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PhD Block seminars

The HEC Paris PhD Program offers an attractive series of block seminars open to PhD students from all over the world.

HEC PhD Block Seminar, Mathilde Guilhon, PhD ESCP Business School
A very inspiring seminar in Strategy! Activities (e.g., article reviews, article development workshop, learning diary) as well as meaningful group discussions enabled me to advance my thesis project and to reflect on my future research career.


PhD candidate, ESCP Business School

Every year or every other year, in spring/summer we offer PhD Block Seminars for PhD students from other universities. They sit in the classroom together with HEC PhD students. 

Each Seminar offers PhD-level training, typically about current research trends and frontiers in specialized topics.

Duration: 18h or 20h, one week (4 to 5 days), in April, May or June. The courses will take place on our campus . 

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).

Location: These courses are on-site at the HEC Paris, Campus Jouy en Josas,  Access


How to Apply:  

If you are interested by joining a course please submit your:

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

by email to Britta from the PhD office.


Application Deadline: Two weeks before the start of the course as the courses in general requires preparation prior to the start. Note that admissions are handled on a rolling basis and that late applicants may not be accepted if the course is full. 


Admissions Decision: 1 week after submission of the application.


Campus Services: On-campus housing possibility according to availability: approximately from 80-90€/night, library, IT services, restaurant, sports facilities.


Any question? Contact Britta from the PhD office.



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

Dates:  June 5 - 9, 2023

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

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.


This is a course intended for students of all disciplines interested in entrepreneurship research from sociological, management, and strategy perspectives. Entrepreneurship is the process of identifying and developing social and economic opportunities through the efforts of individuals and organizations who create and grow new businesses, either as independent enterprises or within incumbent organizations.

This course presents an exploration of this research with the goal of generating new ideas for dissertation work and publishable papers. Students become familiar with key topic areas of entrepreneurship research and how to conduct and publish compelling research.  

Course overview (subject to change): 

Universities allocate considerable resources to the study and teaching of entrepreneurship, resulting in a vibrant infrastructure of centers, programs, and job market opportunities for candidates with interest, knowledge, and background in entrepreneurship. This course presents an interdisciplinary exploration of entrepreneurship research with the goal of generating new ideas for dissertation research and publishable papers. The development of the entrepreneurship research literature initially stemmed from the disciplines of psychology, sociology, and economics. More recently, it has grown to have many applications in the professional schools. The subject is taught extensively in various business school departments, schools of engineering, public policy, and multiple areas around the university, such as liberal arts and agriculture.

Given the short duration of this course, we will cover some key research articles in the fields of sociology, management, and strategy. Most recent applications apply entrepreneurship concepts to the solution of social and environmental grand challenges, fueling the emergence of social entrepreneurship research. 

Entrepreneurship as a field itself does not have its own conceptual framework to theorize and predict empirical phenomena. This has led scholars to rely on an interdisciplinary approach drawing from the social sciences including among others sociology, organization and management theory, and strategy. As a result, entrepreneurship research reflects a variety of partial views and programmatic statements of issues, debates, and approaches. Insofar as there is a central theme in the course readings, it is that an actor’s social position is a critical influence on the likelihood that an actor will engage in entrepreneurial activity.

Key topics:

  • Classic and contemporary theoretical lense reviews and critiques
  • Institutional theory perspectives
  • Ecological theory perspectives
  • Origins and supply of entrepreneurs
  • Inequalities, gender, race, income, and immigration
  • Entrepreneruial opportunity recognition and development
  • Mobilization of people and resources
  • Area and cross-cultural perspectives
  • Social entrepreneurship

Schedule (tentative):
Monday June 5: Morning session:  10h00 - 12h00 - Afternoon session: 14h00 - 16h00

Tuesday June 6: Morning session:  10h00 - 12h00 - Afternoon session: 14h00 - 16h00

Wednesday June 7: Morning session:  10h00 - 12h00 - Afternoon session: 14h00 - 16h00

Thursday June 8: Morning session:  10h00 - 12h00 - Afternoon session: 14h00 - 16h00

Friday June 9: Morning session:  10h00 - 12h00 

How to Apply:  

If you are interested by joining us please submit your:

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

to Britta Delhay,

Application deadline: Two weeks prior to the start of the course. 

