief, thus I am keenly anticipating the opportunity to forge stronger relationships and absorb valuable methodological expertise from them. During my time at WHU I participated in a brown bag by an external researcher and received a short WHU campus tour as well as a city tour around Koblenz by doctoral students and junior professors. Besides insights into the research of the WHU-located researchers, I got the opportunity to present one of my research projects and received some valuable feedback from their team of highly experienced researchers that improved my study. I would gladly recommend participating in a staff rotation to build connections with new researchers and to benefit from knowledge spillovers between various TRR 266 projects. The insights into other research projects have helped me to think outside the box to further develop my research. Even though I only spent a short time at WHU, I was able to apply some relevant knowledge from my time there to my daily work at Paderborn University. I am grateful for the open and warm way everyone welcomed me, and I wish them all the best for their future and look forward to seeing them again in person soon.

Vincent Giese

UNC Kenan Flagler Business School

Vincent Giese, PhD student from Mannheim University, spent 5 months at the University of North-Carolina at Chapel Hill as part of a TRR 266 research stay abroad.

I chose the Accounting Group at UNC because of its diversity in terms of research interests. Although not particularly large, the group does research in Managerial Accounting, Financial Accounting, Tax, Banking and more… UNC therefore was the ideal place for me to learn about all these facets of accounting research. In addition, I wanted to visit a University in the United States to experience the way in which the academic system works there.

I took two PhD courses, one on Accounting and Capital Markets (taught by Prof. Wayne Landsman) and one on Information in Capital Markets (taught by Prof. Robert Bushman). I also participated in Brown Bags and Research Seminars at UNC. Due to the close partnership with the Duke Accounting Department, I was also able to visit their research seminar. One of the highlights of my time at UNC was the UNC-Duke Fall Camp Accounting Conference. It was great to get to know many of the UNC and Duke alumni and many more accounting researchers that were invited. 

One of the most valuable lessons I learned during the stay is how great intercultural exchange is for a department. UNC has a tradition of hosting international visitors and we were six in the accounting department for the most time during the semester. Together with the local PhDs we were a very diverse group with very different research interests and personal backgrounds. That made the seminars and courses so much fun.  

I would definitely recommend a visit or staff rotation to every one of my colleagues. It is just such a valuable experience to get out of your regular environment and meet new people. Also, it is an amazing opportunity to sharpen your research focus and build a stronger network in our community. I am so thankful to my PhD supervisor and the TRR 266 for supporting me in this visit and giving me the opportunity to have all these great experiences.

I had a range of great experiences during my stay. In particular, I enjoyed going to College Football and Basketball Games. It is just so nice to see how everybody identifies with their university and supports their team during gameday. I also had a very fun time at the North Carolina State Fair with a couple of PhD colleagues. We were particularly surprised by the apparent tradition to deep-fry every sort of food imaginable (from pickles to entire apple pies). We settled on a collection of deep-fried sweets (e.g. Oreos, Snickers). Definitely a special experience, not sure I would do it again.

Christian Sofilkanitsch

Columbia Business School campus

Christian Sofilkanitsch, Postdoc from Paderborn University, spent 4 months at Columbia Business School as part of a TRR 266 research stay abroad.

A significant reason to choose Columbia Business School was the great faculty and fundamental work its researchers have published in the area of financial restatements, e.g. by Shiva Rajagopal in his co-authored paper Chakravarthy et al. (2014) “Reputation Repair After a Serious Restatement”. This is one of my primary interests and an area that I desire to contribute further to with my own research. Moreover, the Columbia Business School is in Manhattan, allowing for many intercultural exchanges.

During my stay I participated in brown bag seminars, research seminars, and reading groups and audited a PhD class held by Shiva Rajgopal. I highly benefited from all of these and have received further insights into evaluating existing research in regards to its relevance and how to present research ideas. For example, some papers relate to accounting as well as to other areas (e.g., psychology). In these cases, it is crucial to emphasize the paper’s contribution to the accounting literature as subjects often overlap with different research areas.

From my perspective, there is much to gain from meeting other researchers with different backgrounds. These interactions can result in exchanging research ideas and meaningful suggestions for further revisions of one’s own work. They can even initiate joint projects together and long-lasting friendships!

