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Oxford DPhil Programme in Management Studies

Oxford DPhil Programme in Management Studies

Alumni testimonials

George Chondrakis

Graduated 2013

Assistant Professor of Strategic Management, ESADE Business School

After six years, I said good-bye to Oxford and Saïd Business School and joined Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, as an Assistant Professor of Strategy, where I spent four years before joining ESADE. 

During my time as a doctoral student, I was part of a community of scholars who helped my career progress into the world of academia. The Oxford DPhil experience truly is unique. Two aspects I particularly enjoyed. First, the programme grants freedom in choosing your research and allows a lot of time in pursuing your research questions. The sense of pride and achievement once your thesis is finally complete is absolutely rewarding. Second, the doctoral community is a source of learning, support and entertainment. It certainly made the whole experience, which can sometimes be solitary, very pleasant.

Oxford is a fantastic place to study, with its charm and elegance, but it offers much, much more to experience. 

Samuel A.W. Evans

Graduated 2009

Research Fellow, Centre for CSTMS, University of California, Berkeley

I first experienced Saïd Business School as a Visiting Student. I was interested to work with Professor Steve Rayner and Professor Steve Woolgar. I attended the science and technology studies (STS) working group and took tutorials from Rayner on science and technology governance. Shortly thereafter I pursued my Masters of Science in Management Research, part of the Institute for Science, Innovation, & Society (InSIS). My research during that time was on understanding risks of genetically modified organisms within the World Trade Organization.

I completed my doctoral research in 2009. This research, supervised by Professor Steve Rayner, was on the Wassenaar Arrangement, an international informal group that works to prevent destabilising accumulations of conventional arms and dual-use technologies in regions of concern.

Saïd Business School appealed to me because unlike most business schools, there was a very strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research, as evidenced by it supporting units like InSIS. From 2009-2011, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard, which was a joint appointment with the Program on Science, Technology, & Society (STS), located within the Kennedy School of Government and the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

My DPhil degree, combined with the networks of scholars that Oxford provided, was entirely instrumental to my current position as Associate Director of Research at the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, & Society at the University of California, Berkeley.

Takamasa Fujioka

Graduated 2010

Director of Sasin Japan Center

I joined Oxford University to pursue an MSc. in management studies from 2004-5. I decided to continue my doctoral studies under Prof Christopher S Chapman and Professor Tomo Suzuki. The experience and training at Oxford changed my life completely and helped provide clear goals and direction for the rest of my career.

I was extremely lucky to study at Saïd Business School, as it is at the centre of interdisciplinary accounting and management research. This world-class university is where all top scholars and high-calibre young researchers gather to exchange ideas.

I always miss Oxford's traditional academic environment, tutorials, college life and all my precious time spent with my fellow colleagues.

Bjorn Haugstad

Graduated 2012

Norwegian State Secretary (Deputy Minister)

In my home country of Norway, Oxford is known for having a high murder rate (from the TV show Inspector Morse), vintage port and manipulative civil servants (Sir Humphrey in Yes, Minister), and of course University of Oxford; which dates back a century after our own glorious Viking age petered out at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066. What first attracted me to Oxford was this duality of attending a modern management building and education at a venerable and ancient university. Apparently, I hadn’t noticed the catchphrase “Oxford University has an 800 year history of educating leaders”.

Saïd Business School turned out to be everything I hoped for, and more. The most important thing I learned is the Oxford way of challenging students through independent thinking, critical reasoning, and original arguments. As a DPhil student you will meet regularly with your supervisor, who can be expected to ask all the difficult questions you’d rather avoid there and then, but they gently guide you out of dangerous waters and challenges your own way of thinking.

Almost as important as the Oxonian approach to supervision are your fellow students. Oxford attracts some of the brightest people from all over the world, which makes up an incredibly diverse body of students. The collegiate system means that you will share lunch-table or dinner-table with students from a wide variety of fields, providing unmatched chances to discuss your research with smart people that might stimulate entirely new perspectives on your work.

The DPhil experience from Oxford is invaluable in my current position, Norwegian State Secretary (Deputy Minister), with special responsibility for higher education and research. Not only does Oxford provide a gold standard for any higher education system, but the Oxford approach to critical reasoning is most useful when dealing with Norwegian universities. I am also fortunate that my thesis, in which I try to make sense of strategy realisation in knowledge-intensive organisations where professionals are fervently guarding their autonomy, turns out to be of some relevance to understanding how Norwegian universities actually work.

(Photo credit: Mentz Indergaard)

Hyunjoong Im

Graduated 2012

Assistant Professor at Peking University HSBC Business School

I am currently an Assistant Professor of Finance at Peking University HSBC Business School. Prior to starting my doctoral studies, I completed the MSc in Financial Economics (Dean's List, 2007) at University of Oxford, receiving a Distinction. I also earned a Master's degree in Economics and Finance from the University of Sydney (First Class Honours) and a Bachelor's degree in Statistics from Korea University.

