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Zubin Sethna

Currently enrolled, Doctor of Philosophy Marketing

'Why I wanted to do a PhD'

With 15 years working in industry and also having started 5 businesses, I believed that I had achieved something significant in my corporate career. Then having sold one of my businesses, I found myself teaching marketing to early career CIM students. I wanted to achieve something significant from an academic perspective. As I enjoyed teaching at university level so much, I decided to stay, explore my curiosity about the interface of marketing and entrepreneurship and further develop my expertise in entrepreneurial marketing, hence the beginning of the PhD. I had also felt that my entrepreneurial experiences of conducting research in industry would lend themselves well to helping me with my doctoral studies. Overall, I felt that I was at a life-stage where I could appreciate the role that a PhD would play in improving my skills and my life.

'My experience of doing a PhD in Stirling Management School'

Decisions, Decisions!! Before I enrolled at Stirling, I was actually offered a place at another top 10 UK institution, and so I was forced to choose. The choice was simple. Do I opt for the so-called elite university because of their ‘name’ or do I go with well-reputed university where I feel at ease with my supervisor? One very uncomfortable meeting with the potential supervisor at this other institution and my mind was made up! I believe that a supervisor has the ability to make or break a student. My experience of Stirling has been such a positive one right from the very beginning. My supervisor is a caring realist. He has been totally sympathetic to the fact that I’ve been studying part time with the pressures of a fulltime faculty job and three young children at home! In addition, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with other members of the world-class faculty who have had a profound effect on developing my own intellectual rigour, and enabled me to find out who I really am, what my limits are (my dislike of quants!) and which direction I should head in next.

'Where I aim to head with my career'

In conversation we quite often use the cliché ‘broadened horizons’ but in my case it’s a term which has helped me to create logical yet enthusiastic arguments based on a robust foundation of engaging in academic debate. The research domain of my PhD studies enabled me to both contribute to and co-edit a book on the subject which has meant that I now have access to a worldwide community of leading academics and researchers in my domain with whom I can work in the future. In addition, my PhD studies have enabled me to start to develop ‘journal article’ writing skills which have led to a couple of publications. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of a great university which has developed an environment where students and their ideas can be turned into something tangible like a book. Yes, for those of us who are passionate about education, teaching, and nurturing young UG and PG students in today’s world, the PhD undoubtedly, of course, also provides a ‘license to operate’, but it’s so much more than that! Yes, I ultimately want to progress from being an associate professor to a full professor somewhere, and the PhD is a significant piece of that jigsaw.

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