On May 29, 2020, the first virtual MBS Doctoral Conference took place during which five students in the DBA program of MBS presented their research projects. At the beginning of the conference, MBS Professor and Dean of Research Dr. Heiko Seif emphasized the added value of this format, which is well known from Sheffield Hallam University, for the doctoral students: In the mutual exchange with other doctoral students and professors, the presenters could gain valuable feedback for the further development of their research project. For this reason, it was decided to hold such a doctoral conference at MBS as well. Since four of the five doctoral students have to present their projects at the partner university in Sheffield in a few weeks for the official admission to the dissertation, the Doctoral Conference was also a good exercise. The projects presented were as diverse as the candidates themselves and covered a wide range of topics.
In his research project, Jonathan Allot, who also works as a freelancer himself, deals with the work identity of skilled workers in the gig economy. Doctoral candidate Kai Henke, on the other hand, takes a closer look at the much-researched topic of negotiations. In his experience, many people interestingly are mistaken in their belief that there must always be a winner and a loser in negotiations. Therefore, he is concerned with a comparison of current strategies to achieve a win-win result in a negotiation, explains Kai Henke his research interest. Judith Widauer, for her part, is researching the topic of talent management and wants to examine what talent management means to employees and how they perceive its role in their identity construction. It focuses on inclusiveness and diversity and questions given truths around the elite approach to talent management. I decided for this topic out of personal interest and believe that the research provides insights into employee perceptions and can stimulate discussions on various talent issues.”. The two other research projects presented again take a different direction and cover additional topics: Stefanie Trinkwalder deals with smart factories and investigates the effects of cyber-physical production systems on organisational change, while Patrick Lukasiak focuses on the topic of entrepreneurship and examines the impact of agile management on the strategic performance of start-ups.
In addition to the presentation of the research projects, Chris Chamberlain, the first successful DBA alumnus at MBS, reported in a keynote speech on his experiences in defending his doctoral thesis. He described the path to a successful doctorate and especially the last step of the defense as a rollercoaster ride of emotions and advised all doctoral students to take up the offer of a mock viva with their supervisors, as it was a very good preparation for the actual defense.
In addition, Prof. Dr. Heiko presented current research topics and activities at MBS on the new website and motivated the DBA candidates to actively participate in this process through publications in professional journals and participation in conferences.
The first MBS Doctoral Conference was very well received and there was lively discussion. Prof. Dr. Heiko Seif was satisfied at the end: “Compared to my past Doctoral Conferences at Sheffield Hallam University we do not have to hide at all and I am already looking forward to the next edition in 2021, which hopefully will then be able to take place in presence at MBS at least in part!”