Multidisciplinary and creative research in Entrepreneurship
"I began my studies at Turku School of Economics in 2007. I did my bachelor’s and my master’s in marketing and I graduated in 2011. About a year after my graduation I was hired as a project researcher at TSE’s entrepreneurship research unit (TSE Entre).
 
At first, I was a part of a TSE Entre’s and University of Vaasa’s joint project called “Valuable, Intangible and Prestigious Service Experiences” (VIPSE) for two years. The focus of this project was the phenomenon of social prestige and the aim of the project was to discover how social prestige could be used to strategically increase a company’s value creation, competitive advantage and growth. This topic carried me away and during this tow-year time I started to consider the possibility to continue with postgraduate studies. Finally in late 2014, when the research project ended, I applied for UTUGS (University of Turku Graduate School) position and I was granted three-year doctoral candidate position. In January 2015 I began working on my dissertation project full-time.
 
I am writing an article-based thesis and the working title of my thesis is; Entrepreneurial value creation: Co-creating socially constructed prestige. The topic of my research lies at the intersection of entrepreneurship and marketing as I am focusing on entrepreneurial process, consumer communities and consumers’ influences on novel business opportunities. Especially the individuals’ sense making and sense giving processes in the relational and socially constructed business environment is in my focus.
 
By applying qualitative research techniques (e.g. discourse analysis) my research aims to shed light on the interplay and value co-creation between entrepreneurs and consumers. As a principal contribution, my research increases understanding of the way how prestige value is socially constructed, relational process controlled by individual and collective dimensions and how this kind of value can become an essential asset for an entrepreneur to develop novel business ideas.
As a counterbalance to academic research I enjoy being creative and active. Especially drawing and painting are close to my heart as well as reading, movies and music. I also like to play tennis and train at the gym. I find Turku to be a vibrant modern city with a variety of activities, lovely restaurants and cafes, and unique art galleries that offers exciting cultural and social experiences.
 
The strength of TSE is that it offers a great place to apply creative and multidisciplinary research. I can honestly to say that at TSE my colleagues are extremely talented and hard working. In addition, my supervisors Pekka Stenholm and Elina Jaakkola are both very supportive and encourage me to critical and ‘out of the box’ -thinking. Their rigorous and constructive feedback has already been essential in improving the overall quality of my work.
 
To me TSE’s doctoral program provides constant learning and networking opportunities whilst letting me grow and develop independently as a scholar. TSE’s doctoral program also offers me a wealth of experience that would not otherwise been possible and gives me a confidence to pursue an academic career.  For example the UTUGS position enables not only chance to focus on academic research but also for the further development of my teaching skills as I get to teach a variety of courses from entrepreneurship to marketing."
 
Laura Niemi, Doctoral Candidate majoring in Entrepreneurship at TSE
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