Tanja Ohlson


DPhil Programme in Management Studies




Corporate Communications


Started in 2015

By Tanja Ohlson

Summer Conferences

It is summer in Oxford. This means that most undergraduate students are gone, the colleges are more quiet except for the tourists and conference participants roaming around. It is also the time for us DPhil students to go to conferences.

There are several big conferences and depending on the subject we focus on, they happen at different times of the year. For me as a Management DPhil student there are two big conferences every summer. One takes place in early August and one in mid September. For this year, my supervisors and I decided I would focus on the one in September, the Strategic Management Society’s conference or SMS in Berlin. At the moment, I am in the process of getting ready for it.

Conferences are an integral part of academic life. It is important to discuss ideas, receive feedback, network with academics from around the world, and build a name for ourselves through presenting our research.

I won’t just attend the SMS next week but I will also present some early stage research there. In order to achieve this, I had to submit a short academic paper in February. This also means I had to have some initial research done and some results together with some interesting theory at that point, not even half a year into my DPhil. That’s unusual and it was only possible because I could collaborate with someone from the Centre for Corporate Reputation as well as my supervisor and write the paper together with her.

I will present some very early results and I hope to get good feedback from my future colleagues and much more experienced researchers. It is exciting and at the same time scary to put an early idea out in the open. How will “real” academics think about it? Will this actually be interesting for them? I would like to take this research further and the conference will help me with that.

At the same time, I will meet many new and interesting people. The Centre for Corporate Reputation has its own small symposium in Oxford every year and I just attended that. The symposium is like a very small conference. I did not present anything there, but simply attended to network, listen to others’ research ideas and then talk about their work. Hearing about the career paths of people I admire for their bright and ground-breaking work and receiving their advice for me as a young scholar was extremely inspiring. It showed me that I still have a long way to go before I can truly call myself an academic. At the same time, I am slowly becoming a member of a new community. There’s no better motivation than that!

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