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Block seminars

The HEC Paris PhD Program offers every year or every other year an attractive series of Seminars open to PhD students from all over the world.

Great seminar in Marketing Management. Discussions in the group and professor's inputs and guidance inspired me and I learned a lot. Aristid, University of St. Gallen (Switzerland)

Every year or every other year, in spring/summer we offer PhD Block Seminars in Accounting and Management Control, Marketing and in Strategy & Business Policy. Each Seminar offers PhD-level training, typically about current research trends and frontiers in specialized topics.

2021: “Sociological and Organizational Perspectives on Entrepreneurship ” (online course)

2022: “Debt Contracting, Banking, Disclosure and Information Intermediaries”, “Marketing Management”, “Category Research in Strategy Taking stock and Future Perspectives”.

Duration: 18h, over 4 or 5 days, in April or June. This year courses are offered online or in hybrid format depending on the pandemic situation. 

Credits: 3 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System)

Number of seats: Max 15 participants to ensure a maximum of interaction.

Tuition: 900€

  • Participants from HEC Partner Network Universities: 50% discount
  • Participants from other Universities: 100%


Location: HEC Paris, Campus Jouy en Josas,  Access


How to Apply:  

If you are interested by joining us please submit a:

  • CV (résumé)
  • Personal statement (max one page) which includes your current research interests (thesis topic) and contact details of your thesis supervisor.

Application Deadline:  April 30.
Admissions Decision:  2 weeks after submission of the application.

Campus Services: On-campus housing possibility: approximately from 70-90€/night (registrations will open mid-February), library, IT services, restaurant, sports facilities, course materials.

Any question? Britta Delhay,



Topic: “Sociological and Organizational Perspectives on Entrepreneurship ” (18h/3 ECTS credits) 

Dates:  31/05/2021 - 17/06/2021 See schedule below 

Instructor: Patricia Thornton, Professor of Sociology and Entrepreneurship, Mays School of Business, Texas A&M University (USA).

Patricia H. Thornton is The Grand Challenge Professor of Sociology and Entrepreneurship, Department of Sociology and Adjunct Professor of Management, Mays School of Business, Texas A&M University. She is affiliated faculty to the Program on Organizations, Business, and the Economy in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University.

Formerly she has been an affiliate of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Duke University Fuqua School of Business. She has been on the faculty of the Fuqua School of Business where she taught entrepreneurship and new venture management. She has been visiting associate professor, Department of Sociology, Stanford University and a visiting scholar in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University and a visiting scholar in Organizational Behavior at INSEAD. She holds a Ph.D. (1993) in Sociology from Stanford University.

Her research and teaching interests focus on the areas of institutional and organization and management theory, innovation and entrepreneurship, and the social and cultural factors associated with entrepreneurship. She along with cameo practitioners in the Raleigh-Durham area have developed the Action Learning Approach for teaching entrepreneurship using live business plans, entrepreneurs, and investors. Read more here.

Course description: 

This is an overview course on the sociology of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is defined as the creation and growth of business ventures. It is the process of identifying and developing social and economic opportunities through the efforts of individuals and organizations who start and build new businesses, either as independent enterprises or within incumbent organizations.

The study of entrepreneurship is interdisciplinary. Recently, considerable resources have been allocated to the study and teaching of entrepreneurship, resulting in an increasing momentum of research in a variety of perspectives. Entrepreneurship as a field does not have its own conceptual framework to theorize and predict empirical phenomena. This has led scholars to rely on the social science disciplines including sociology and organization theory to produce a variety of partial views and programmatic statements of issues, debates, and approaches to the study of entrepreneurship. Insofar as there is a central theme in the readings in the course, it is that an actor’s social position is a critical influence on the likelihood that he, she or it (when the actor is an organization) will engage in entrepreneurial activity.

This course presents an interdisciplinary exploration of this work with the goal of generating new ideas for dissertation prospectuses and publishable papers. The emphasis is on understanding how to conduct and publish compelling research.  The focus will be on producing novel research of your own by asking interesting questions.

Schedule: This course is offered online. 

