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INSEAD Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :15 Dec
International :15 Dec

PhD Entrepreneurship and Family Business

 Course Level
Full Time

5 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

60000 EUR
60000 EUR

Application fee

International 50 EUR
National 50 EUR
Entrepreneurship and Family Business
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7.5
TOEFL-IBT (min)105
TOEFL-PBT (min)620
GRE (avg)325
GMAT (avg)702

World B-School Ranking

About this course

Entrepreneurship at INSEAD is about building businesses in a global world. Our research, courses and outreach initiatives address the challenge and opportunities of developing new business as a mechanism for value creation. Our faculty combines prestigious academics who study entrepreneurial processes in different world regions with high-impact entrepreneurs who bring to the classroom their wealth of experience.

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Eligibility Criteria

Selection Criteria

  • Proven academic record - irrespective of subject background.
  • Creativity and Independent thought - necessary to become a great researcher.
  • Motivation, Determination and Drive - to follow through with goals.
  • Ability to work in English - as English is the sole medium of instruction at INSEAD

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Course Modules

Entrepreneurship Research (PART A)

Scope and Objectives
This is an introductory course to entrepreneurship research. Entrepreneurship is defined as the creation and growth of business ventures, either as new organizations or inside existing ones, and as transformation of existing organizations. This course covers fundamental readings and current research with an emphasis on business venture creation. (Entrepreneurship Research B will have a greater emphasis on growth and transformation.) The objective is to give enough training that you can follow and contribute to entrepreneurship research.

Much entrepreneurship research is related to theories found in the areas of organizational theory and strategy. In order to avoid redundancy, this course is designed to draw on basic knowledge of these fields rather than replicate the instructions. Specifically, it assumes knowledge equivalent to Introduction to Organizational Theory and Foundations of Strategy and Organization.


Read and come prepared. This class is a seminar based on discussion of the readings. To prepare for class, please do the required readings and leave time to think about each reading and its relationship to the other readings covered in the course, before class.
Participate actively. For every class session, come prepared to ask and answer questions, offer critiques and extensions of what you have read, and join actively and frequently in the discussion. For every class session, you will submit a reaction paper (no longer than 2 pages) stating the most important ideas in the readings, the contribution to knowledge, weaknesses, and future research opportunities. The participation grade is given based on the reaction paper and individual discussion contribution, and is 30 percent of the course grade.
Write an individual paper: You are expected to write a final paper (maximum of ten pages excluding bibliography, double spaced and submitted by email). This paper should focus on a single idea that represents an original and important contribution to one of the topic areas discussed in this class, and its topic and scope should be discussed with us in advance.

Entrepreneurship Research (PART B)

Innovation, Collaboration, and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Course Overview
This seminar has two major purposes. One is to explore important, contemporary issues about entrepreneurship from a variety of theoretical, methodological, and topic oriented perspectives, with a focus on entrepreneurship in organizational contexts. This year the seminar focuses specifically on topics related to innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurial ecosystems. The second is to practice a variety of skills such as synthesizing research, understanding research designs, and developing research questions that should prove useful in your academic careers. Everyone should have some familiarity with the major related strategy and organizational theories including learning, institutional, agency, resource dependence, resource based view, transaction cost economics, complexity theory, recombinant search, and social networks.
We share responsibility for discussing the readings and raising issues. You are expected to do all of the required readings (including before the first class) and to be prepared to discuss the readings (singly and collective) in class on the assigned day. The class format will involve some introductory remarks by us, followed by a group discussion of your analyses of the papers for the day. “Analyzing” each article means laying out:

  • research question(s)
  • central arguments and hypotheses as appropriate
  • for empirical papers, methods (research design, sample, data collection, construct measures, analytic techniques) and results
  • key conclusions
  • strengths, weaknesses, contributions to the literature, and interesting areas/questions for discussion.

In our analysis, we’ll also synthesize the connections among the readings, including commonalities, essential differences in ideas and approach, connections with other research, and possible extensions or other interesting areas/questions for further discussion.

The readings are below. When articles are from mainstream strategy and organizations journals (ASQ, OS, SMJ, etc.) we have simply noted the journal and year, although we have tried to give full citations for those articles you might not be able to find otherwise. We will assume that you are aware of research by many of the wonderful scholars at INSEAD, so an attempt has been made not to “represent” research you likely already know well, or can learn in depth from their own PhD seminars. In particular, this course complements Entrepreneurship Research (Part A).

