Summer PhD Workshop on Entrepreneurial Finance

Summer PhD Workshop on Entrepreneurial Finance

Dates: Tuesday August 27th – Saturday August 31st, 2024. Applications due April 30th (see below).

Location: Imperial College London

Co-organizers: Michael Ewens (Columbia Business School), Gilles Chemla (Imperial) and Ramana Nanda (Imperial).


This week-long workshop roughly follows the structure of the Entrepreneurial Finance Ph.D. course described on this site with several modifications. We will cover the major topics from the 6-week in-person course and highlight key institutional details required for successful entrepreneurial finance research. Several sessions will focus on the “how” of research, key databases used in the field, opportunities to present new ideas, and live examples of some data analysis in recent work. Students will have ample opportunities to interact with their peers and the participating faculty. Importantly, this workshop is not a substitute for the invaluable NBER Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, which provides a rigorous education in the broad entrepreneurship area in an amazing environment (the NBER Summer Institute). This workshop provides in-depth coverage of entrepreneurial finance topics in some bootcamp sessions.

Goals and teaching objectives

Few universities have courses dedicated to entrepreneurial finance, while the opportunities for research and job opportunities are growing. Motivated by this, the workshop aims to provide an overview of modern research in entrepreneurial finance and provide the foundation for success in producing research: mastering institutional details. These include definitions, industry norms, regulations (history of changes), laws, databases, disclosure rules, and more. There is a hidden “literature” of these institutional details in all major empirical work. This course presents a literature review for these details while teaching entrepreneurial finance.

Target students

Students past their second year of the Ph.D. program in economics, finance, strategy, management, or related fields are welcome to apply. Applicants from outside top schools with faculty active in the entrepreneurial finance area and those outside the U.S. will be given preference.


Each day includes approximately 6 hours of class sessions (lectures, student presentations, etc), lunch (sometimes group, otherwise independent), and two group dinners (Tuesday and Friday).

Mike Ewens will lead most of the sessions, with Gilles Chemla and Ramana Nanda leading the remaining sessions.

Tuesday the 27th: Entrepreneurial firm formation and organizational form

  • Lectures
  • Institutional details session
  • Group dinner

Wednesday the 28th: Capital constraints

  • Lectures
  • Student idea pitch session
  • Institutional details session

Thursday the 29th: Capital sources: entrepreneur wealth and banks

  • Lectures
  • Research methods session (working lunch)
  • Institutional details session

Friday the 30th: Financial intermediaries

  • Discuss assigned referee reports
  • Lectures
  • Institutional details session
  • Final group dinner

Saturday the 31st (half-day): Capital structure, exits, and investor returns

  • Lectures
  • Course wrap-up during working lunch (end around 1 pm)

Student expectations and deliverables

Students are expected to attend all sessions and are encouraged to participate. Each student will submit a short research proposal by the end of the week that the faculty team will provide comments on after the course.


August 27th (starts 9am) to August 31st (1pm)


Imperial College London

Admission and costs

Who should apply: Students are expected to be in their PhD’s third, fourth, or fifth year, having completed the basic core economics and/or finance classes.

When to apply: Applications close on April 30th and 12pm EDT.

How to apply: Interested students should complete this application form, which requires basic biographical information, a short cover letter, a resume, and two short reference emails (the survey has the information).

Cost: $800, which covers administrative costs and group meals. Students must secure their accommodation (options will be available to admitted students).

When do we decide?: Admission decisions will be made by June 1, 2024. Registration fees are due by June 30th ($400 is non-refundable due program fixed costs).

Questions and contact

  • Is this affiliated with Columbia University or Imperial College?
    • No, the course has no connection to either university and is an independently run workshop by the participating faculty.
  • Will there be credit or a certificate for completing the course?
    • No, but the students who complete the course will be listed on the course website
  • Where is the application form?
  • Will there be a remote or Zoom option?
    • No
  • Is this affiliated with Imperial or any other university?
    • No, this is an independent initiative by Mike Ewens in coordination with WEFI and partner faculty.
  • What if I cannot make it this year?
    • If this year is successful, we plan to organize this workshop every summer in Europe with a different academic institution each year (likely in June in the longer run).
  • Some other question…
    • Great question! This is an experiment of sorts built off of an existing PhD course. We are learning a bit as we go.

If you have any questions about the summer school, please contact Prof. Mike Ewens.