My Experience at the Open Innovation and Science Research Conference’s First Juniors’ PDW

by Yotam Sofer, 28/05/2024

Attending the Open Innovation and Science (OIS) Research Conference this year was a stimulating experience for me as a PhD student on the management job market. Not least because this year marked the first time the conference hosted the Junior Paper Development Workshop (PDW), making it an experimental endeavor. About half a year ago, Egor Burda and myself crafted a proposal for an OIS juniors’ PDW, with the belief that early career academics in this fast growing scientific community could benefit greatly from the experience of senior scholars. Despite being a trial run, the workshop was exceptionally well-organized and provided a wealth of knowledge and support that exceeded my expectations.

The PDW featured four amazing senior mentors: Aldo Geuna, Stefan Haefliger, Carolin Häussler, and Michelle Gittelman, who played a crucial role in guiding us through the workshop. Their experience and insights were invaluable, providing us with detailed and thoughtful feedback on our papers (in my case, a JMP) and career strategies. The mentors‘ dedication and willingness to support junior researchers like myself were truly commendable. Their deep engagement was instrumental in ensuring the PDW’s success.

Personally, I am greatly appreciative of the discussion with my mentor, Carolin Häussler, who helped me sharpen and streamline my paper. The feedback I received helped me prioritize different aspects of my research, making the workflow more efficient and focused. I learned to highlight the most critical contributions of my work, refine my arguments, and improve the overall clarity of my paper. This has not only enhanced my JMP but has also provided me with skills and strategies that I can apply to future research projects.

The career and job market advice session was another highlight of the PDW. The insights shared covered a wide range of topics from effective job market strategies to balancing research and teaching responsibilities. Here one should also mention the active participation of the round tables׳ chairs (in my case Susanne Beck) who also chipped in with career and job market hacks. What stood out to me the most was the advice on managing stress and maintaining perspective during the job search process. This advice has been instrumental in helping me reduce stress and approach the job market with greater confidence and a more positive mindset.

Hearing the experiences and insights from other participants reaffirmed my experience of the PDW. There was a clear consensus among all the junior participants that the PDW was highly beneficial. We all agreed that such initiatives are crucial for early-career researchers, providing much-needed support and guidance.  This peer exchange fostered a sense of community and mutual support, making the PDW not just a learning experience but also a source of encouragement. The feedback, advice, and peer interactions were invaluable, and we hope that OIS Research Conference continues to offer this workshop in the future.

While the PDW was a great success, there are a few areas where it could be enhanced. One suggestion is to encourage PhD participants to read each other’s work prior to the workshop. This could make the discussions more lively and interactive, fostering deeper engagement with each other’s research. Additionally, having a more structured panel discussion at the end of the workshop could provide a formal space for questions and further dialogue, despite the “end of a conference” fatigue.

I am deeply grateful to the OIS Research Conference organizers, the senior mentors, and my fellow participants for making this experience so enriching. The feedback and advice I received have been constructive in preparing me for the job market, and the connections I made will be invaluable as I move forward in my career. I highly encourage other PhD students and early-career researchers to seek out similar opportunities.


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