Guest post by Wharton PhD student John Eklund
The Mack Institute recently hosted the 24th Consortium on Competitiveness and Cooperation (CCC), co-sponsored by the Management Department of the Wharton School. This annual event enables later-stage strategic management PhD students to share their research with leading scholars in the field. The feedback provided by these luminaries in the strategy domain can prove invaluable to PhD students about to embark the academic “job market.”
The first day featured a series of faculty panels on the topic of industry evolution and the development of firms’ capabilities and routines. The emphasis centered very much on honoring the work of Wharton’s own Sidney Winter, Deloitte and Touche Professor Emeritus of Management. Leading scholars punctuated their engaging intellectual debate with amusing anecdotes of Sid Winter’s long academic career. One of the panelists even managed to unearth a yearbook photo of Sid’s from his 1956 senior year at Swarthmore College.
An evening reception brought out more stories about Sid by former collaborators and students:
The second and third days focused on 28 PhD presentations from students of 20 universities, including Wharton students Andrew Boysen and Andrea Contigiani. Presenters received detailed developmental feedback on their research from a discussant who had carefully read the students’ papers.
The feedback was always given with the intent of improving students’ research papers and often included a good dose of humor. Brian Silverman (Toronto) demonstrated his literary erudition and propensity for puns in the quotes he chose to summarize each paper (“Let us love Winter, for it is the spring of genius” and “Now is the Winter of our discontent”). Makka Moeen (UNC) went a different direction and summarized each paper through a Tweet.
Beyond the discussants, many faculty attending the seminar were very generous in providing detailed, actionable feedback on students’ paper. The topics presented in these student sessions covered a broad swathe of strategic management research topics such as entrepreneurship and industry change.
There was also a strong amount of informal, social interaction between students and faculty. A series of spoof awards honored achievements such as the PhD student who responded most rapidly to the conference acceptance email. In addition, on the Saturday evening the faculty and PhD students split into ten groups for dinner at restaurants across Philadelphia, enabling both parties to develop new contacts that will hopefully lead to fruitful future research collaborations.