July 21, 2012, by ICCSR

28th EGOS Colloquium – my first international academic conference!

Earlier this month I presented a paper at the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) conference in Helsinki, my first ever encounter with the world of international academic conferences! I had big plans for this event: first, learn about new research in the field of CSR; second, get feedback on my work and third, network (or at least attempt to!).

The preparation

When I got the news that my paper was accepted at EGOS, I was first delighted about the idea of going to my first ‘real’ academic conference (not just a PhD event). Quickly, I also realized that I was about to present my very developmental research in front of the people I’m citing in my work. This realization acted as a very strong motivation to work hard on this paper. In that sense, conference deadlines are great to get things done.

In the weeks leading up to the conference, I wasn’t sure what to expect and had many questions: Will people be really critical of my work? Will I know anybody there? And most importantly, what should I wear? (it seems that I’m not the only one worried about this, as there is a surprising amount of Pinterest boards on academic fashion!)

The conference

Upon my arrival in Helsinki, I was quickly relieved to see that although EGOS is a major conference, it has a rather casual and relaxed vibe, therefore making it not too daunting for a first-timer. EGOS is organized through streams (57 in total), and each participant is expected to stay in the same group for the entire conference, which makes it easier to meet and interact with people.

There were three things I really enjoyed about the conference. First, I presented in the sub-group ‘The Changing Role of Business in Global Society’, which was composed of academics from different disciplines (such as international business, political science, business ethics). I really enjoyed listening to presentations from different perspectives, and the mix of approaches to research produced stimulating and thought-provoking discussions of the papers. Second, it was really interesting to see what people were working on and get an idea of what is new and upcoming in the field of CSR. The conference also provided a good opportunity to hear about research projects closely related to my own work (and find good references to include in my paper). Third, I was really impressed by the commitment of the group’s participants. I was presenting on Saturday morning (after the Friday night conference dinner), but surprisingly, the entire group was present and seemed alert enough to comment and provide me with constructive feedback and even ideas for future papers.

The aftermath

Now that I’m back in Nottingham, motivated to continue working on my thesis and full of new research ideas, I’ve tried to summarize what I’ve learned from my experience into a few, hopefully useful, tips:

  • Book your hotel room early (if you want to stay close to the conference site)
  •  Bring plenty of business cards
  • Prepare a one sentence summary of the paper you will be presenting
  • Register for pre conference PhD workshops (they are helpful to get feedback on your work and meet fellow students)

Overall this was an enjoyable conference, and as Silviya Svejenova (a board member of EGOS) said in her closing remark “EGOS is altogether fun, functional and fabulous!”. I totally agree with this statement and am already looking forward to next year’s edition in Montréal!

By Laurence Vigneau.  Laurence is a doctoral student at the ICCSR, Nottingham University Business School.

Posted in Academic ACTIVITY