The second person I visited was the Dean of the Business School. She spent a lot more time listening to me than talking, but she still helped me understand the nature of research. Since the student I spoke to first had told me that strategy professors often develop research without actually compiling the data, I wanted to know how that worked in practice. She explained that because a lot of data was already available, many researchers accessed it to compare and analyze companies. Still, strategy research did involve some formulation of new data at times, and it was up to each researcher to decide how a given project might be handled in that way.
She also made sure I understood the importance of choosing a school that matched my interests. I had received that advice before, but it was nice to know that the people at this school were more concerned that I choose what was best for me than trying to get me to prove my desire to go there.
I got asked that same question a lot - why research strategy if your interests were primarily in entrepreneurship? I answered consistently with the truth. I felt that the area of strategy was a good basis for a research in entrepreneurship, and most of the great minds in the field of ENT had started in strategy. I saw no conflict in my interests because the two fields have a great deal of common ground. I just want to work with the best people who will help me get a great start in my career. I have more interests than just entrepreneurship, and I want to find a school where I can learn which area would be the best for me to focus my career.
I think the Dean understood my perspective when we parted.
P.S.: Tomorrow: I spoke to another student who helped me understand a particular research term.