At a joint doctoral workshop in Innsbruck MCI Executive PhD researchers and a parallel cohort from the Antwerp Management School (AMS) visited the Olympic Ski Jump Venue Bergisel as part of their conference program.
After discussing research ideas at the MCI over the previous days, the participants from ten different countries gathered at the top of the Bergisel jumping ramp. All students were offered an opportunity to experience the feeling of sitting on top of the “Zitterbalken”. The latter marks a starting point near the upper end of the jumping ramp, staring down the steep slope, landing hill and arena (as well as the adjacent cemetery, a local coincidence usually noted more by visitors rather than athletes). Despite opportunity, participants were certainly not invited to jump – neither from the ramp, nor to unsubstantiated conclusions in their research.
MCI Professor Dr Markus Kittler, the academic director of the Innsbruck cohort drew parallels between ski jumping and their own research projects also referring to previous research training sessions in Innsbruck and Antwerp:
“Like professional athletes, we need a lot of training to be successful. We also need dedication, strengths and condition to work on and complete our research projects.”
Following insights from ski jump athlete Martin Nagiller, the participants drew further parallels:
“Small mistakes could cause substantial harm in both contexts, ski jumping and research.”
With reference to a safety strap connecting Nagiller’s ski and boots, Kittler noted that also:
“PhD projects should involve convincing back-up and contingency plans, particularly for data collection strategies.”
Dr Hugo Marynissen, Academic Director of the AMS cohort, concluded with an additional parallel:
“There is always a coach, but eventually you will need to jump yourself.”
Photo: Bergisel Betriebs Ges.m.b.H.
Ski jumping athlete Martin Nagiller with the executive PhD studends
Executive PhD students from the cohort 2017