The part I enjoyed most about being at Columbia Business School is the time to fully focus on research, interact with people from different fields, and meet researchers from other US schools at research seminars.

Victor Wagner

Campus at the University of Cologne –
© Universität zu Köln

Victor Wagner, PhD student from LMU Munich, spent one month at the University of Cologne as part of the TRR 266 staff rotation program.

I visited the University of Cologne for one month to work on our joint project A07 on firms’ learning strategies. As I had already been working together with the colleagues from Cologne for quite some time, there was nearly no ramp-up time required to get started. During my stay, I especially benefitted from the direct personal exchange with my colleagues and the possibility to do research in a new setting.

While the time went by very quickly, I learnt that changing your surrounding – even for just one month – can make a big difference in terms of creativity and fresh perspectives. Experiencing a different way of work, eating in a different canteen and talking to new and diverse people quickly facilitated new ideas. 

I can highly recommend the staff rotation program to everyone who wants to get inspired by and connect to the great people that are in the TRR 266. It was a great experience and I would surely do it again! Thanks to Maximilian Müller for hosting me and the TRR 266 team for the smooth organization!

Yuri Piper

Views from Yuri’s office at HU Berlin

Yuri Piper, PhD student from Paderborn University, spent two weeks at HU Berlin as part of the TRR 266 staff rotation program.

I chose HU Berlin because my research project at that time as well as all of my currently planned projects are in collaboration with Ralf Maiterth (Principal Investigator in B08 at HU Berlin). Therefore, the staff rotation was a great opportunity to push forward our joint project. During my stay I took part in the local tax research seminar. It is an informal and regular exchange on the current status of research projects at the chair of Ralf Maiterth. The seminar provided a natural deadline for myself to advance my research project during my stay there. It was also very helpful to receive feedback not only from researchers who were already familiar with the project, but also from other doctoral researchers. Likewise, this was a good opportunity to learn more about the Berlin colleagues’ research projects and help them advance their work.

Even though my staff rotation was short, I learned a lot. I think one of the most valuable lessons is to take initiative: Nobody told or asked me to present in their local tax research seminar. It was rather on me to take part in these activities and it really pays off. This also applies to meetings with my mentor during that time – not only to talk about the current research project, but also about planned projects for the future.

The staff rotation program is a great opportunity to meet and get to know other researchers from the Collaborative Research Center and expand your professional but also your private network. Therefore, I can only recommend to join. The change of work environment really helps to gain fresh perspectives on your work. During my time in Berlin, the “Festival of Lights” took place right next to the office. On one evening, we met for afterwork drinks and enjoyed the light installations together. Generally, I really cherished all the afterwork talks and activities together with my two B08 colleagues as well as other doctoral researchers from HU Berlin.

Yuri even did a second, longer staff rotation for four months at HU Berlin to closely collaborate with his Berlin colleagues and drive their project forward.

During my second stay in Berlin, I started to work on a new B08 project for the second funding period. The project is about an online experiment in which we investigate public preferences for taxing wealth in relation to income in Germany. It is joint work with Ralf Maiterth from HU Berlin, who is one of the PIs in B08, and Cornelius Schneider from the University of Mannheim. I benefited a lot from the close exchange with my two B08 colleagues Karina Körösi and Leonie Babilas because they are working on  online experiments as well. Also, the regular discussion with my co-author Ralf Maiterth really helped to kickstart this project in the over the last few months. My stay was also a great opportunity to network with colleagues from the Accounting Institute at HU Berlin. The discussions with them helped me a lot and have given me some new perspectives for my research.

The staff rotation was once again a great way to bond with my fellow PhD colleagues, also in my free time. My personal (non-work-related) highlight was a vacation with the TRR 266 PhD students from HU Berlin to Budapest.

Yuchen Wu

Campus at Frankfurt School

Yuchen Wu, Postdoc at LMU Munich, spent a few months at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management as part of the TRR 266 staff rotation program.

The team’s research at Frankfurt School is closely linked with my research interest and research data. Topicwise, many of the team’s researchers work on disclosure. Datawise, many team members there use data from the Bundesbank, just like I do. Therefore, it was only natural to go to Frankfurt and work together with the team on site.

During my stay I took part in the accounting research seminars. I participated when other people presented and also presented my own project. I received great constructive feedback for my project, which really helped me with my work. What was most valuable for me was to learn from other peer junior researchers and how they proceed with their academic work.

