Blog of the GREITM resarch group, with a focus on generation and dissemination of knowledge in Innovation, IT Management and Entrepreneurship. 

04 April 2024 | Posted by Editorial Team GREITM

Beyond the Dissertation: A Personal Reflection on My PhD Journey

Moritz Stahl, who recently completed his PhD dissertation at the Innova Institute, shares his doctoral journey with us.

Pursuing a PhD represents a commitment not only to advance knowledge but also to personal and professional growth. My own journey through the study of innovation intermediation within entrepreneurial ecosystems has been both challenging and enlightening. This reflection aims to share insights from this experience, highlighting not just the academic accomplishments but the process and personal development involved. 

The Initial Motivation 

As a practitioner actively engaged in the field of innovation intermediation, my research was propelled by both a professional curiosity and a deep interest in understanding the mechanisms through which innovation intermediaries contribute to the success of startups within entrepreneurial ecosystems. This investigation extended beyond mere academic pursuit; it was a quest for knowledge that not only aligned with my personal interests but was also deeply intertwined with my professional objectives. My involvement in the industry provided a unique perspective, driving me to explore uncharted aspects of this domain and seeking to bridge the gap between theoretical insights and their practical applications. 

Balancing Theoretical and Practical Insights

A significant challenge during my PhD was the need to align theoretical frameworks with practical implications. The endeavor to bridge these aspects required a constant navigation between abstract concepts and their real-world applications, enriching the research process with a nuanced understanding of the subject matter. 

Overcoming Challenges

 The journey was marked by various challenges, from data alignment issues to navigating extensive literature. These hurdles were instrumental in developing resilience and a problem-solving mindset, essential qualities in both academic and professional settings. 

The Role of Support Networks

The importance of a strong support system cannot be overstated. The guidance from advisors, the collaboration with peers, and the emotional support from family were crucial to navigating the ups and downs of the PhD process. This journey highlighted the value of community and collaboration in achieving academic goals. 

Personal and Professional Growth

The PhD journey was transformative, fostering not only academic skills but also personal growth. It taught me the value of patience, the importance of rigorous inquiry, and the need for passion in one's work. These lessons extend beyond the confines of academia and are applicable in various professional contexts. 

Looking Forward

Reflecting on this journey, I am grateful for the learning and growth opportunities it presented. Completing the dissertation is a significant achievement, but it also marks the beginning of new professional challenges and opportunities for continued learning and development. 


This reflection on the PhD journey underscores that the process is as significant as the research outcomes. It is a period of intense learning, personal development, and professional growth. Along this journey, I owe a great deal of gratitude to my advisors and everyone involved in the process. Their guidance, support, and expertise have been invaluable. Their contributions have not only facilitated my research but also enriched my personal and professional development. Furthermore, this journey has allowed me to build a robust network, connecting with professionals, academics, and peers who share similar interests and aspirations. These connections have been instrumental in broadening my perspectives and will undoubtedly be beneficial in my future endeavors. 

Sharing these experiences and insights aims to encourage current and future PhD candidates, reminding them of the broader impact of their work and the personal transformation that accompanies the academic journey. The gratitude I hold for my advisors, all participants, and the network I have built is immense. It's these relationships that have truly enhanced the value of my PhD experience, demonstrating the power of collaboration and community in achieving academic and professional success. 

Author: Moritz Stahl


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