Entrepreneurship Research (PART C)

This course will be structured as a seminar, based entirely on a discussion of the assigned readings. As such, it is important to be prepared for your role as session leader, paper discussant and/or participant in the sessions (see below for details). As faculty, our role is to facilitate the discussion; your role is to engage each other in such a way that each student in the session is able to develop their best critical understanding of the collective set of readings.
To this end, each required paper in a class session will have a “paper discussant”. You role as a paper discussant will be to provide a critical summary of the paper, and to lead the class through a discussion of the paper.
For each session you will be required to send us a session memo before the respective session. The session memo should be structured so as to develop your own point of view on the following questions that consider the readings collectively:

  • What are the common themes within the articles, contradictions among the articles, and insights? (This entails your developing an understanding of the assigned articles, their relationship to one another, and their collective synthesis)
  • What are the 2-3 most important conclusions from the readings viewed collectively? Suggest an appropriate follow-on research question(s) for a deductive study based on a research gap that is suggested by these articles collectively.  Excluding anything written by us, what is the best of the assigned articles (and why)?

You will be responsible for writing a final paper for the course. The final paper should take the form of the “front end” of a typical journal submission (e.g., consisting of an introduction, conceptual framing, brief literature review, and testable hypotheses), and should be about 15 double spaced pages. The paper should draw significantly from the material covered in the course. The final session of the course will be partially devoted to presentations of your final paper to your classmates.
The final course grade will equally weight the following three components: (1) quality of class participation, including preparation as a session leader and paper discussant; (2) quality of the session memos; and (3) quality of the final paper.
Auditors for the course are welcome. Auditors will be required to participate, just as regular enrollees, by submitting session memos and acting as session leaders and paper discussants. The final paper submission for auditors will be optional, however.

Family Business

The Family Firm is the most typical organizational form in almost all countries around the world. Even among the top 500 US firms, more than a third of all firms are controlled by a family. It is the dominant structure among private firms and the dominant structure among public traded firms in Asia, Latin America and Africa. But compared with dispersedly owned and professionally managed firms, family firms have received much less research attention. From the news and anecdotal evidence there is a divergent view on family firms: Are family firms more profitable, innovative, socially responsible and long-lived, or are they more corrupt, opaque, exploitative, or inflexible? How can research be done to clearly show the differences of family firms, and establish the causality for such differences? What are the strategic and resource allocation consequences for the involvement of family in business?
This course will address these questions. It intends to demonstrate why family business is a fertile research context, to discuss what rigorous research design and methods are required to test an argument, and to debate the interesting findings about family firms. It is beneficial for all PhD students who desire to learn how to conduct solid research to make theoretical and empirical contribution, and for those who are interested in how factors such as values, family relationships and networks can affect economic assessment, decisions and outcomes.
The course is taught by two professors who will bring different perspectives to the research on family firms. Together we cover areas from Finance, Economics, Governance, Entrepreneurship, Organizational Management and Theory. We will focus on why family enterprises are interesting research topics and we will discuss how you can do research in this topic. All phd students are encouraged to take the course. Those who are taking the course for credit will have to do a report that will be evaluated.
The course consists of 5 sessions of three hours each. Each session will be a mix of lectures and student presentation with time to discuss research ideas and how to do research within a specific topic. We will be more specific on the organization of each session when we have the participant list.
The following reading list is comprehensive and we do not expect to cover all papers in class. We have listed articles from many fields and you should read the relevant papers that are most interesting to your own future research.

Social Theory

Scope and Objectives
This is an interdisciplinary seminar for doctoral students. The seminar focuses on behavioral sciences, i.e. on the areas of inquiry that relate to the human condition or human behavior. This definition encompasses a wide variety of disciplines from the social sciences and humanities. In our course we will focus on sociology, economics, and management– with an emphasis on applications to organizations.
This is a course on theory. A major portion of the course is devoted to showing different approaches to constructing social theories. Along the way, we also take a tour of some research topics and theories.