The best part of my DPhil experience was that I had two supervisors who are specialists in different areas. Prof. Oren Sussman was a serious economic theorist and always liked having debates with his students, and Prof. Steve Bond was a well-known panel data econometrician and empirical financial economist. I feel very lucky to have learned scholarly attitudes, as well as, various research skills from two excellent supervisors with different styles. More so, they made me like academic research and gave me strong confidence that I can do research independently. My time at Oxford turned out to be extremely helpful in achieving my aim of being an “important” scholar.

Another wonderful part of my experience at Oxford was that I slept, studied, ate, exercised, and drank at Wolfson College for six years. The Wolfson College provided a nice library carrel and I enjoyed the gardens, common rooms, dining halls, cellar bars and playgrounds. I met a friends in college and have quite a few fond memories. Studying at Saïd Business School  was an unforgettable experience; I would confidently choose to study at Oxford again!

Jooyoung Jeon

Graduated 2010

Lecturer, University of Bath School of Management

I received tremendous guidance on research from Professor James Taylor, my former supervisor. The doctoral studies at Saïd Business School helped shape my life and career. Oxford has a global well-known reputation, but participating in the unique college lifestyle enhanced my experience. I grew to understand academic diversity and found Oxford to be a wonderful place for networking, enjoying sporting activities, and entertainment.

During my doctoral studies and Junior Research Fellowship at Oxford, funded by Her Majesty's Government, I collaborated with the National Grid, the SafeWind Project of the European Union and the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. Our research collaboration broadened the spectrum of my research interests in modelling and forecasting risk and uncertainty in energy and social media. I’m still extending my research topics in these areas.

From my experience, Oxford was a fantastic platform to start my academic journey, as well as, a pleasant academic home. I still return for many occasions at Oxford.

Masahiro Kotosaka

Graduated 2013

Associate Professor, Keio University

I joined Oxford's master's program (MSc. Management Research) because of the programme’s unique mix of disciplines. After completing my Masters I continued on with a DPhil in Management Studies, as I enjoyed working with Saïd Business School and the Oxford community. I enjoyed days with my colleagues and being involved with extracurricular activities such as sailing, but also having intense academic discussions with my supervisor and senior faculty members.

I learned a lot; not only from senior faculty members, but from my fellow DPhil colleagues. They inspired, motivated and encouraged me during the tough research periods. As a result, I worked hard, participated in conferences around the world and published several book chapters and other works. I found great joy working in academic studies and decided to devote my life to academic teaching and research whilst at Saïd Business School.

Danielle Logue

Graduated 2011

Associate Professor, University of Technology, Sydney

I chose to study at the University of Oxford because I was excited by the work of the Oxford Martin School. I was keen to learn how an ancient university was reorganizing its resources and knowledge across disciplines to tackle the greatest challenges facing society. I was particularly interested in the role of business and how the work of a business school could contribute in addressing such challenges - given that we live in an ‘organisational world’, and the management of everything from finite resources, hospitals, schools, multinational corporations, major projects and professions themselves is crucial in producing viable business models for the future.

Studying at Saïd Business School opened up doors to explore all of those issues and speak directly with leaders in their fields. And also those who are challenging it. But it wasn’t just the high profile professors, visiting CEOs and current and former Prime Ministers stopping by – it was the calibre and thoughtfulness of my own DPhil colleagues (now friends), that really kept you thinking and exploring. It’s to this network of friends that I can now send off a quick email for advice on an academic paper, consult about access to major international organisations, and with whom I now collaborate on projects.  It is the support and camaraderie that they provide that makes me still feel quite close to that sandstone on Park End Street.

I’ve taken the Oxford experience into my new position, in seeking a university business school with an agenda reflective of my own – in creating futures, and providing the freedom in research and teaching to be a challenger of the status quo. I find myself using the solid theoretical grounding I developed at Oxford and my time as a visiting scholar at Stanford, to explore new fields, organizations and practices – from Wikileaks, to social impact bonds, to social finance markets, and to the creative industries.

The Oxford name of course carries far, and it’s an experience that I treasure professionally and personally.

Kimberly Sugden

Graduated 2013

Global Consumer Insights at General Mills

I chose Saïd Business School and Oxford University because of their renowned research reputation in business, history, and the humanities. To truly understand consumer behaviour and the cultural context of business decisions, I wanted to incorporate aspects of each discipline into my research.  My doctorate ultimately combined in-depth consumer interviews, archival materials, advertising ephemera, and historical books to analyse the role of iconic trade-characters in advertising and brand relationships.

Oxford’s Bodleian Library supplied my research with a wealth of invaluable cultural material.  I will always treasure the inspiration and intellectual curiosity I gained while admiring rare documents and manuscripts in the architectural beauty of the Bodleian reading rooms.  Oxford’s proximity to London also allowed me to draw from the resources of national museums, exhibits, and lectures.  Uncovering historical lessons brought current research and theory alive, and helped me construct a deeper understanding of cultural movements and consumer behaviour.