I would highly recommend a staff rotation to my colleagues. It really helped me to get together with other junior researchers and exchange feedback. Outside from work, I really enjoyed our team dinners together. Exchanging ideas and connecting with each other – academically and personally – really was the best experience of my stay.

Pia Stoczek

ISCTE campus – © ISCTE ,

Pia Stoczek, PhD student at Paderborn University, spent a few months at ISCTE-IUL Business School in Lisbon as part of a TRR 266 research stay.

I chose to spend my three-month research stay at ISCTE-IUL Business School in Lisbon after Professor Helena Isidro presented her work at our TRR 266 research seminar at Paderborn University. As her research is (among others) in the area of debt markets – an area I am very interested in and which is the focus of my research –I chose ISCTE to benefit from her feedback for my work. During my stay I was able to participate in the research seminars of the ISCTE-IUL Business Research Unit and also had the opportunity to present my work at one of the workshops. The discussions and feedback I received really helped me to gain new perspectives and progress with my work.

During my stay I learned a lot about the differences in PhD education between European Universities. I got in touch with other PhD students at ISCTE and we bonded over our mutual motives and struggles. Getting out of my comfort zone and living and working in another country where I did not speak the language was an extremely valuable experience.

I would absolutely recommend a stay at ISCTE-IUL to colleagues. In case you want to participate in the PhD courses I would recommend a visit between October and March as most courses were already finished when I arrived. The upside of this for me was that I had time to solely focus on my research without a lot of distractions. Lisbon is a great city and offers a lot of activities for the weekend but you should plan some time to get accustomed. My best experience during the stay were definitely the lunch or coffee breaks with colleagues on, or off campus, sitting in the sun and exchanging ideas.

Tobias Witter

UPB campus – © Universität Paderborn, Stabsstelle Presse und Kommunikation

Tobias Witter, PhD student at HU Berlin, spent a few months at Paderborn University as part of the TRR 266 staff rotation program.

Through our research project B04 I was already collaborating with colleagues from Paderborn. I had heard a lot of great things about the encouraging working environment, so it was great to have the opportunity to directly experience the team and research environment myself. I was especially curious to see how a different organizational structure works – in contrast to my home institution Paderborn University has a departmental structure including a taxation, accounting and finance department. The structure definitely benefited my research: I was directly connected to tax and finance researchers, and oftentimes researchers working on very different topics dropped by my office to discuss research. 

I participated in research and brown bag seminars as well as team meetings and a final presentation of the results of a project-based course. Reflecting on all these interactions I realized how important it is to make time for in-person discussions. Being physically present at the department helped me really getting to know the team and especially fellow PhD students from Paderborn University. Especially the spontaneous exchanges with colleagues and guests felt great after a 1.5-year period of permanently working online.

The departmental structure was not the only difference in structure I noticed, there was also a physical structure difference: the buildings. Almost all buildings at the campus are connected, meaning that when it’s raining outside you can keep dry by navigating indoors. However, it took me the full length of my 5-month stay to master this navigation, or should I say labyrinth.

Jonas Wessel

View from the terrace at Frankfurt School

Jonas Wessel, PhD student at Oldenburg University, spent a few months at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management as part of the TRR 266 staff rotation program.

Meeting new people and expanding my research network was my main motivation to participate in the staff rotation. An excellent research environment with a well-structured PhD coursework program as well as good access to data made me decide to make Frankfurt my home for a few months. As a visiting PhD student I was able to participate in weekly Accounting and Finance Research Seminars as well as weekly internal Brown Bag sessions. At one of the Brown Bag sessions I presented my joint research project with Prof. Katharina Hombach and Prof. Sara Bormann, the feedback we received really helped me move forward with my research. 

My research stay made me realize how important a good research network is: feedback is invaluable. I especially realized that it is better to start collecting feedback at an early stage, instead of working on a project all by myself – continuous exchange and feedback is what makes the difference.

I will definitely miss the summerly dinners and coffee breaks on the terrace with fellow PhD students: interesting discussions were pleasantly accompanied by a great view of the skyline of Frankfurt. I am looking forward to seeing them and other researchers from Frankfurt School at future (TRR 266) conferences and events again: the view might not be as inspiring, but the exchange will definitely be.  

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