Part-time PhD student. Graduated 2006.
Head of Department, Business and Law and Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, National University of Ireland
PhD topic: Exploring the beliefsystems of senior managers: antecedents of managerial discretion
Before joining the Cranfield PhD Ihad spent 18 years in industry across most functions and several industries.Despite my enjoyment of leading business, I wanted something more fromlife and made a transition from the world of business to the world ofeducation by joining the Irish Management Institute as a strategy specialist.Once you have decided to work in education it is clear that you need atop quality PhD, and so the search began.
Why I chose Cranfield
For me there are three critical aspectsto consider when choosing a PhD location. First, the quality and reputationof the supervisor, both in terms of their academic reputation/capabilityand their ability to relate and work with the student. Second, the school’sability to develop your research skills. Third, the reputation of theschool in the community in which you want to work.
For me the decision was easy onceI sorted that out. I was honoured when Professors Andrew Kakabadseand Nada Kakabadse offered to supervise my work. The research methodologycourse that Cranfield offered is, in my opinion, the global benchmarkfor research training, and the school is one of only a handful in theworld that is respected as a leader by both the academic establishmentand the practitioner community. In hindsight the criterion I hadn’tconsidered, but now know to be crucial, is "Do they have a processthat will actually help me to progress through and finish the PhD?"It took me four years part-time, so that box was also ticked.
My experience at Cranfield
The culture of the academic community at Cranfield is a wonderful blend,bringing together pursuit of excellence with support and encouragement.At a structural level the research methodology course is probably themost outstanding element of the programme. It is a privilege to have hadthe chance to engage with the expert researchers who taught it but inaddition to this it gave me friends, colleagues and collaborators thatI am still in touch with today. Doing a PhD is, by it’s nature,a relatively solitary endeavour - part-time it is even more so.Nevetheless the Research Office who organise the regular forums to gettogether with fellow students and faculty gave me a sense of connectionwith the University that I still cherish. My personal experience of thesupervision at Cranfield stands out as the great personal gain, in Andrewand Nada I got supervisors, mentors, and now colleagues and friends -you couldn’t really ask for more.
Life after Cranfield
Having an award-winning PhD from Cranfieldcertainly hasn’t stunted my career. Soon after I graduated I becamehead of executive education at the Trinity-IMI Graduate School of Managementand I have recently moved to the National University of Ireland as Headof Business and Law. But it is more than the mark on the CV, it is thesense of achievement - a PhD acquired from a prestigious institution- that gives me an inner confidence.
If you have a passion for excellencein research there isn’t another place on the planet that would bemore hospitable to you.