This year’s Emerging Scholars Workshop brought together 21 early-career researchers for a week of intensive study and debate on evolutionary theories and their applications to strategic management. We spoke with 2013 participant Kevin Miceli about his experience of the program.
Why did you apply for ESW and what did you expect from it?
I was completing my second year in my Strategy and Entrepreneurship PhD program at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School when I applied, knowing that the workshop would be held after I completed my comprehensive exams. For me, it was timed well as I already knew I was looking at evolutionary theory as a foundation for my work, but was still formulating the specific research question for my dissertation. I was looking forward to gaining background in the greater subject area and learning from the various experts.
How did ESW inform your research interests?
I am still going through my scribbled notes from the presentations—I had any ideas relating to the different sessions. Each professor provided an overview of their specialty area and offered suggestions for what direction he/she felt were strong research candidates. My dissertation is focused on technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship (TIE) with evolutionary theory being the link between these essay topics. I am interested in the processes of technological evolution as well as the competitive landscape that allows for startups with new products. Ron Adner spoke to technological evolution, and Sid Winter and Rajshree Agarwal spoke to entrepreneurship and industry evolution. It was great to get these within-theory, across-specialty perspectives.
Did you meet anyone that you’ll stay in touch with?
The ESW community is amazing. It was a perfect opportunity to meet other students with these interests. I connected especially well with two students—we want to share our work. The professors represented a wide swath of evolutionary scholars and they enjoyed the discussion as much as anyone else. It was truly heartening to see the community that we are entering. I walked away energized by the community and will connect with everyone, at least at the Academy of Management meet-up.
Any interesting takeaways or highlights from the week?
The professors stayed and listened to each of the other presentations and engaged in the conversation. Going in, I was curious if advisors would be present for their three hours and then disappear. But it was incredible to see everyone loving the topics so much.
Would you recommend ESW to other emerging researchers?
Yes! The week was great for PhD students and early scholars getting engaged in the community, as well as getting feedback on our thoughts. Dan Levinthal, with the help of the Mack Institute and the Kauffman Foundation, put on an incredible workshop.