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Student & Alumni Stories

What do our PhD students and alumni think of the PhD Program in Business Administration?
"You have the independence to determine your own research path, while receiving necessary support from expert faculty in your field. You also have the opportunity to engage in impactful and practically relevant research through collaboration with the wider business community."
Beldina Owalla,
PhD Business Administration alum (2017)

1. What is the attraction of doing research?

Research allows us to be curious, to acquire knowledge, and to constantly rediscover the world around us. It also provides the opportunity to contribute towards solving some of the challenges facing our society. 

2. Why choose SSE if you want to become a researcher?

You have the independence to determine your own research path, while receiving necessary support from expert faculty in your field.  You also have the opportunity to engage in impactful and practically relevant research through collaboration with the wider business community.   

3. What is the best thing about SSE if you are a PhD student?

The frequent research seminars held at SSE, as well as the support received to participate to conferences, workshops, and research exchanges both locally and internationally. Apart from the exposure to interdisciplinary research that this provides, PhD students also have the opportunity to interact and collaborate with colleagues and renowned scholars from all over the globe. 

4. What characterizes the PhD education at SSE?

Engagement with a diverse group of colleagues in terms of work/life experiences, and research topics and projects.  Close collaboration between PhD students and faculty, as well as between the university and external stakeholders.

"Regardless if you seek a career inside or outside academia, you will meet people that will advance your career in ways you could never imagine."
Erik Wikberg,
PhD Business Administration alum (2017)

Stockholm School of Economics offers a truly life enriching experience in the PhD program. I cannot personally imagine a better job. The daily life of a PhD student often revolves around reading and writing, but it is very much up to the individual student to decide what, when and how to study. The work is demanding, varied, and flexible – but most of all, incredibly fun. It is sometimes hard, but always meaningful.

As a PhD student you can benefit from the Stockholm School of Economics’ unique closeness to the business community in Sweden. You can expect to interact with the most prominent people in the industry you are researching, as well as world-renowned professors in your theoretical field. Regardless if you seek a career inside or outside academia, you will meet people that will advance your career in ways you could never imagine.

The PhD program is often described as an intellectual journey. To me it has also been a journey in the most obvious and literal sense. So far my research has brought me to Beijing, Jerusalem, London, New York, Paris, Tokyo and many more places. Such trips develop your competence and build your international network. However, the most exciting part of the program is actually the regular day-to-day work at the office. That is exactly how rewarding the PhD program is.

"The best thing about SSE if you are a PhD student is how close you are to the faculty and professors supervising you and other staff you work with. In its everyday life, the school and departments internally are very non-hierarchical and as a PhD student you are seen as part of the faculty, rather than as merely a student."
Per Åhblom,
PhD Business Administration alum (2017)

1. What is the attraction of doing research? 

The attraction of research for me is the possibility to have enough time to really explore a particular topic, up until the point that there are no more answers to be found on that topic by previous thinkers, but rather it is you who has to formulate those answers through observing the reality of practice and analytically making sense of what you see. I am attracted by the freedom and independence to do things my own way, but also coming back to a community of fellow researchers interested in the same topic and sharing what I find to further our joint knowledge of the area.

2. Why choose SSE if you want to become a researcher?

The PhD program in business administration at SSE is structured with the goal to turn you into an independent researcher. There are no ready-make and pre-designed PhD research projects to simply execute at SSE, rather the program gives you time and freedom to pursue the ideas that you bring into it. This is also what makes the program hard and challenging at times, but it allows you to develop the skills necessary for a future career in international research, where you are expected to be able to design and carry out large research projects independently.

The program also enables you to establish an international network of fellow researchers. Partly through generous funding for exchanges with other elite institutions in the world and international PhD courses and conferences, but also through visiting scholars and invited seminar speakers on a regular basis. 

3. What is the best thing about SSE if you are a PhD student? 

The best thing about SSE if you are a PhD student is how close you are to the faculty and professors supervising you and other staff you work with. In its everyday life, the school and departments internally are very non-hierarchical and as a PhD student you are seen as part of the faculty, rather than as merely a student. For me, this meant that I had a steep learning curve regarding both research and teaching practice as I could both observe and discuss these things informally as a colleague on a daily basis, rather than only through PhD courses and other formal interactions.

4. What characterizes the PhD education at SSE?

An ambition (and track-record) to produce independent researchers of a high quality. Highly internationally connected in terms of research and education, and with excellent connections to Swedish institutions and companies for empirical access and funding. An active and friendly research community.

