The Value of the ISBE Doctoral Day


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In 2017, the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) will celebrate its 40th annual conference, and will once again be organizing its popular Doctoral Day on the preceding day, Wednesday, November the 7th. ISBE 2017 will take place in Belfast.

Over many years, the ISBE Doctoral Day has become an important part of the events calendar for postgraduate students, early career researchers and PhD supervisors in small business and entrepreneurship.
Hosted by ISBE 2016 sponsor emlyon business school at their new Paris base on boulevard Diderot, the 33 delegates at the 2016 Doctoral Day came from countries throughout Europe and from further afield including Ghana and Uganda.


ISBE 2016 Doctoral Day introductionsThe day opened with introductions from host and Doctoral Day chair, Professor Alain Fayolle from emlyon business school, (left) and Professor Pauric McGowan, ISBE President, followed by brief introductions from delegates about where they are in their PhD journeys.
ISBE 2016 Doctoral Day Saulo BarbosaProfessor Saulo Barbosa, also from emlyon business school, led a lively and comprehensive opening workshop full of useful information and advice about the foundations of successful doctoral research. Questions from delegates were welcomed and the resulting discussions provided a useful opportunity to share experiences and lessons learned.


ISBE 2016 Doctoral Day lunchtime discussionsFollowing lunch, conversation turned to the relative merits of the article-based or monograph dissertation. Both aspects of the doctoral process were represented by a team of international and experienced PhD supervisors, and by speakers who had completed their PhDs.



ISBE 2016 Doctoral Day expert panel

Pictured L-R: Prof Pauric McGowan, Dr Wadid Lamine, Prof Alistair Anderson, Dr Janice Byrne, Prof Didier Chabaud, Prof Lene Foss




ISBE 2016 Doctoral Day Publishing PanelThe remainder of the afternoon was devoted to a workshop about getting published, full of helpful tips and guidance about routes to publication. Delegates were given vital insights into the editorial and journal selection processes by a panel of distinguished editors and senior academics with long experience of publishing in the entrepreneurship field.

Pictured L-R: Prof Gerard McElwee, Prof Lene Foss, Prof Alistair Anderson, Prof Paul Jones

Many thanks to Professors Alain Fayolle, Saulo Barbosa and Didier Chabaud for organizing this year’s Doctoral Day, and to all speakers who gave of their time.

ISBE 2016 Doctoral Day delegate conversationFeedback from delegates has been particularly positive this year, and planning is already in progress for next year’s Doctoral Day in Belfast.

ISBE are also looking at similar events in 2017 in other venues, and invite potential hosts to get in touch.


ISBE 2016 Doctoral Day sponsorsWe are very grateful to our ISBE 2016 sponsors, especially to our main sponsor, emlyon business school. Please contact Rob at ISBE to discuss future sponsorship opportunities for your institution or organization.

Professor Lene Foss of the UiT The Arctic University of Norway and Academic Visitor at the Saïd Business School, Oxford, asked delegates for three learning points, or ‘take-aways’, from the Doctoral Day. We hope that they will provide a useful insight for those considering attending the ISBE 2017 Doctoral Day next November.



How will this affect your further work?/ What will be your next step?

On Writing

Introduction is key. Must say why study is interesting, for whom and why. Context is not a given. It must be argued.
I will discuss my real motivations to research the question and communicate my passion in the introduction section. I will give a clear picture of context to make it explicit and show how my argument fits with the context.
Argue for the context in your introduction. Don’t double send your work. Connect your methodological choice to your research question.
ISBE 2016 Doctoral Day Delegates1To craft the introduction of any work well enough to capture attention.
Introduction. I usually do not pay enough attention to it and make it clear. I just recognized it today that I need that pin within the first page and strongly within the introduction part. It will be my next step definitely to get my paper published.
I will write at least one paragraph every day.
Focus more on my research design. Submit a paper as soon as possible. Introduction is the key to get published.
I think it will help me to rewrite some parts of my works.
The persistency of work is a key to success. The introduction part is the most interesting part in the paper, so it should be written carefully in order to encourage people/editor to read or accept your paper. Having a paper published requires knowing the journal rules accurately and specifying the editors area of interest.
Keep writing. Keep my research argument coherent from start till finish. Don’t procrastinate generally.
My main next step will be to step back and check coherence for everything.
ISBE 2016 Doctoral Day delegates2To reread my work to see how I can show the logic of the argument.
Be concise and clear about your thesis question and content.
One paragraph a day until I finish my thesis!! Write and reward. Write and publish. Try and try and try!
Keep and continue writing. Read and develop writing. Aim for journal publication.

On Publishing

Tips regarding publishing. Focus on connection between research question, design and writing. I know more than I thought I knew.
More focus, conscious thought on each step of the process.
Specify my overall research question. Submit a paper to a journal. Study journals very well before I submit.
Importance of introduction in order to get paper published. How to open dialogue with editors/reviewers. Story teller of the paper.
Get it published !
ISBE 2016 Doctoral Day delegates3Learn from rejection of papers. Practice publishing in other formats.
Good advice about publishing from different perspectives. Understanding that there are different ways of achieving a PhD. Learning about my personal research.
Write and read every day. Look to publish something immediately. Develop network of persons and mentors.
Learning about the editorial process. How to target a journal and how to write for a particular journal. How to deal with response from the reviewer.
Avenues for growth within my research in regards to style. Don’t fear the almighty rejection. Always consider your own interest in your topic.
Look at sculpting my research to meet the demands of publication.
It was very beneficial to learn about the standards of publication and the process of doing and submitting an article. One of the most important tips that was highlighted is the contribution of the PhD regarding practice and theory. The tips and sharing the experience of recent PhD student give an inspiration and encouragement and support.

On the PhD journey

Going about my Phd journey is about persistence. I am more encouraged to write papers. I am more committed to finishing my PhD and writing papers.
I should be writing my PhD proposal. I will be writing my publications and sending them to journals as taught today.
Research is business in pure form. Article based dissertations have many advantages. Three pillars of good research.
ISBE 2016 Doctoral Day delegates4Be determined when doing your PhD because it takes a lot of hard work and persistence. Get your introduction right with any paper or dissertation. Get feedback and be true about the research you are trying to do.
Be vigorous and challenge assumptions. Read a journal article everyday.
I am looking forward to learn about details of methodology and how to choose the approach of conducting the research. It is also important for me to learn about answering and defend my PhD infront of viva.

On Research Design

I have learned some information about research design which were unclear to me. I have learned the nature of the PhD process. I have learned important information about how to publish.

There are more photos of the Doctoral Day, taken by Martin Smith, on the ISBE Flickr pages. If you would like to be kept informed about the Doctoral Day and other ISBE events, please let us know at


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