Topic: “Corporate Purpose: Defining and researching it”   (18h/3 ECTS credits) 

Dates:  April 3 - 6, 2023

Instructor: Rodolphe Durand, HEC Paris, Joly Family Professor in Purposeful Leadership, Strategy and Business Policy Department, Society and Organizations Institute

Rodolphe (rudy) Durand is the Joly Family Professor of Purposeful Leadership at HEC-Paris and the founder and academic director of the Society and Organizations Institute (S&O) which he launched in 2009. Over the past decade, he was Visiting Professor at UCLA (Anderson), Oxford University (Said Business School), New York University (Stern Business School), London Business School, and Cambridge University (Judge Business School), and Visiting Scholar at Harvard Business School. 
As a scholar, Rodolphe’s primary research interests concern the normative and cognitive dimensions of firms' performance, and especially the consequences for firms of identifying and coping with the current major environmental and social challenges. Why do organizations supersede rivals? Can Corporate Social Responsibility bring an advantage to firms and diffuse in markets?  How and why does a firm’s purpose provide economic advantages? For his work on these questions that integrate multiple research streams, Rodolphe received the American Sociological Association’s R. Scott Award in 2005, the European Academy of Management/Imagination Lab Award for Innovative Scholarship in 2010, was inducted Fellow of the Strategic Management Society in 2014, and granted a Doctor Honoris Causa from UC Louvain in 2019. As a board member, purpose committee member, and advisor, Rodolphe works with multiple organizations on developing, implementing, and assessing impact strategies that value a firm’s purpose and intangible assets. 
Read more  about Professor Durand here.

Course description (subject to change slightly):

The aim of this seminar is to reflect on the recent expansion of research around corporate purpose.  This collection of articles points to corporate purpose as a legal, social, cognitive, and strategic construction. Depending on the core definition of corporate purpose, different research questions can be asked and solved –or not. It is the aim of this seminar to acquaint participants with some of the issues around corporate purpose definition and development using several lenses to examine the advantages (and potential disadvantages) accruing to firms who state and implement a corporate purpose.

The past decade has seen a surge in the questioning of the roles of both the firm and its shareholders. The Economist in August 2019 wondered what the role of firms was. Recently, corporate purpose has attracted an influx of attention, especially with large businesses vowing publicly to become more purposeful (thereby responding to the demands of their stakeholders, not only those of their shareholders: Business Roundtable 2019), practitioner-oriented publications touting the merits of corporate purpose, and forerunning academic articles paving the way for a reasoned inquiry about the influence of purpose on firm performance. This course takes the position that there are many very interesting and important issues that can be addressed provided that the definition of corporate purpose is clear and the underlying assumptions buttressing theories explicit.

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.  We will then break for lunch and return for an afternoon session that 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. 

Please contact us for the complete course description here

Programme schedule (subject to change slightly)

Monday April 3: Firm purpose:  what is it, why it’s problematic
Morning session: 10h00 - 12h00 - Afternoon session: 13h30 - 16h30

Tuesday April 4: Purpose and Performance
Morning session: 11h00 - 13h00 - Afternoon session:  14h00 - 17h00

Wednesday April 5: Is there a need to revisit our theory of the firm?
Afternoon session: 13h30 - 16h30

Thursday April 6: Filling the gaps in purpose research
Morning session: 09h00 - 12h00 - Afternoon session: 14h00 - 16h00

How to Apply:  

If you are interested by joining us please submit your:

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

to Britta Delhay,

Application deadline: Two weeks prior to the start of the course. 

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

Dates:  May 10 to June 3, 2023


Dr. Stefan Worm is Associate Professor at the BI Norwegian Business School’s Marketing Department. He holds a doctoral degree in Marketing and a master’s degree with majors in Business Administration and Mechanical Engineering from University of Kaiserslautern, Germany. Prior to joining BI, he was on the faculty of HEC Paris, France. He has previously been a visiting professor at Singapore Management University, University of Georgia, USA, and Indian School of Business, and a visiting scholar at Emory University, USA. Stefan is doctoral fellow at ISBM (Penn’ State University), and affiliated faculty at ISBM Asia (Indian School of Business) and the Sales and Marketing Strategy Institute (Foster School of Business, University of Washington). Stefan’s research has been published in the International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Retailing, and Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. He serves as a member of the editorial review board for the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science (FT 50). He is further an ad-hoc reviewer for International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, and Journal of Marketing. Read more about Professor Worm here.

Course description:

This course is a doctoral seminar that focuses on marketing strategy as a research domain. It is designed for PhD students at all stages. We will explore marketing strategy from three complementary perspectives:

  1. The key theories and constructs in marketing strategy research.
  2. The important substantive domains of marketing strategy research such as the marketing-finance interface, servitization strategies, governance in marketing, and CSR in marketing.
  3. The empirical research methods and data sources used in the marketing strategy literature.

The seminar’s key objective is to enable participants to identify relevant research ideas in Marketing Strategy and develop them into a research proposal for a concrete study. In this pursuit, we will combine readings of seminal and more recent journal articles with a class project wherein participants draft a research proposal in a structured fashion. 

Programme Schedule (subject to change):  

  • Wednesday May 10, 2023, 15h30 - 16h30, ONLINE SESSION
  • Tuesday May 30, 2023, 09h00 - 12h30
  • Wednesday May 31,2023, 09h00 - 12h30
  • Thursday June 01, 2023, 09h00 - 12h30
  • Friday June 02, 2023, 09h00 - 12h30
  • Saturday June 03, 2023, 09h00 - 12h00

How to Apply  

If you are interested by joining us please submit your:

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

to Britta Delhay,

Application deadline: Two weeks prior to the start of the course.