"Doing research is like being sucked into a black hole. At first, you will feel alone, before the relevance of your thoughts gets connected with your colleagues. And what you thought was impossible is now possible. You have succeeded."
Anna-Stina Gillqvist,
PhD Business Administration alum (2016)

1. What is the attraction of doing research?

To change the world. Make time fly. Entering color into the minds of the research community.

2. Why choose SSE if you want to become a researcher?

It's the best choice. 

3. What is the best thing about SSE if you are a PhD student?

Doing research is like being sucked into a black hole. At first, you will feel alone, before the relevance of your thoughts gets connected with your colleagues. And what you thought was impossible is now possible. You have succeeded. 

4. What characterizes the PhD education at SSE?

Creativity. Finesse. And deep insight into your field.

"SSE has that eclectic mix of all great ingredients that has indeed shaped me not only in academia but also as an individual."
Maetinee Hemrit,
PhD Business Administration alum (2011)

1. What is the attraction of doing research?

In short, it would be “knowledge creation” yields from doing research. Personally, there are two experiences combined that led me into this venture.

Firstly, I did well in the first research paper during the Bachelor degree. It was challenging yet motivating to go through steps of research process, i.e. from coming up with my own research question to articulating the answers obtained. And, it was the most insightful way of understanding all the literature and long lectures.

Secondly, during my very first year working as a junior economist at the Central Bank, I was inspired by intellectual discussions with PhD graduated colleagues. That sense of wisdom surely drove me forward.

2. Why choose SSE if you want to become a researcher?

Serendipity I must say but things seem to happen for a reason. SSE has that eclectic mix of all great ingredients that has indeed shaped me not only in academia but also as an individual.

Given my economic and finance background, my PhD research was in the area of international business where literature was perfectly drawn from the good old spirit of Heckscher-Ohlin theorem to today’s knowledge-based view of multinational corporations. I then contextualized those concepts, well-embedded at SSE and the modern world of Scandinavian Simplicity, with Asian firms via explorative research. The learning curve was immense. Personally, I also evolved much through contrasting viewpoints from cultural as well as climate differences.

3. What is the best thing about SSE if you are a PhD student?

I would say frontier research together with thought-provoking multi-cultural folks in the corridor.   

4. What characterized the PhD education at SSE?

A rather opened space to fulfill intellectuals and excel in discipline. 

 

"I think one of the unique aspects of SSE is that it offers the perfect balance between creative freedom, and rigorous academic results."
Jesper Edman,
PhD Business Administration alum (2009)

1. Why choose SSE if you want to become a researcher?

I think one of the unique aspects of SSE is that it offers the perfect balance between creative freedom, and rigorous academic results. Like other top Ph.D. programs, SSE has faculty trained in the latest theory and techniques, who aim to publish research in the top journals; consequently Ph.D. students are held to the highest global standards.  At the same time, SSE has a culture of asking big questions, encouraging creativity, and fostering unorthodox ideas.

2. What is the best thing about SSE if you are a PhD student?

In the department where I studied, getting a Ph.D. was not seen as a job but a calling, and PhD candidates were encouraged to develop their own unique contribution to theory. This approach resulted in research that wasn’t easy, but almost always pushed theoretical boundaries in new ways. If you’re curious about how the world works, like figuring out puzzles, and want a shot at doing something original that no one else has thought of, then a Ph.D. might be perfect for you. The hours can be long, but they’re flexible, and you don’t really have a boss in the traditional sense. If you’re intellectually curious, are constantly asking questions, and refuse to settle for simple answers, then there there is no better line of work.

"Attraction of research is to enjoy the luxury of following your curiosity wherever it takes you and to boldly go where no wo/man has ever gone before."
Micael Dahlén,
PhD Business Administration alum (2001)

What is the attraction of doing research?
To enjoy the luxury of following your curiosity wherever it takes you and to boldly go where no wo/man has ever gone before.

Why choose SSE if you want to become a researcher?
Because of its intimacy -  between the great people there and with the great people, organizations and society that SSE has such close bonds with.

What is the best thing about SSE if you are a PhD student? 
I think there are as many answers as there a PhD students, and that's the cool thing. You are trusted to make your PhD studies pretty much into anything you want them to be.

What characterizes the PhD education at SSE?
The combination of work and play. You're given the opportunity to work really hard on forging your own path forward.

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