Meet IE Scholar is a new initiative in which we will feature one of the members of our community with the idea to learn more about their current research as well as a bit about their personal interests. We intend to feature well-known scholars as well as junior researchers. Please feel free to reach out to us with ideas for future Meet IE Scholar interviews!

We thank IE-Ambassador, Dr. Lasse Torkkeli, for sending us his interview with Dr. Sami Saarenketo, Dean and Professor of International Marketing at School of Business and Management, LUT University, Finland.

Question: What are your key areas of research?

Sami Saarenketo:  I completed my PhD thesis on born globals almost exactly 20 years ago, in December 2002. The topic focused on the antecedents and performance outcomes of the born global phenomenon. Ever since I’ve stayed in this [IE] domain, so my research has linked to many things on born globals and international new ventures, for instance their strategic orientations, capabilities, strategies, and the pathways that they adopt on their way to international markets. And ultimately the performance implications.

Question: What are you currently working on?

Sami Saarenketo: My latest research is on the survival strategy of Finnish entrepreneurial firms in the time of global crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic. We developed a chapter on this research in a book edited by Professor Hamid Etemad, one of the founding fathers of the whole IE community.

Question: What are a few of your personal hobbies?

Sami Saarenketo: I do sports, I go twice a week to play tennis, and I also try to find time to go to the gym. Most importantly, my hobby is music: I play guitar and sing. During the covid pandemic I started a weekly post of “song for the weekend” in Instagram. That’s my hashtag there, #songfortheweekend¨just to cheer up friends and colleagues. We have also long had the Professors Rock band in our university, and we’ve done gigs in university events for example.

Question: Where will we see you next?

Sami Saarenketo: You will be seeing me next in the 2022 EIBA conference in Oslo. There I will be taking part to the EIBA history panel, which I was invited to. My first EIBA was back in 2004 in Ljubljana, so I’ve been going to EIBA conferences since almost 20 years, and it’s one of my regular conferences which I like to attend. It’s my sixth and last year as the country representative for Finland in the EIBA board, and I will leave that position to Professor Tuija Mainela from the Oulu Business School next.

Question: What do you think about the IE Scholars community?

Sami Saarenketo:  I think it’s a fantastic community. It started quite small, but it’s grown very big, as international entrepreneurship has increased its impact quite a lot during the last couple of decades. And in conferences such as EIBA and the main AIB, I think the role of IE has increased tremendously. For instance, one year I was a track chair for the IE track at EIBA and it was the biggest track of the conference, it received the largest number of submissions [of any track] and I think that that has been the case in many years for the EIBA conference, quite often it [IE] is the biggest track. So, it kind of tells you about the impact of IE and how that has grown. It started with the McGill IE conference, but it has increased its impact in the conferences in general. I think it’s a fantastic community and it has established itself quite well. It’s great to be a part of the IE community.