  1. Read and come prepared. This class has a heavy reading load. To prepare for class, please do the required readings and leave time to think about each reading and its relationship to the other readings covered in the course, before class.
  2. Participate actively. For every class session, come prepared to ask and answer questions, offer critiques and extensions of what you have read, and join actively and frequently in the discussion. For every class session, groups of two students will submit a reaction paper (no longer than 2 pages) stating the most important ideas in the readings, the contribution to knowledge, weaknesses, and relevance for contemporary social issues and your own specialization area. Each student will be asked to come prepared to take a leadership role in part of the discussion of one session. The participation grade is given based on the reaction paper, leading the discussion, and individual discussion contribution, and is 30 percent of the course grade.
  3. Write an individual paper: You are expected to write a final paper (ten pages excluding bibliography, double spaced, submitted by email). The students shall suggest a topic that shall be agreed by the professor. This paper should focus on a single idea that represents an original and important contribution to one of the topic areas discussed in this class.

Applied Event History Analysis

Course Objectives
Participants should be familiar with regression analysis, such as one would get by completing one graduate-level course on applied statistical analysis or econometrics.
After completing this course, they should be able to evaluate the methodology of research papers using event history methods, design their own event-history studies, decide data file layouts and estimate event-history models. They will complete exercises using the software Stata to graph survivor functions, estimate regression models with different parametric models and compare the fit, and estimate regression models with a semi-parametric (Cox) model.

Course Format
Each session is two hours long. Sessions will contain lectures on the technical papers or chapters in the readings and class discussion of the empirical papers in the readings. Students are expected to read the methodological and empirical papers in advance and to be able to discuss the empirical papers. Some demonstrations of the estimation software will be given.
Home works consisting of estimation tasks to solve are given after sessions 3, 4, and 5 (due one week after session 3; two weeks after sessions 4 and 5). The course is graded on the home works and the class discussion.


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How to Apply

Supporting Documents

All supporting documents should be in electronic format and uploaded through our online application platform. Only selected candidates for admission will be asked to provide original copies to the PhD Office to secure their admission in the programme. Thus, no originals or hard copies of transcripts should be sent to the PhD Office prior to admission to the programme.

1. Photograph (passport sized) in JPEG or GIF format, uploaded to your profile.
2. Application fee (non-refundable) of 50 €, which is paid online by credit card. Your application will not be considered until the correct fee is received. 
3. Electronic copy of CV/Resume
4. Electronic copy of Official Transcripts of Grades and Diploma / Degree Certificates with certified translation in English, where applicable
5. Electronic copy of official GMAT or GRE score report
6. Electronic copy of original TOEFL score report. (Note: We do not accept IELTS score in lieu of the TOEFL; if any of your degree's medium of instruction is in English, the TOEFL requirement is automatically waived. Your transcripts from this degree will suffice as proof of waiver)
7. Supplementary information survey form that is accomplished and submitted online (part of your online application form, found under the Supporting Documents section).

Recommendation Letters

A maximum 3 Letters of Recommendation are required coming from faculty, scholars or individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s academic ability and potential for research and teaching. When requesting recommendations, candidates are asked to use the appropriate online forms. Only 3 electronic recommendation letters are required to complete the application.

On the section of Letters of Recommendation, applicants are requested to enter the details of referees, including the 'official' email address (official email addresses do not include gmail, yahoo, or hotmail email clients). Once done, applicants need to click on the link 'Send an email to your recommenders now'.

Important: Refrain from clicking more than once the 'Send an email to your recommenders now' link, to avoid unnecessary email requests sent to your referees.

Applying Online

All applications to INSEAD are fully electronic and must be submitted online. To successfully access the application, you must download or upgrade your browsers to the following minimum requirements: Internet Explorer 9 and above, Firefox 8 and above, Chrome 10, Safari 5 and above, and Opera 10 and above.

A complete application includes the following: duly accomplished online application form, e-copies (e.g. PDFs) of supporting documents and application fee of 50€. Incomplete applications (missing documents or pages of documents, information or payment) will not be considered by the PhD Admissions Committee.

The application form is comprised of:

1. Your Profile: personal information, test results, academic background, professional background, proficieny in the English language and other languages, international exposure and activities and interests.
2. Statement of Purpose or letter of motivation (1500 essay), stating current goals, career plans, reasons for being interested in the PhD Programme. In as much depth as possible, discuss study plans and intended area of specialisation. 
3. Statement of Integrity (by agreeing to the terms and conditions when submitting the application form)

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