From network analysis to strategic networking

The strategic partnership between HAW Hamburg and the University of Rhode Island (URI) began in 2007 as part of the strategic university project 'HAW goes USA'. The collaboration between the business schools led to the double degree course in International Business in 2012. In 2016, Prof. Dr. Natalia Ribberink (HAW Hamburg) expanded the cooperation between the universities by bringing the specialised expertise of Prof. Dr. Natallia Katenka (Dept. of Computer Science and Statistics) to Hamburg as part of an interdisciplinary workshop on quantitative data analysis.

A group of students with two professors

Natallia Katenka's 2018 master class

The workshop is a component of the course 'Multinational Enterprises and the Global Economy', which is part of the M.Sc. in International Business. In the workshop, Master's students learn selected quantitative data analysis methods, their applications for global companies' business data, and how to use the statistics software R. Every year, data analysis is carried out by focusing on a current business topic. In 2020 and 2021, for example, the focus was on the comparative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on financial markets in different regions.

An American master class as part of a HAW Hamburg lecture

The workshop takes place annually at the end of May or the beginning of June. Between 2016 and 2018 it took the form of in-person lectures, and since 2019 it has taken place online. In preparation, students are introduced to the statistics language R and the theoretical component of the course during the summer semester at HAW Hamburg. With Natallia Katenka, they then develop a research question in theoretical and lab sessions for the analysis of the data they receive on the economy. After the first week, the students present their initial results in a 'work-in-progress' presentation and receive feedback from the lecturers. In the second week, they integrate this feedback, producing and presenting a poster with their final results.

For Natalia Ribberink, the workshop is an important component of her course:

Given the easy access to many kinds of data, a key qualification in the current time is the ability to correctly prepare, analyse and contextually interpret this data. This is what we teach our Master's students in the joint workshop with URI.

From the beginning of the cooperation, students have been very interested in expanding the topic covered in the workshop and analysing it in more depth. Some students have subsequently had Natallia Katenka as a second supervisor for their Master's thesis and spent a few months at URI doing research. During their stays in Kingston, they have also had the opportunity to expand their knowledge through additional courses on statistics and quantative methods. In the coming years, the joint supervision of Master's theses will be expanded. There are also plans for US students to participate in the workshop, and for it to be further developed into a more comprehensive COIL module.

From the master class to joint research

A successful joint research project between the two professors – the Dynamic Networks Research Group – has also emerged from this teaching collaboration. Together with the research assistant, Jan-Hendrik Schünemann, Natallia Katenka and Natalie Ribberink supervise Master's students who excel in the workshop and are interested in covering the research topic as part of their Master's thesis. Extracts from some of these Master's theses were presented for the first time at international academic conferences in 2018 and published in a journal the following year. Additional papers are currently under review with international journals. The workshop alumni now include two students who are currently pursuing an academic career. One of them has Natallia Katenka as their joint supervisor for their doctoral thesis; the other is completing a doctorate at a British university. 

Text: Jan-Hendrik Schünemann / Ingrid Weatherall 



Schuenemann, J.-H., Ribberink, N., and Katenka, N. (2018), 'Intra Japanese Stock Market Behaviour – An Analysis of Dynamic Networks', in: Proc. of 31st Annual Meeting of the Association of Japanese Business Studies (AJBS), Minneapolis, USA.

Schuenemann J.-H., Ribberink, N., and Katenka N., (2019), 'Japanese and Chinese Stock Market Behaviour in Comparison – an analysis of dynamic networks', in: Asia Pacific Management Review.

Heim, I., Ribberink, N., and Richert, M., (2021), 'FDI in Critical Infrastructure: Implications of the BRI Project for Resource-Rich Countries', in: Proc. of 2021 Annual Conference of the Academy for International Business (AIB), Miami, USA.

Rojic-Becker, A.M., Ribberink, N., and Schuenemann, J.-H., (2021), 'Supply Chain Sustainability Perceived by Consumers: An Analysis on German and US American Sustainable Consumer Behavior towards Cosmetics', in: Proc. of 2021 Annual Conference of the Academy for International Business (AIB), Miami, USA.

Schuenemann J.-H., Katenka, N., and Ribberink N., (2021), 'US and European Stock Market Behavior Comparison during the COVID-19 Pandemic – An Analysis of Dynamic Networks',  in: Proc. of 2021 Annual Conference of the Academy for International Business (AIB), Miami, USA.


Prof. Dr. Natalia Ribberink
Department of Business
HAW Hamburg

Prof. Dr. Natallia Katenka
Computer Science and Statistics
University of Rhode Island

Jan-Hendrik Schünemann
Department of Business
HAW Hamburg

Ingrid Weatherall
'HAW goes USA'
International Office