I've brought both the intellectual spirit of Oxford University and the knowledge I cultivated in this city of spires to my role in Global Consumer Insights at General Mills.  As one of the world’s largest food companies, General Mills places great importance on listening to consumers and delivering products that nourish their lives.  My Oxford research has allowed me to analyse these business opportunities with a unique socio-historical lens.  From fostering new product innovation, to growing brand relationships and advancing advertising campaigns, I continually apply academic Oxford experiences to provide reflective global business solutions.

Sumudu Watugala

Graduated 2015

Assistant Professor of Finance, Cornell University

The coursework in the finance department, which is offered jointly with the economics department, gave me a strong grounding in fundamentals. It also introduced me to other DPhil students in finance and economics, who form a great collaborative community and can point you to other resources or offer advice and help. There are few silos and no extreme competition – it is a collaborative, supportive environment. Because of the relationship with the economics department, and my affiliation to the Oxford-Man Institute, I had access to even more resources and enjoyed being part of a wider community of faculty and students with similar interests. During my doctoral studies, I was also able to have a productive collaboration with my thesis supervisor on research, which led to publication in a top journal in finance. Being able to work on a project with an experienced faculty member is a great way to learn, especially to gain first-hand knowledge of the publication process.

Now I have started an academic job at Cornell University, and I know it was the right decision for me. As an academic you have greater independence in the research agenda you pursue. If I find a question that is interesting and relevant, I can pursue it to a proper conclusion. The sort of research I can do at a university is all about understanding how things really work and using knowledge to make a difference to people. 

Michael Weeks

Graduated 2004

Dean, Archie W. Dunham College of Business; Professor of Management, Houston Baptist University

Earning my DPhil at Oxford was a fantastic experience. My programme of study bridged the areas of technology management and strategy as I explored how information technology outsourcing relationships affect firm-level innovation. Since my work spans several research streams, the individualized nature of the Oxford experience allowed me to explore areas that wouldn’t have been possible in many programmes. Additionally, my supervisor was one of the pioneers of this area of research and really helped me understand the nuances of these complex inter-organizational relationships. Moreover, the reputation of the University of Oxford gave me access to large multi-national firms for my research case studies. The breadth and depth of the Oxford experience was unmatched by other programs I considered for my doctoral studies. I feel extremely fortunate to be an Oxford alumnus.

On a personal level, my family and I loved living in Oxford. At the time, my daughters were young and the international experience is something they treasure to this day. We lived in a local community and my children went to British primary schools for three years.  We traveled extensively in Britain and Europe and now have memories that we will cherish for a lifetime.

I currently serve as an Associate Professor of Management at the University of Tampa in the USA.  I published several articles on outsourcing and innovation after leaving Oxford and I now do research in a number of related areas including innovation management and knowledge management. My desire for eclectic research areas has not diminished since I left Oxford. I am currently working with a doctoral student on a project exploring leadership in extremis (i.e. life threatening) environments. The research foundation I received at Oxford has served me well as I have pursued my academic career.

Meng Zhao

Graduated 2010

Associate Professor in Strategy and Organization at Business School, Renmin University of China

Studying a DPhil at Saïd Business School was life-changing. The five years helped shape my interest in social enterprise, confirmed my ambition to pursue an academic career, and introduced me to excellent colleagues. I came to Saïd Business School expecting to become a great researcher and scholar; I moved on identifiying my career goals and life-long friendships.

My previous posts include: visiting fellowship at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, post-doc research at the Stanford University’s Philanthropy and Civil Society Research Center, and also as  assistant professor in organization and strategy at Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO. I also co-founded and sit on the board of several nonprofit organizations in Hong Kong and in the UK.

My current research looks into several topics:

  1. Corporate social responsibility in emerging economies;
  2. Multinational corporations’ adaptation strategy in emerging economies;
  3. Determinants of new venture growth in emerging economies;
  4. social innovation.

My research projects share an interest in understanding the following questions: first, how does the changing institutional environment in emerging economies shape the distinctive features of management issues, and challenge the effectiveness of existing strategies? Second, how does innovation at the intersection of business and social issues inform organizational (both business and social organizations) strategies in emerging economies? And lastly, what is social innovation like and how does it evolve in emerging markets?

Malte Ziewitz

Graduated, 2012

Assistant Professor at Cornell University

If you're simply looking for a way to spice up your CV, a doctoral degree is probably not a good idea. In my experience, doing a DPhil is more like an apprenticeship – an apprenticeship in research. That’s why people matter so much more than university brands. You grow with those around you: your supervisor, your fellow students, and all the other members of your academic community.

I have been extremely fortunate in this regard. The Science & Technology Studies (STS) group at Saïd Business School has offered me an exceptionally stimulating and supportive environment. From day one, I was involved in research and teaching projects, presented at conferences as soon as my findings allowed, and worked together closely with professors, post-docs, and a steady flow of international visitors. In this environment, I could not only develop my doctoral project on Evaluation as Governance, an ethnographic study of web-based reviews, ratings, and rankings in healthcare and search engine marketing. I also won my first ESRC grant as DPhil student, which resulted in the How’s My Feedback? project.

After a stint as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at New York University, I joined the Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University as an Assistant Professor. I hope to pass on a bit of my Oxford experience to my own students in the future.


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