Behavioral Economics meets real world challenges. A project rally (Plug-In Modul)

Seminar leader Martina Wayand (Chair of Corporate Management, Prof. Mohnen, TUM Center for Study & Teaching), Karina Konieczny (Chair of Corporate Management, Prof. Mohnen), Farzan Banihashemi (Chair of Energy Efficient Design and Building, Prof. Lang), Sandra Hirsch (TUM Center for Study & Teaching, until 2020 Chair of Industrial Design, Prof. Frenkler)
Course language English
Credit points (ECTS) 6
Participants max. 24

Course objective

This module offers participants from all backgrounds an overview of current issues in behavioral economics and their application on current societal or environmental challenges and gives them the opportunity to examine one topic in more detail. Emphasis is put on aspects of choice architecture, nudging/green nudges, herding, and further phenomena of behavioral economics and their application on a real world case.

In introductory sessions, the topic of the current project is presented and the relevant behavioral economics basics and project management knowledge are imparted. In this module students are encouraged to think outside the box, so design thinking principles are introduced and aspects of customer focused energy efficient building are conveyed. Students develop a detailed project plan and apply principles and tools of behavioral economics of a real case. This semesters´ case relates to customer behavior in a sports club (MTV München von 1879 e.V.) and possible behavioral interventions with focus on a more sustainable lifestyle.  The student teams are competing against each other and at the end of the module the most innovative project pitch is selected and honored by a jury of experts and the client.

Furthermore, students will strengthen their soft skills. To reflect about these skills, team coaching and personal coaching are an offer on a voluntary basis.


The seminar addresses the following issues:

  • What do we understand by behavioral economics?
  • What is sustainability and what are reasons behind sustainable actions?
  • Incentives and nudging for sustainability - Using Behavioral Economics to foster sustainable behavior in a real life context
  • Basics of project management
  • Aspects of design thinking
  • Insights to customer focused, energy efficient building design
  • Soft skills development

Scientific readings will be recommended during the Kick-off meeting.

For those, who are interested to first dive into the field of behavioral economics in advance, we recommend the following literature:

  • Thaler, R.H; Sunstein, C.R. (2009): Nudge. Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness, New York
  • Kahnemann, D. (2021): Thinking, fast and slow, London
  • Kahnemann, D.; Tversky, A. (2000): Choices, Values, and Frames. Cambridge University Press (ed.), New York
  • Ariely, D. (2010): Predictably Irrational. New York
  • Thaler, R.H. (2015): Misbehaving. The making of Behavioral Economics. New York

Target Group & Application

This Plug-In Module is part of the newly established TUM Project Week and open for Master students of all TUM schools and departments.

For applying for the Plug-In module students have to send their application (one pdf via email) to

The application should consist of an application letter (not more than 1 page), explaining the reasons for taking part in the seminar and the contributions the applicant can make to the project (based on personal background and study program). Additionally, a recent transcript of records and a CV is mandatory.

Application is still possible.


Participants are required to make the following contributions:

  • Project proposal (50%)
  • Project pitch (50%)
  • Active participation in class is expected

The examination consists of a written project report consisting of a project proposal comprising a description of the relevant project planning steps and calculation of the expected costs, people, and time required as well as a meaningful use of behavioral economic instruments to innovatively bridge people´s attitude behavior gap.

An oral pitch of the project proposal in front of the class, a jury of experts, and the client is also required.

Additionally, the project progress has to be reflected and presented within the project coaching sessions.


The main elements of the seminar are two introductory sessions, two project coaching sessions, one team coaching (& individual coaching sessions), the project week, and a project pitch (team presentations), and a project report.

The Plug-In module consists of the following milestones (preliminary schedule):

November 8

5  – 9 pm 

Session 1

December 6

5  – 9 pm 

Session 2

December 13

5  – 9 pm

Session 3

January 9 - 13

9 am – 6 pm

Project week

January 31


Deadline for submission of the project report



feedback sessions


Sessions will be held in class @TUM School of Management, @MTV München e.V., and via Zoom. Links will be provided in time.