Adventures in Doctoral Research (or EDBAs can be fun)

A few years ago at École des Ponts Business School we started a new genre of Executive DBA program that starts with an introspective Learning Lab that we developed with Architects of Group Genius led by the inimitable Maurizio Travaglini. Unlike most doctoral programs, we ask that our participants come to the program without a pre-defined research project. Naturally, the research has to be linked to the person’s background and professional experience, but we would like the actual research project to emerge organically once they consider their intended domain of focus (expertise), what they would like to be known for (legacy), where they think they can make a difference (impact) and where they would like to go professionally (strategic intent).

And that is where the Learning Lab comes in. Maurizio and his amazing team (Chiara, Giordana, Mario, Barbara, Giulia, Andrea, …) ensure that our participants effectively explore their inner world and North Stars before they decide on their research questions. With the help of braintrusts (small groups of peers) our intrepid doctoral candidates go through a very real bullsh*t detection process —when each presents their research intent does it sound like something they are doing to a) sound intelligent b) make their parents proud, c) impress their entourage or, better, did their eyes sparkle and their soul shine through? In other words, is this igniting their passion of the explorer?

So why am I telling you all this? Because, as a result, the research that comes out of our program is extremely personal and intentional. Each paper has a story and each storyteller (i.e. the researcher) has a unique story to tell. So in this series we are handing the mic to each graduate so that they can share their unique perspective on what is a very personal adventure in doctoral research — and what we can learn from it. The format is simple and fun, not academic and boring (I saw you roll your eyes so stop it!). Really. Each story will tell us what was fun, surprising and interesting about their research.

Here is a (fore)taste of some of the papers that will be discussed:

  • Please Stop Buying My Products (Unless You Really Need Them): The Case of Patagonia
  • Expanding into New Thematic Park Markets: The Case of Ferrari
  • Pairing Circular Economy and the Internet of Things: An Embedded Case Study of IoT as Root to Circular Economy
  • The European Union Decision Making Process
  • Boston Orthopedics: Managing Growth and Growing Pains in Orthopedic Equipment Services
  • Spirituality within the UK workplace: Application and Benefits
  • Millennials in a Small Business: Your Best Asset or Biggest Liability?
  • Applying the Circular Economy Concept to a Sustainable Business Model for Large Retailers: The Case of IKEA
  • Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrencies in the Energy Market: The Case of SolarCoin
  • The Impact of the Trade War between China and the United States on Huawei

To be continued!

PS if you want to receive Adventures in Doctoral Research updates directly to your inbox you can sign up here pontsbschool.com/adventuresindoctoralresearch

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Alon Rozen

Alon Rozen

Dean, École des Ponts Business School. Passionate about innovation, reading, thinking, improving...