Can simple rules help ventures survive?

Hamza Aurangzeb

What was my dream when I was little?

I had a fairly typical carousel of childhood dreams (sportsperson, pilot, scientist…) that I outgrew eventually. The few dreams whose influence I never outgrew were probably those that involved wanting to live the lives of different literary characters (Hardy boys, Robinson Crusoe, Captain Nemo…). Because, as I got older, I graduated from wanting to live like fictional characters to wanting to create fictional characters and narratives. This, at some point, was followed by the realization that this job entails a great deal of thinking, reading, and researching. With time, I pivoted from wanting to be a fiction writer to an academic career, but it didn’t change the fact that my job still entails a great deal of thinking, reading, and researching. So, in a long-winded and roundabout way my early dreams do partly explain where I am today.

What am I doing when I am not working on my PhD?

Books, podcasts and television series all have a significant presence in my life. So do fitness and food. And I usually end up doing a considerable amount of random research outside of my PhD. I do this to learn more about the things that have a significant presence in my life or for some reason in my mind at any given time.

What is my PhD about?

Individuals at the helm of young ventures often have to make decisions about their ventures’ strategic flexibility – to effectively respond to emerging opportunities and threats – under overwhelming uncertainty. In my research, I will investigate to what extent different types of heuristics – simple rules that can guide decision-making – enable or constrain young ventures’ strategic flexibility in uncertain environments.

Why is this important for practice?

Entrepreneurial ventures typically face high mortality rates. For example, more than half of young ventures in EU don’t survive more than 5 years (Eurostat, 2020). Uncertainty and a lack of effective responses to it are significant contributors to the high mortality of young ventures. Existing research suggests that Strategic Flexibility can be an effective defensive capability against uncertainty, but it can be costly, especially for resource-constrained young ventures. Through this project, I aim to investigate whether certain kinds of heuristics can have a positive impact on strategic flexibility. By testing and validating this impact, we could offer entrepreneurial leaders a way to enhance the strategic flexibility and resultingly the survival of their young venture while incurring insignificant additional costs.

How do I like to be remembered after my PhD?

Tenacious, self-aware, considerate of others and intellectually driven are qualities I personally strive for the most so having these as my memorable traits would be immensely validating.

How do I see my future?

One day, in the distant future, I want to reach a stage where I am certain that I have made my mom proud. In the meanwhile, I would like to remain unsure so I can keep trying. And how I plan to keep trying is by constantly being concerned about my social and intellectual growth and contribution, which ought to help me be a better academic as well. Lofty goals and a potentially long journey, but…. one day!

& Rankings

Equis Association of MBAs AACSB Financial Times