In recent years, all academic fields have witnessed a large increase in the offer of methodological and subject-specific courses. These courses, better known as summers schools, are short academic programs held over the summer months and are usually offered to PhD students, postdocs and graduate students to engage in full-time, intensive classes related to a chosen subject or a methodological approach. In addition to it, they usually include extracurricular activities designed to encourage networking and stimulate the development of new research collaborations as well as cultural and social events. Given the numerous possibilities for researchers to deepen their knowledge on specific topics and research methodologies, in this article, by sharing some experiences of me and my colleagues and discussing some additional options offered by other institutions, I hope to provide some helpful insights into the world of summer schools.

As a first year PhD student about to start my qualitative data collection, I decided to participate the AIDEA Capri Summer School, a course organized by the Italian Academy of Business Administration and Management, which took place from the 10th to the 14th of September on the charming Island of Capri and focused on applying qualitative research methods. On one side, the course program was very intense, combining plenary lectures, roundtable groups and seminar discussions and covering epistemological issues, data collection methods and different qualitative analytical techniques. On the other side, the schedule was structured in order to concentrate most of the activities within the first part of the day, allowing the participants to enjoy the wonderful location and organize visits to many cultural attractions. Overall, the course was extremely useful in explaining the relevance, challenges and implications of applying various qualitative methods and I particularly appreciated the guidance of highly experienced scholars from different institutions and their willingness to engage in creative conversation and to provide precious suggestions for my own research project. The course would be particularly useful to everyone looking for a thought-provoking experience, willing to reflect on the epistemological assumptions of its own research and, at the same time, interested in all the different approaches of the qualitative method. More details can be found here:

A different but equally helpful perspective comes from the University of Essex summer school on “Longitudinal Data Analysis” at, (9th-20th of July 2018). The course focused on micro panel data management and analysis using Stata. The participants, divided in groups of approximatively 15 people, were asked to follow theoretical sessions and work through practical examples using Stata as a statistical package on different datasets. The two weeks has been described as an intense period, starting with theoretical background in the morning, practical activities in the afternoon and readings and reworking in the evening. The course ended with a final presentation, where participants had the chance to explain their results, while receiving peer-feedbacks and advices from the professor and the tutors. Beside the course itself, attendants enjoyed the possibility of living in a stunning campus and the social events organized in connection with the summer school. This course has been described as a very productive experience to gain new skills and to develop research projects while meeting people from different research fields. If you find yourself interested in this course, please go to:

Other interesting opportunities are offered by the Global School of Empirical Research Methods (GSERM), a high-calibre integrated generic programme on methodology launched by the University of St. Gallen, which organizes 2-4 weeks summer schools located in different institutions. The institution offers good quality programs on a variety of methods at different levels, from machine learning, big data, statistics, networks, econometrics to qualitative research. Here you can find more information:

Additionally, a very diverse offer of not only summer schools, but also specific courses, seminars, workshops and conferences in the management field is provided by the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM), an international network for management research that includes more than 50.000 management scientists from all over the world:

As a PhD student, but also as a member of the family business community, I found myself evaluating the opportunity to participate to a summer school with a specific focus on family business. The ongoing project of creating an IFERA summer school targets all the students and researchers who are interested in the family business field but lack of contacts and network, as well as all the actual members of the family business community who wants to increase their knowledge on a specific topic. In collaboration with multiple centres for family business management, the IFERA summer school will provide an advanced formation on the current state of art of each relevant research field within the family business literature, helping students to formulate their research questions, taking into consideration all the idiosyncrasies that characterized family firms. Given the raising interest, the IFERA Education & Development Team is spending efforts in concretizing this ambitious project in the next 2 years. We will keep you posted!

Carlotta Benedetti
PhD Candidate, Free University of Bozen/Bolzano
IFERA Marketing Analyst & Content Specialist