University of Bath School of Management University of Bath School of Management

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Stefanie Gustaffson

Stefanie Gustafsson

Year of study: 3

What made you decide to embark on a PhD?

After finishing my Bachelor and Master in Australia and the UK, I first joined a Graduate Scheme and specialised in Human Resources. I quickly realised though that I missed the academic challenge and the university environment. The PhD gives me the opportunity to dedicate time to a field that I am really passionate about. At the same time, with the guidance of my supervisors, I can really take my research project and make it my own.

What is it like to live and study in Bath?

Bath is one of the best places to live and study in the UK. The University and especially the School of Management are known for research excellence, which is why I decided to apply for the PhD programme here. In addition, you get the opportunity to work with and be taught by leading scholars in various fields. Bath in itself is a beautiful place. It is great to go for a stroll in the city and enjoy the historic architecture or visit the surrounding countryside for a Sunday walk.

What is your research about and have you published any of your work yet?

My PhD research broadly explores the dynamics underlying partner promotions in law firms. It draws on qualitative data, interviews and participant drawings, collected from partners and HR professionals across seven UK law firms. I have started to present my findings at international conferences and I am currently working on developing my ideas into journal papers.

What does a typical week involve as a research student?

This really depends on the year you are in. In the first year, students usually take part in a range of courses on research methods, approaches and philosophy. At the same time you will start your literature review and continue to develop your research. During year two, once you have passed your transfer examination, you will usually start data collection. Year three is often all about data analysis and the write-up of your thesis.

What are you finding most challenging about studying for a PhD?

The PhD is very much your own responsibility and you have to make many decisions throughout your journey. Staying on track with the PhD can be challenging at times, as there are so many interesting theories and ideas out there. I found that getting feedback from your supervisors, other scholars in the department and your PhD colleagues from early on is very helpful.

What do you plan to do after completing your PhD?

I am planning to stay in academia and apply for a postdoc or lectureship position, ideally at a UK university

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