Creative PhD students

I am teaching a PhD seminar on consumer and managerial decision making. I have a schedule conflict with an upcoming class. So, I asked the students to come up with a useful way to spend that time (until I can get the class rescheduled). Their first suggestion was to engage in formal hypothesis derivation of an original research idea.

My response:

Your idea is acceptable, but not exciting. But before I say yes, I would like you to brainstorm 20 more ideas for those three hours, and I want you to think much more creatively, bigger, and more fun.

Their response exceeded my expectations. Here is the list:

  1. Attend a section of this DU Graduate Marketing CB class
  2. Attend the upcoming AMA Colorado industry mixer event
  3. Read all of the 55 Tools for Writing book
  4. Go to a Colorado Rapids MLS (soccer) game and explain some phenomenon using pre-existing research in JDM.
  5. Attend the psychology department’s Colorado Climate Retreat
  6. Set up a Skype Q&A with a JDM professor from another school.
  7. Drive to ACR San Diego and attend a bunch of talks
  8. Attend Innisfree’s open poetry night on 9/12 or 9/19 and present an original poem in order to get more experience presenting
  9. Meet with a brand manager here in Boulder to discuss current challenges in marketing
  10. Organize a research hike where a bunch of students and faculty in the business school hike somewhere and talk about research along the way. Maybe there is a specific presenter on top of the hike.
  11. Go out for drinks or coffee with 2 marketing faculty members for networking.
  12. Attend a robotics and electronics meetup session in Longmont.
  13. Watch Daniel Kahneman’s talk on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjVQJdIrDJ0) and discuss a potential research idea
  14. Watch Dan Ariely’s talk on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS8R2TKrYi0) and discuss a potential research idea
  15. Read a few chapters of a book “The Honest Truth About Dishonesty” by Dan Ariely
  16. Read  a few chapters of a book “Misbehaving: how economics became behavioural” by Richard Thaler
  17. Discuss with a marketing professor regarding current research projects
  18. Discuss with a psychology professor regarding his current research projects
  19. Watch the movie “Big Short” and discuss
  20. Connect with marketing PhD students at other universities and have a Skype meeting with them about research
  21. Talk with senior marketing students and get some advice about PhD life and job market.
  22. Read several papers and come up with an original research idea and hypothesis derivation.

What do you think? Which should they do?

Fellow academics, maybe you should hire them in 4 years or so.