Day Schedule (French time)
  Monday, May 31, 2021 3pm - 6pm 
  Friday, June 4, 2021 3pm - 6pm
  Monday, June 7, 2021 3pm - 6pm
  Friday, June 11, 2021 3pm - 6pm
  Monday, June 14, 2021 3pm - 6pm
  Thursday, June 17, 2021 3pm - 6pm





Topic:  “Debt Contracting, Banking, Disclosure and Information Intermediaries” (18h/3 ECTS credits)   

Dates: 2022

Instructor: Regina Wittenberg-Moerman, Professor of Accounting, Visiting Professor at HEC Paris, University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business, USA

Dr. Regina Wittenberg-Moerman specializes in financial reporting quality, debt contracting and trading, information asymmetry, financial intermediation, and bond analysts. She has held positions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Wittenberg-Moerman's published research includes "The Role of Information Asymmetry and Financial Reporting Quality in Debt Trading: Evidence from the Secondary Loan Market" in the Journal of Accounting and Economics, “Price Discovery and Dissemination of Private Information by Loan Syndicate Participants” in the Journal of Accounting Research and “A Debt Analysts’ View of Debt-Equity Conflicts of Interest” in The Accounting Review. Read more here

Course Overview:

The objective of this class is to provide students with a sound framework for understanding and evaluating empirical research in debt contracting, banking, disclosure and information intermediaries.  Our focus will be on methodology and research design as well as on the underlying economic questions. The course will aim to survey a wide variety of the empirical research in accounting and to touch on related research in corporate finance, with an emphasis on recent developments in both areas.  

We will be covering a variety of topics, including:

  • Debt Markets and Financial reporting;
  • Debt as a Governance Mechanism;
  • Advanced Topics in Disclosure;
  • The Role of Lenders in Disclosure and Information Environment;
  • Loan Officer Behavior. 

For each session, students will be provided with a set of papers to read. Students will be assigned to present a paper (or multiple papers if they are related) and will be responsible for leading the discussion on that paper. The format of each session is not intended to be a lecture but an active discussion, and students will act as both the author and discussant on the papers they are assigned. 

For each paper, we will be discussing the following questions:

  1. The research question and the theoretical or intuitive constructs motivating it. Why is the question (un)interesting? Are there well-specified alternatives to the hypotheses? Is the question descriptive or predictive? How compelling is the logic/intuition used to develop the hypotheses? 
  2. What is the study’s research design? Consider the sample selection and empirical tests. 
  3. How well is the research design tied to the research question? To what extent is the design capable of distinguishing between alternative hypotheses? 
  4. What difficulties arise in drawing inferences from the empirical work? 
  5. What are the major results? How do the authors interpret them? How do you interpret them? 
  6. What research questions are raised by the paper’s results, and what unresolved research questions related to the paper could be investigated? How?

Programme Schedule  (Subject to change except from the first day):  TBD




Topic:  “Marketing Management” (18h/3 ECTS credits)   

Dates: 2022

Instructor:  Frank Germann, Professor of Marketing, Visiting Professor at HEC Paris, University of Notre Dame, USA

Dr. Germann’s research interests are in the area of marketing strategy. More specifically, he is interested in how marketing actions (e.g., the use of marketing analytics), marketing personnel (e.g., the Chief Marketing Officer), and marketing assets (e.g., brands) influence firm performance. His research has been published in leading marketing journals, including the Journal of Marketing , Journal of Consumer Research , International Journal of Research in Marketing , Journal of Retailing , and Marketing Letters . His research has also been featured in the Harvard Business Review , by the Marketing Science Institute as part of the Institute's journal selections initiative, on NPR, the Today Show (NBC), The Atlantic, CBC, and USA Today, among others.  Read more about Professor Germann here.

Course Overview:

The seminar will explore the conceptual and applied dimensions of marketing management. The conceptual goals of the course are to expose students to:

  1. Major areas and works in marketing management,
  2. Understand the anatomy of conceptual and empirical research in marketing management,
  3. Develop research ideas in the domain of marketing management.

An additional goal of the seminar is to expose the students to the methods most commonly used in marketing management research. Specifically, the seminar will cover the basic linear models used in marketing management (fixed-effects regression, 2SLS etc.) and how to estimate these models in STATA. The seminar will also cover how STATA can be used for data management purposes (merging data, creating new variables etc.).

