Dear friends,

Academic conferences represent the single best way to disseminate current research and personally connect with colleagues from around the world. At this stage in my career, the best part about conferences is the opportunity to meet up with Cougar PhD graduates who have established their own careers at universities far and wide.

This fall, we are excited to roll out a new fellowship program for our PhD students who present their research at conferences, tapping into some of the generous donations to our scholarship funds. Sometimes, scholarships are used to attract top candidates to the program and help with their expenses once they’re here. We’re expanding the use of scholarship money to encourage and reward PhD candidates for their research by offering stipends when they present their work at academic conferences. Students will be able to receive up to three stipends for presenting different papers during three academic years.

Conferences are typically organized by our professional societies, such as the Academy of Management and the Financial Management Association. Several hundred up to 10,000 attendees gather. Most are academics, but some conferences also appeal to industry professionals. The typical conference lasts for three to five days. Each day is packed with plenary sessions, workshops, company tours, and parallel sessions that focus on a specific research subject.

Typically, research paper presentations last about 20 minutes, which is long enough to share the work’s main points and include some detail. Sometimes the room is full, while other times the presenters end up just presenting to each other.

Often, the most valuable parts of these sessions are the 15-minute breaks. Interested scholars frequently strike up conversations with presenters or other audience members and begin connections that can lead to official collaborations down the road. I find these between-session discussions more productive for networking than showing up at a huge reception and randomly striking up conversations.

Presenting their research is great experience for PhD candidates, and students often receive valuable feedback from audience members. Every now and then, presenting leads directly to a job opportunity from the school of an impressed audience member.

We expect students to take advantage of this fellowship opportunity and increase the volume of Carson College research presented at conferences. Over time, this will result in an increase in journal paper submissions from our students, more journal publications, and even better job placement opportunities for them.

Especially during this inflationary period, we don’t want travel costs to hinder students’ participation at conferences. Thank you to our wonderful donors for making these opportunities possible!

Chuck Munson,
PhD Program Director