OB Student’s Guide to AOM

AOM is the largest annual conference for Management scholars worldwide, which can make it a bit daunting, especially for your first, second, or even third time in attendance. While the annual program and online website contain a ton of helpful information, the purpose of this guide is to make those tools as useful as possible to people who are relatively new to AOM and may not know where to start. The goal of this page is to help OB students navigate and narrow down the AOM program to best suit their needs based on their stage in the PhD program.

Setting your AOM Priorities

Setting personal goals and priorities for your time at AOM each year can help you gain focus, which can help you manage the overwhelming feeling that may come when you first set your eyes on the 600+ page program containing information on over 2000 sessions. The priorities you choose are completely up to you, but here are a few recommendations based on your stage in the PhD program:

  • Pre-PhD attendees: Each year, more people are attending AOM before they apply to PhD programs. Top goals for this group are often one or more of the following:
    1. To gain a deeper understanding of what a career in academia entails and confirm this is the right path for you. Recommended actions are:
      • Attend the New Student Consortium
      • Talk to other PhD students
    2. Learn about different PhD program types to confirm which is right for you (i.e. more research or teaching focused). Then:
      • Attend the New Student Consortium
      • Talk to other PhD students at schools you are interested in
    3. Get to know people at specific programs you are interested in to learn more about the specific programs, faculty, and to make connections. Recommended actions are:
      • Attend the New Student Consortium
      • Talk to other PhD students
      • OB Networking, Making Connections PDWs
  • Incoming 1st years: Top goals for this group are to:
    1. Learn what it takes to be successful in your PhD program
      • If you haven’t yet attended, New student consortium
      • Attend the “New to OB: Navigating the OB Division at AOM” PDW
    2. Explore different subject areas if still confirming what your research focus will be. Recommended actions are:
      • If you haven’t yet attended, New student consortium
      • Select 1-2 sessions from each of your primary areas of interest to explore. Focus on symposiums or paper sessions with well-known researchers in the area if possible.
    3. Start building a strong base of knowledge and meet people in your chosen research area (if already known):
      • If you haven’t yet attended, New student consortium
      • Focus on a variety of sessions in your chosen area to get to know the latest research and active researchers in the field
  • Second year: Students at the beginning of their second year should feel a little more comfortable with the material and be closer to understanding their area(s) of interest. This year, students goals are likely to
    1. Continue building your knowledge base
    2. Expand your network, especially in your area of interest. Recommended actions:
      • Get involved deeply with a micro-community or subcommittee of a larger division. Take advantage of volunteer opportunities at AOM, like serving on a committee or helping with an AOM session (note: keep doing this annually)
  • Third year: Students in the third year have typically just completed their comprehensive exams and starting to prepare for dissertation and potentially teaching. Likely goals are / should be:
    1. Start to transition from taking classes to becoming a researcher and professor:
      • Attend the Half-way There consortium
      • If you’ll be teaching, and want to get more resources to help you with that, consider attending the TLC Conference
    2. Continue to build an expertise and network in your area of study.
      • Attend OB Networking Session if your topic is included. Introduce yourself and bring key research questions to experts in your field
  • Fourth year: This is the last year at AOM prior to going on the job market (typically), therefore, students are likely presenting their own work and continuing efforts in networking and making contacts at schools of interest. Likely goals are:
    1. Resume building & network building (often done in tandem)
      • Present your own work and strive to make connections with researchers who are interested in similar work. Don’t hesitate to strike up conversations about potential future research collaboration opportunities
      • Organize a symposium or lead a PDW that engages lead and upcoming researchers in your area
      • Attend the OB Doctoral Student Consortium if possible. You may also look into your secondary division’s doctoral consortium.
      • Continue to work in your micro-community by leading a subcommittee or volunteering with a critical event
      • Check out the Placement Services information on the Academy of Management website to get details on what the year ahead will look like
  • Fifth year: Interview! See the “Job Market Resources” section for more information

Scheduling Your Days

  • General tips:
    1. Don’t overschedule – if you block every day full of sessions from 8 am – 8 pm, you’ll likely get exhausted and you may not have time to really take in what you are learning or connect with people you meet along the way.
    2. Stay focused on your priorities for that year, and know it’s okay if you don’t get to attend every session that’s relevant to your research. Most papers are available online through the program.
  • First, familiarize yourself with key categories:
    1. Divisions and Interest Groups (DIGs): https://aom.org/network/divisions-interest-groups-(digs)
    2. The AOM website Program session types: https://aom.org/events/annual-meeting/annual-meeting-program
  • Next, block out the times you know you are booked (e.g., consortium you are attending, sessions you are presenting in, preparation time needed for presenting, rest time, etc.)
  • Finally, with the times left available for sessions, search the program to find the most compelling and relevant sessions for you. You can search by sponsoring division, scholar, or key word. Be sure to pay attention to the type of session, location and times when you select sessions to add to your calendar – make sure you can make it there on time and make sure that the type of session is going to be relevant for you.

Scheduling Your Nights

  • General tips:
    1. Save time for socializing at night. Especially as someone new to AOM, getting out and socializing at least some evenings is an important for (1) getting socialized into the culture of this new career (2) learning about others schools that you may want to apply to one day and (3) having fun conversations about interesting new research ideas and potentially building the foundation for future research collaborations. Also, it’s fun! This is the biggest get together of people in our industry each year, so it’s a great chance to make friends and meet up with people you met the year before
    2. Each year, a list of school parties is published prior to AOM. Be sure to keep an eye out for it. Also, follow @AOMparties on twitter.

General Advice and Tips from senior students and junior faculty: What we wish we knew then

  • If possible, bring business cards! It’s a great way to swap contact information with other people you meet at AOM who you want to stay in touch with – especially PhD students from other schools
  • Get to know other PhD students from other programs every year you attend. These other students are great resources to get to know what other schools and programs are like. Start learning about other schools’ cultures early on in the program, so that you are relatively well-informed by the time you are going on the job market and can make a more educated decision for which schools may be a good fit for you.

Other resources:

  • Sign up to be on the AOM listserv for your areas of interest: http://aom.org/Networking/ListServs.aspx. Emails related to AOM events are frequent leading up to AOM and can keep you posted on the events relevant to your area of interest. Tip: Create a separate free email account (e.g., gmail, yahoo) to use for these listservs. They can get quite active, and might overwhelm your other work email.
  • Check out the first few pages of last year’s program – they usually have a useful one-pager geared to first-time attendees that can help add to this information
  • AOM also provides tips for first time attendees that may be of interest to anyone in their first few years. https://aom.org/events/annual-meeting/registering-and-attending/first-time-attendees