The seminar will be composed of 5, 4-hour class periods. Each class period will be devoted to:

  1. Discussing several articles that cover important theories and topics in the marketing management domain. Discussion will be devoted to a) the underlying theory/theories of the article, b) why the article is important, c) good points of the article, d) bad points of the article, and e) research ideas that the article might suggest or engender,
  2. Learning how to retrieve and format (e.g., merge) data as well as how to estimate the most commonly used models in marketing management. This part will involve hands-on exercises using STATA.

For each class period, students will read 3 articles. The articles will be a mix of classical, seminal works and more recent works in the assigned areas.


Programme Schedule:  TBD

Day 1 

  • Overview of Stata 
  • How to download data from Compustat
  • Summarize/tabulate data 
  • Sort data 

Day 2 

  Market Orientation
and Innovation
  • Merge datasets in STATA 
  • Drop variables (with if Command etc.) 
  • Create new variables (lagged variables; using “egen” etc.) 
  • OLS regression

Day 3 

  TCE and
Governance Mechanisms
  • Logistic regression 
  • Generate variables (dummy variables; mean-centered variables) 
  • Obtain predicted variables etc. 
  • Forval command (e.g., run regression by year) 

Day 4 

  RBV and
  • Endogeneity I 
  • 2SLS 
  • Cragg-Donald statistic 
  • Propensity score matching 

Day 5

  Marketing-Finance Interface 
  • Endogeneity II 
  • Fixed-effects/random-effects model 
  • Hausman test 
  • 2SLSRE 


Topic: “Category Research in Strategy Taking stock and Future Perspectives”   (18h/3 ECTS credits) 

Dates:  2022

Instructor: Rodolphe Durand, Professor of Strategy and Business Policy, HEC Paris, France

Rodolphe Durand joined HEC Paris in 2004 and currently is the HEC Foundation Chaired Professor of Strategy at HEC-Paris and the academic director of the Society and Organizations Center which he launched in 2009. Previously, he chaired the Strategy & Business Policy department (2009-2013), served as the MSc in Strategic Management’s Academic Director (2012-2015), and was Visiting Professor at New York University (Stern Business School, 2011), Cambridge University (Judge Business School, 2011) and London Business School (2013), and Visiting Scholar at Harvard Business School (2012). Rodolphe’s primary research interests concern the sources of competitive advantage and the interplay between the cognitive and normative determinants of organizations’ performance. Read more  about Professor Durand here.

Course objective:

The aim of this seminar is to reflect on the recent expansion of category research in markets. This collection of articles points to categories as social, cognitive, and strategic constructions, accomplishments that result in actors stabilizing their conceptions of who is a member in a market category and what are the consequences of remaining so. It is the purpose of this seminar to acquaint participants with some of the issues of market category creation and development using several lenses to examine the advantages accruing to those who can countervail the imperatives of category membership. Much research in the study of categories in economics, sociology, and strategy assumes away the category definition problem by using conventional or convenient conceptualizations (e.g., formal industrial classifications, industry reports, third parties’ aggregations, etc.). This course takes the position that there are many very interesting and important issues that are missed when one assumes that market categories pre-exist competition and strategy in the first place.

The course involves morning and afternoon discussion sessions distributed over four days. Each of the four class days will consist of a morning session in which a collection of articles will be openly discussed among everyone in the course. The purpose of these morning sessions is to introduce conceptual material to fuel analysis and new conceptual development. The afternoon session will involve individual work, small group discussion and group presentations about the key research issues that are suggested by the reading material assigned that day. Thursday’s session will differ slightly in that each student will present an idea for an original research project that is suggested by the week's reading and discussions.

The course syllabus and reading material will be made available a few weeks before the start of the course.  It is recommended that students begin to read the articles ahead of time and to begin preparation for the article reviews.  The course period itself will be highly concentrated and time will be tight.

Programme schedule :

Day 1 

  Origin and functioning of market categories

Day 2 

  Mechanisms of market inclusion and exclusion

Day 3 

  Market Mediation

Day 4 

  Course wrap-up and Individual Presentation