7 Things You’ll Learn at an Entrepreneurship Doctoral Consortium

So you’re considering or pursuing a Ph.D. in entrepreneurship? That’s great!

Did you know we have a fellowship to help with your expenses? The deadline to apply is fast approaching (learn more here).

The Kauffman Foundation funds doctoral students’ entrepreneurship research through programs in the Kauffman Entrepreneurship Scholars Initiative, including many doctoral consortia and workshops.

Over the years, we’ve noticed a pattern at these sessions. Whichever consortium you attend, senior scholars make sure to point out that social capital is key. Scholars need to learn early to manage their expectations, and there are many unknowns and ways to do things.

That said, here are some of the common topics you can expect to discuss at various doctoral consortia in entrepreneurship:

1.     Dissertation research and completion schedule: Something you’ll hear a lot about at doctoral consortia is the importance of time management and keeping to a research schedule to complete your dissertation. If you are at any point in your Ph.D. journey, this is no surprise. To put it simply, the mentors who will work with you know this is one of the hardest things to do and important to think about. Every researcher seems to track time differently; the important thing is to learn to manage it well.

2.     Journal process: From R&Rs to top journals and publishing expectations to approaching editors, the journal process is a stressful experience for the academic world. It can be difficult to know what to expect and how to successfully navigate this process. The main takeaway senior researchers often offer is this: good papers and great researchers get rejected, often. It happens to everybody. There are different opinions on which journals to publish in (this varies greatly by discipline) and how long to try to publish an article, but the advice is to consistently keep writing and keep researching.

3.     Networking: Staying until the end of a conference reception, befriending fellow doctoral students, meeting with potential mentors… Putting yourself out there in general is critical to the doctoral phase (and later phases) of research. Every doctoral consortium seems to stress the importance of social capital. Many young scholars meet some of their closest friends, colleagues, and future authors at events such as these. Discussing research, both fully baked ideas and early-stage thoughts, is crucially important to the research process, and should fully be taken advantage of at these events.

4.     Job market: Twenty meetings in three days, tiny hotel rooms for interviews at the American Economic Association (AEA) and Academy of Management (AOM) meetings, holding out or accepting offers—all of this is a stressful part of an early academic career. While mentors don’t have the answers for what will work best for your particular situation, it’s always nice to get a variety of perspectives on what worked for other successful academics, especially in your discipline.

5.     Co-authors: Who to partner with, how many projects to work on at once, and whose name goes first seem to be popular questions around co-authoring papers. It’s more and more common that published papers (link) come from multiple authors. There is power in numbers. Senior scholars can offer their point of view for how to work with these relationships.

6.     Research personality: Who are you as a researcher helps define how others see you on the job market and early on in your career. At doctoral consortia, mentors help early-stage scholars think through how to structure their defined research stream in such a way that will help shape their identities.

7.     Kauffman Foundation Doctoral Resources: Sometimes we get to showcase some of the resources we have available for early entrepreneurship scholars. Beyond the doctoral consortia schedule and the dissertation fellowships, check out State of the Field, a compilation of entrepreneurship research knowledge created by experts in the field.

Each scholar has his or her own approach to an academic career focused on entrepreneurship. Being prepared, meeting the right people, working hard, and keeping your expectations in check will help you navigate this time in your research journey. Keep up with the Kauffman Foundation for more insights on entrepreneurship research, and get back to work on your dissertation!

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