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Scientific exchange

Scientific exchange

From Theory to Application and Back Again

The belief in the potential of game-theoretical findings was motivation for the launch of TWS Partners and is still the foundation for our business model's success today. The constant exchange we have with science is fundamental; through close cooperation with renowned universities, as well as renowned research institutes, we are always in a position to incorporate the latest findings from science into our approach. Prof. Dr. Vitali Gretschko, Head of the ZEW Research Group "Market Design" and Professor for Market Design at the University of Mannheim and Dr. Andreas Engel, Partner at TWS Partners, explain in detail how this intensive exchange works and how both sides benefit.

Prof. Dr. Vitali Gretschko,
Head of the ZEW Research Group "Market Design"
and Professor for Market Design at the University of Mannheim

Dr. Andreas Engel,
Partner at TWS Partners

As a Partner at TWS Partners you coordinate the exchange with academia. Why is this collaboration so important for TWS Partners?

On the one hand, we are driven to achieve the best results in our projects and to be innovative. For this, new input from the world of science is fundamental. On the other hand, we want to identify the talents that match our needs, and the exchange with academia allows us to recruit directly from the source. Last but not least, it is still fun for me to translate abstract thoughts into concrete solutions for practical application so you could say I straddle both worlds.

 
Andreas, what does your past career look like and how did you meet TWS Partners?

Even during my business studies, I was interested in analytical topics such as industrial economics and capital market efficiency, but also in specific applications like M&A deals and market entry. When I then sat in Professor Wambach's lectures on the subject of game theory, I was fascinated by the "new" aspect of strategic interaction and the dynamic view of the market and I applied for a doctorate including an assignment as a lecturer. This was important to me, as I have always regarded the exchange and transfer of knowledge to young people as extremely enriching.

Already at the university, I then worked with Professor Wambach on Procurement-related issues with a focus on risk management in Procurement auctions. Although our research received very positive feedback and awards, it became clear to me in the course of the doctoral thesis that I see my future in the application of theory rather than in pure research. As a former doctoral student of Professor Wambach, it was an obvious move for me to apply to TWS Partners.

 

You were the only "business" presenter, surrounded by academia, at a ZEW market design event in February. What do you personally draw from this exchange?

At such events it becomes clear that there is still a great deal to explore regarding problems such as combinatorial auctions, bundling, innovations and market design, which are relevant to business. Particularly with regard to understandable, robust implementation and also innovative approaches. I find it excellent that, in this research area, not only are theoretical models developed, but also experimental and empirical research is carried out. Even if some of the problems are not directly applicable to industrial purchases, the exchange is refreshing. For the first time, some of the experts clients also attended. It is good to see that the world of academia and the world’s market leaders are sharing the same space.

How do you transfer this theory into practice at TWS Partners and why do you continue to do this?

This is, strictly speaking, a bit like research; our customers usually come to us when they have a special challenge or want to drive change. Our task is to analyse situations, identify relevant game theoretic parameters and approaches, incentive structures and conflicts, and to work out a solution based on this. It is always important to compare this with the latest scientific findings, as we are usually in very challenging situations and every starting point is relevant in developing a solution. In this respect, the results of the experiments and field studies, as well as improvements in established approaches, are not only intellectually welcome, but also support implementation.