NTNU in Trondheim is hosting the 23th EurOMA conference, which started Friday with the 15th EurOMA doctoral seminar.
By LISE LILLEBRYGFJELD HALSE, associate professor
TRONDHEIM: The seminar organized by the European Operations Management Association attracts 45 PhD students from all around the world, and nine international faculty members that share their knowledge and experience in order to help the students on their way to successful publishing and a doctor of philosophy degree within the fields of operations management.
According to tradition, the seminar started with a short opening session before the participants broke out into four parallel sessions: The student presents her or his work, followed by two fellow students presenting comments and questions. Afterwards, two of the faculty members give their well-prepared comments. Each doctoral student gets an hour dedicated to him or her, with comments from four people that has read and thought through your research. Some years after my own first doctoral seminar, I realized what privilege that actually is.
Moreover, the seminar gives the students expertise in reviewing other student’s work, which is very fruitful when doing your own research. The same critical questions and comments you give other, you need to address to yourself. However, a doctoral seminar is not always a bed of roses. Even though the feedback is usually constructive, it can be quite depressing, especially if ones get the message to move back to square one after having spent hours, months and sometimes years doing research that may be heading in the wrong direction. It is hard to leave ideas behind that you have believed in for so long and start over again. However, you always learn something in such processes and the more painful the more wisdom you gain.
Attending a number of session the first day, I tried to collect some quotes that reflected some general comments students receive during the seminar, that are among the hard but important ones:
What is your research question?
I am skeptical when I see a research question asking: «How can …»
Where have your supervisor been?
This is too wide – what is your focus?
You need to support your choice of method.
What is your contribution?
The EurOMA doctoral seminar celebrates 15th anniversary this year, and is important not only for educating good researchers, but is also an important social arena where one makes friends for life and possible future research partners, which is important for building your global research network.
The last years Pär Åhlström has been academically responsible for the EurOMA doctoral seminar. This year NTNU and Molde University College are sponsors for the seminar, and Molde has the administrative responsibility, with a fantastic staff and volunteers from NTNU doing the majority of the work. The seminar’s anniversary was celebrated with a cake Saturday morning before we continued our path towards finding the key to publishing.