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Doug Chung- Starting the Dissertation

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Dr. Doug Chung, Harvard Business School, on starting your dissertation.

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Doug Chung- Starting the Dissertation

  1. 1.      STARTING  THE  DISSERTATION   Doug  J.  Chung,  Harvard  Business  School   2014 Winter AMA DocSIG Pre-Conference Symposium
  2. 2. IMPORTANT  QUESTIONS  TO  ASK  YOURSELF —  When   ¡  ¡  Ideal:  As  soon  as  you  can…0th  year…never  too  early  to  think  about  a  topic   Reality:  A;er  taking  the  full  set  of  coursework  :  end  of  2nd  year   —  In  what  area/topic   ¡  ¡  Ideal:  An  area/topic  that  you  have  PASSION  for   Reality:  data  constraints,  ideas  from  advisor/other  faculty  members/hot   current  topics  
  3. 3. CHOOSING  AN  AREA —  Relevance   ¡  Ideally,  your  topic  has  to  be  relevant  to  the  REAL  world   —  Importance   ¡  Ideally,  it  has  to  be  an  important  problem  worth  solving   —  Rigor   ¡  Ideally,  want  to  apply  the  latest  state-­‐of-­‐the-­‐art  technology  in  methods  
  4. 4. WHAT  IS  “IMPORTANT”? —  QuesKon  to  ask  yourself:   ¡  Given  the  (expected)  findings  of  the  research,  how  will  these  findings  alter   standing  thought  in  an  area?   New  boundaries  to  an  established  empirical  phenomenon   ÷  New  theoreKcal  explanaKon  for  an  established  phenomenon   ÷  New  method  that  allows  improved  measurement  and/or  predicKon     ÷  —  Traps  to  Avoid   ¡  ¡  ¡  Simply  being  the  “first”  to  do  something  (e.g.,  analyze  certain  data,  apply   an  established  method  to  a  new  area)  does  not,  by  itself,  make  it  valuable;   the  exercise  has  to  have  the  potenKal  for  a  belief  shi;  (see  above)   Picking  a  topic  simply  because  it  is  “hot”   LeXng  data  drive  the  topic  
  5. 5. LEARNING  THE  TOOLS —  Start  from  the  absolute  basics   ¡  Take  demanding  and  rigorous  courses  from  Economics,  Psychology,  StaKsKcs   to  develop  the  fundamental  skills   ¡  Don’t  try  to  take  the  easy  route  –  simple  courses,  MBA  courses,  etc.   ¡  If  you  don’t  have  the  fundamentals,  it  will  hurt  you  even  a;er  geXng  a  job.     —  Apply  to  ideas  that  YOU  come  up  with   ¡  Methods  are  important  but  the  substanKve  contribuKon  is  MORE   —  Don’t  worry  too  much  about  publishing  at  this  stage!   —  ALWAYS  follow  your  PASSION!     ¡  Remember  why  you  started  this  (PhD)  in  the  first  place…  
  6. 6. ANY  QUESTIONS?  

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