Our sixth residency is now over. It was a different kind of residency because it was not a normal class, but instead, the participation in the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (AOM). The AOM is a professional association for management scholars and organizations founded in 1936. It publishes several academic journals, organizes conferences, and provides management forums and managers with other forums for communicating research and ideas. At least, this is how the AOM is officially described.

How it is structured

You can think of it like any other big conference. More precisely, different venues where new findings are presented. Usually, a lecture consisted of about three to five speakers who presented their papers, and sometimes there were other experts who joined the discussion panels. There were lectures with presentations, and sometimes the speakers gave impromptu speeches.

One of the buildings where the AoM took place

Preliminary work

Before we start the journey, we should deal with the program itself. Hopefully, it won’t come as much of a surprise to you after you read my article, but I was quite surprised when I found out how extensive the program is. It went from Thursday to Wednesday, and you could be in sessions from about 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. But it was not only about papers that were presented. For example, there was also a course that offered a walk in the park or meditation.

We were given a minimum number of lessons by ESMT. We had to select these in advance and upload them in a calendar. Beforehand, we were provided with a pre-recommendation. However, we still had the possibility to choose outside the recommendations. In my selection, I really went through every single program item and I clicked in and read through more if the title appealed to me. That took half an eternity because there were as already mentioned manifold program points, but also not only because of that. Unfortunately, the AOM app is particularly not well-built, and so you jump around, and you need to reorientate within the app.

Also, at this point, I decided to do my master’s thesis and not a project thesis as my final work. This meant that I didn’t know exactly which area I should focus on. Because I have not dealt enough with the master’s thesis yet. The problem is that it is best to choose lectures according to the topic of the project work. As one continues to train directly in the right area. If it is possible for you, make it clear beforehand what your topic will be, so you can filter it more easily in the app and don’t have to go through everything.

Location of the AOM

The conference is held in a different location each year. We were in Seattle, America. A city that was new to me until now. For example, that’s where the first Starbucks was founded. The cue is accordingly long there. I found this out regretfully when I wanted to meet up with classmates in the evening and needed something to eat quickly. Unfortunately, my navigation system does not distinguish between places with short and long cues. So, I came to see this Starbucks from the outside the first time. From the outside, hoses gently spray water. Through that they cool the queue a bit in the heat. In the latter course, I have been there from time to time and have looked at it more closely from the outside. It is a nice store, although not particularly large, which is located in Pike Place Market.

At the market you can buy many things from food to souvenirs. The market is of the size but far from comparable with a typical Thai or Turkish bazaar.

A view of Seattle from the Space Needle

I took two extensive walks along the river, which I, personally, enjoyed very much. The peace and quiet in comparison to my noisy place of residence, Berlin, pleased me well.

Unfortunately, there was one not-so-nice part about Seattle in particular, which was what I call the zombies. Seattle has a big problem with drug addicts. On the way from the hotel to the convention, which is just a 15-minute walk, you can see many drug addicts in the streets. So, it can also happen that you see someone injecting. Whether in the morning or in the evening, you see people who cannot even stand properly and are full of the stuff. For me, that was a big shock. If you want to know more about it, take a look at YouTube videos. I will deliberately not link videos here. But this will help me to select the areas more consciously in the future where I will go.

Social events

Let’s get back to something positive. If you remember my previous articles, there has been a social event every time so far. This time we had an evening dinner as a class, which was in a very nice hotel right at the water.
Another event was the visit of Amazon Spheres. A former EMBA student was able to arrange a small tour for a part of Amazon Headquarters for us. Within it, we could see some decorative plants imported from all over the world. The employees and visitors can stock up on free bananas in front of the building.

So much for organized tours. Of course, we had some time together, and so we could also do the one or other private sightseeing tour. For example, I visited Rachel the Piggy Bank and the Space Needle. Both very recommendable sights.

Most of the class went to a baseball game. Did you know that an average game lasts three hours? That’s quite a long time, so at least you have time to understand what’s going on and how the game really works. But for me, it was not enough. I rather enjoyed the entertainment and let all the impressions fall on me.

Lessons learned

The AOM is an academic event. Partly, it was all very theoretical, and I’m not sure if you can implement everything that way. An example of this would be hypothesis testing at a start-up. Here, testing should be done until it results in a fully functional business model. But sometimes hypothesis testing is just too expensive, and the time would take accordingly long. For this reason, one would start earlier with the MVP (minimum viable product) in the start-up life.

Nevertheless, I find it good to create links between theory and practice. There should even be many more events that link the two and encourage discussion. Or dialogues, as I have learned. Did you know the difference between discussion and dialogue? Dialogue aims to learn from each other, discussion was rather introduced to us as the negative counterpart of dialogue. So, discussion is more about expressing your own opinion.

However, if you are an expert, you can create your own links and use the AOM as a tool for that. During my time in Seattle, I spoke with some of my classmates about how it would be nice to have a class reunion every couple of years and meet at the AOM. Let’s see, maybe we will see each other there. In any case, it left me wanting more and was an inspiring event.


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