Visiting scholars – research on a global scale

One of the major perks of working in Academia is probably the omnipresent and vast opportunities to collaborate with researchers all over the world. As efficient and helpful skype meetings are, sometimes a dedicated researcher needs to pack their bags and move to the site of action. Oulu Business School encourages junior and senior researchers to conduct research visits abroad, and aids them in making the most out of the stay.

In the scope of such a research visit, and thanks to the generous support of Professor Wayne Landsman, I, Bianca Beyer, a PhD student in the Department of Accounting at Oulu Business School, moved to the USA in August 2017. Since approximately 9 months, I audit PhD seminars at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the best schools for Accounting in the entire country, participate in workshops, conferences, and symposiums, and work on creating a sustainable network for current and future research with my peers and mentors.

In the picture me and Professor Wayne Landsman.

Experiencing the PhD student life overseas felt like coming from a tiny village and stepping into a big metropolitan city for the first time. Despite the fact that North-American PhD programs are structured differently than those in most European Business Schools, everything over there is also just a little bigger and busier. Almost every other week, faculty members and PhD students can pitch their early-stage research during a “brownbag” seminar to the department and gain valuable feedback and pointers for how to proceed. It is called brownbag because it is a very informal lunch-meeting (and your lunch typically comes in a brown bag) – the ideal environment especially for young researchers to get comfortable in presenting! During frequent workshops, mostly seasoned researchers from other Universities visit and present their latest paper. In spring, the workshops become more exciting than usual, with those visitors usually being job market candidates, who graduate from their PhD program within the same year, on the hunt for an assistant professor position: Candidates get invited by interested Universities, “touring” around the country and pitching themselves and their research.

For PhD seminars, a world-renowned professor frees up a good number of hours per week over a couple of weeks to sit down and talk through seminal and novel research papers with their PhD students. At UNC, PhD students typically take a seminar with the same professor two years in a row. I was lucky enough to be able to participate in such seminars with Professor Wayne Landsman on Capital Markets research, Professor Eva Labro on Managerial Accounting, Professor John Hand on selected topics in Financial Accounting Research, and Professor Edward Maydew on tax. I was even able to visit nearby Duke university and audit an Empirical Accounting Research seminar held by Professor Katherine Schipper.

My research stay will end with UNC’s yearly tax symposium mid-April, a popular conference with a limited amount of spots for audience that fill up within seconds. Then it is time to pack the bags once again and move back to Oulu. But the friends and contacts I gained during the visit will hopefully remain for life.

Our weekly seminar on tax research with Professor Ed Maydew, and a bunch of PhD students, me, and another visiting scholar. The 3rd year students are not forced to take this seminar again (only 1st and 2nd year students have to), but because tax research is their field, they wanted to :D

Last updated: 24.2.2020