part-time professorship

“My virtual office is always open”

In an interview with Prof Dr Malte Martensen, Professor of HR Management and Organisation, he talks about his part-time professorship and flexible working hours at universities


IUBH: What attracted you to a professorship at a university of applied sciences?

Malte Martensen: Ever since I was a student myself, I thought the idea of being a university teacher was interesting. In my opinion, as lecturers we have a unique opportunity to enrich other people’s lives with content and methodology, as well as cultural and human insights. With this, I experience my work as very meaningful and effective. In fact, even on the weekend I already look forward to my lectures of the upcoming week. However, I have a huge advantage: I teach personnel management and organisation, my favourite subject areas in business administration.

IUBH: Why part time?

Martensen: The professorship does not actually feel like part time to me. I tell my students I do not have any office hours, that my virtual office is always open. Regardless of whether its evenings or weekends, everyone usually gets an answer from me within a few hours. It is not as if I am off work when I leave the campus.

So why not a full-time professorship? Because I try to keep my professional portfolio balanced. Part of this is my job as a university lecturer, which I love. Another part is my work as a consultant, trainer and coach. And of course, I want time to spend with my family. I also work with the NGO Childaid Network on vocational education in Northeast India and need free time for this voluntary position.

IUBH: What advantages and disadvantages does a part-time professorship have for you?

Martensen: My students clearly have the advantage that everything we discuss in lectures has relevance to them and their employability. Sometimes I am fresh from a strategy workshop with a client and I bring this material directly into the classroom. This is exactly what our IUBH students expect: practical relevance. At the same time, I take a lot of the students’ ideas and spirit into my projects and training sessions. Sometimes my clients ask me about the opinion of generation Y or Z on a specific topic.

IUBH: Do you think flexible working hours will become even more prevalent?

Martensen: I think we have a pioneering role in higher education and as professors. We have a relatively large amount of freedom in terms of content, methodology and our work hours. We are thus a prototype for the “knowledge workers” of the twenty-first century. That means, if we cannot deal with flexible working hours, who can?


Dr Malte Martensen has been Professor of HR Management and Organisation for master degree programmes at the IUBH campus in Berlin since summer semester 2016. After working in the automobile industry and international management consultancy, Prof Martensen and a partner founded the consultancy firm distinctum. He continues to be part of this company alongside his part-time professorship. Professor Martensen works as a certified trainer and coach and specialises in change management, HR strategies, leadership and digital transformation.

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