Giving a doctoral course on Entrepreneurship and Well-being in the spring of 2020 where he will use the hackathon format for the PhD seminars.
Tell us briefly, who are you?
Johan Wiklund is the Al Berg Chair and Professor of Entrepreneurship at Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University, USA. His research interests include entrepreneurship and mental health as well as the entry, performance, and exit of entrepreneurial firms. He is considered a leading authority in entrepreneurship research with 100 articles appearing in leading entrepreneurship and management journals and over 28,000 citations. He is Editor-in-Chief for Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, a premier entrepreneurship journal. A prolific advisor of Ph.D. students, he received the Academy of Management Entrepreneurship Division Mentor Award in 2011.
You will give a doctoral course next year in Lund, what is the course about?
It is about entrepreneurship. Specifically how entrepreneurship connects to mental health and wellbeing. People who otherwise struggle in life because they are mental outliers can flourish in entrepreneurship. Also, entrepreneurship can be a path to self-actualization, including mental health. Students will have the chance to delve deeper into aspects of these broad topics that they feel particularly enthusiastic about.
In what way are you looking forward to give a doctoral course in Sweden?
Finally, mental health has started to be discussed in Sweden! For the longest time, mental health problems have been stigmatized in Sweden in ways different from e.g., the US. I’m looking forward to associate the course with current debates in Sweden.
Also, since a few years, together with some colleagues around the world, I have tried to establish this new field of research in the intersection of entrepreneurship and clinical psychology. We don’t have any representation from Sweden yet, but I hope this can spur people to get onboard this new exciting research field.
Finally, Sweden is my country of birth. It is always nice to come back home.
Why is this course in particular fun to teach?
I’m using a new format for delivering the seminar - the hackathon. These intense exercises have become popular in many contexts (e.g., accelerator programs) but as far as I know, not yet related to PhD seminars. So I’m excited to see how it works out. I hope it will be a great experience for the participating students and professors.
Why is this course relevant right now?
First, mental health and wellbeing has started to become hot topics in Sweden generally, from not being discussed at all. Increasingly, we see people in Sweden, including entrepreneurs, coming forward to talk about their struggles related to mental health. Second, there is talk about a mental health epidemic in Sweden. I am not familiar with the exact data, but apparently many Swedes, not least young people, are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing. Third, research on mental health and wellbeing in entrepreneurship is taking off right now. I believe this will become a booming field in the near future, and this is a great opportunity for students to be onboard right from the start.
What new insights will the course give the participants do you think?
All students will get an overview of the topic entrepreneurship and mental wellbeing. But they will also have a chance to learn something unique and specific within a detailed area of their choice, thus potentially becoming topic experts. In addition, I believe there is too little emphasis in Sweden on the career following a Doctoral degree. What is required to secure a job as a postdoc or assistant professor in Sweden, Europe and the larger world? Students will learn skills that can help them in the subsequent job market, such as how to write papers for leading journals, and conduct job talks.
Is this course primarily targeting researchers and doctoral students within entrepreneurship?
Yes, they would be ideally suited for the seminar. But I could see that a broader set of students could find the seminar interesting and rearding. For example, people interested in health economics, or various strands of psychology.
Last but not least, tell us something surprising about yourself!
Some are surprised that I am still so enthusiastic about my job (research and working with PhD students). Others are surprised that I love living in Syracuse in upstate New York. Right now we have a foot (30 cm) of snow, and I’m looking forward to putting my skis on ASAP.
Thanks a lot Johan Wiklund, we look very much forward to having you here teaching next year!