Doctoral Student of the Month - July/August 2012

Duncan Levinsohn

Business Administration

Who are you and where are you from?

I am what you might call a “mature" doctoral student, at 45 years of age. I call myself a Scot, but have an English father and grew up in Latin America. I also have a Swedish passport, so I guess that makes me a bit of a mongrel! I have now lived in Sweden since 2001.

How did you decide to become a doctoral student? And why did you decide to do it at JIBS?

I did my Masters by distance education while working in Mozambique and I guess that is what really kindled my desire to do research. However, I only started applying seriously for doctoral positions around 2006 — so in fact JIBS was the first research school to take me! It´s actually quite good to go through several processes of writing applications, explaining your interests and attending interviews — it helps you become more aware of what really interests you. In retrospect (and I really mean this) I am very happy that the other universities didn´t take me — the academic environment at JIBS is pretty unique for Scandinavia and really exciting.

What are your main research interests?

I am interested in the ways in which small firms integrate issues of sustainability into their business activities, especially as these relate to issues of poverty in developing countries. To create the kind of synergies that this involves requires a lot of ingenuity on the part of the entrepreneur, but also a lot of insight into the tricky ethical issues that are associated with sustainable development. So what I focus on is the learning process and in particular how entrepreneurs interact with other people as they found their firms. One of the themes I focus on is the concept of an entrepreneurial “community of practice".

What is the best thing with working at JIBS?

The people! I really enjoy interacting with both our students and my fellow researchers. The combination of ambitious students with a rich mix of nationalities among both students and faculty is really stimulating. Jönköping is also well situated in Europe, so I get all the advantages of working in a smaller city/town, without missing out on the ease of transportation that a big city gives.