PhD in Management, 2005
Country of origin: Finland
Employer: University of Lapland
Janne (from Finland) was supervised by Professor John Burgoyne in the Management Learning Department, though registered through the PhD in Management programme. This allowed him increased access to our Research Training Programme.
Before I started the PhD project in Lancaster in 1999 I had studied engineering and industrial management in Helsinki. After graduation I worked in projects focused on organisation development in a rapidly growing global corporation. Those projects often addressed problems which did not seem to be entirely solvable with the mainstream management ideas that I had come across during my studies, and that I encountered in the literature. I came to the view that I wanted to continue my studies. The primary objective was not to learn problem solving but to enhance critical thinking. Hence, I wanted to study at a university which is known for being good but different. I have not regretted that I chose Lancaster.
For me, as a research student, the most valuable thing was the highly encouraging and supportive research community. There was (and is) a great bunch of people with interesting ideas. It is easy to approach everybody, both the members of the staff and the fellow students, regardless of whether they are from one's own department or from another faculty. Crossing boundaries is encouraged and good discussions that help one to push one's thinking a step further are always around. The studies in Lancaster have an impact. Those who consider Lancaster should take into account that the early ideas about the research topic may get a radically revised form through such conversations. It surely happened in my case.
The doctoral studies in Lancaster, in the PhD in Management programme, in the department of Management Learning and Leadership, and in the doctoral training programme, have been a valuable means for developing my thinking. The PhD project in Lancaster led to various ideas, which will have an impact on my teaching, research, other professional activities and on my life for a long time.
Based on the discussions that I've had and continue to have with many of my fellow students, and good friends these days, I'm not alone with these experiences. For those who want to challenge their own, and others', thinking, Lancaster is a good place. Also the surroundings - and the pubs - are nice. A word of warning though: the friendly and welcoming atmosphere makes it difficult to leave Lancaster behind.