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Edita Petrylaite

Business-with-Hospitality-and-Tourism-Management_Student_Edita-PetrylaitePlease tell us about your career path since leaving Northumbria

After graduating from Northumbria University Newcastle Business School with MSc with commendation in business, tourism and management, I was offered to further continue my studies at the Newcastle Business School and applied for the PhD studentship in Marketing. Following the successful interview, I have been pursuing my career as a doctoral candidate since the beginning of 2011.

Please tell us about your current job and what it involves

Currently, I am in the final year of my doctoral studies and carrying out a project that explores how social cultural norms such as the current perception of masculinity influence male consumer behaviour. My role as a doctoral researcher involves reviewing the gender and consumer behaviour literature, studying the tenets of the chosen methodology, designing the project and collecting data. At the end of the project, the data gathered will be analysed and presented in the form of a theory that marketers and business developers can then implement into practice and meet the needs of contemporary male consumers.

In addition, to being a PhD student, I am also expected to meet deadlines, show progression on a yearly basis when meeting with the panel members, and disseminate the results of my research at internal and external conferences. So far, it has been an exciting journey requiring lots of devotion, determination, stamina and skills which we, researchers, gain through practice and various attended seminars. To be a PhD student is never boring as there is a wide community of doctoral students at the Business School coming from various parts of the world and for this reason, we have a chance to learn more about other cultures and their traditions while socialising.

Over the past half a year, I had a great opportunity to work as a research assistant. I was happy to be of help to the research team and assisted it in data transcription checking and handling a large set of qualitative data using NVivo software. Through this work, I not only gained experience in organising large amount of interviews, managing both the research assistant’s and the PhD’s responsibilities at the same time but I also enriched my understanding what issues female leaders face when climbing the career ladder in big organisations.

What made you choose Northumbria University?

I chose Northumbria University for my studies primarily out of convenience. I had already been living in Newcastle for a few years – I had already known the city well and this meant less stress for someone who wanted to study on full-time basis as a mature student. More importantly, Newcastle Business School had a very good reputation for preparing prospective business leaders and as a result, it was among the best business schools in the UK. It did not take long to convince me to invest my money into the MSc course at Northumbria.

Why did you choose to study in the UK?

I had chosen to study in the UK because I was already living in this country. Before applying for the Masters course at Newcastle Business School I searched for other options to obtain a Masters degree in other European countries however studying for two years did not appeal to me. This was not only because of the costs attached to it but also because of the length of studies and the barrier of language. Graduating from a UK University meant not only a British degree in my pocket but also improved English skills so needed for pursuing a career particularly in UK based organisations.

What was your favourite thing about your course and/or Northumbria University?

My favourite thing about my course was that it involved lots of practical work in teams. By completing assigned tasks, we got an opportunity to find out more about ourselves as leaders or team members depending on what role we had to play. This was a hands-on experience allowing to get a real taste of management and collaboration. I still recall the Management Development Residential weekend when these characteristics dehisced naturally through active participation in various tasks or during a business simulation exercise when running a simulative business with the team.

What societies/activities did you take part in outside of your studies?

The postgraduate course was intensive so relaxing activities such as going to the cinema with friends or watching a DVD at home were often needed. I particularly enjoyed strolling alongside the River Tyne in the Quayside at the weekends extending this pleasurable experience by stopping in one of the nearby cafes for an afternoon tea or coffee. Quite often, this used to be followed by a retail therapy giving myself a treat for all the hard work during the week.

How would you describe the city of Newcastle as a place to live and study?

I love Newcastle. To me it is the city that has all you need: there are two universities, plenty of museums and galleries, lots of bars, clubs and shopping centres. It can please anyone with any taste. What I like about Newcastle is its size – the city is neither too big nor too small. You don’t need to spend hours to get from one location to another. It has very good transport links with nearby towns such as Tynemouth or Whitley Bay and you are at the seaside within a half an hour.

In one sentence, sum up your time here at Northumbria.

I have absolutely enjoyed studying at Northumbria University as it is a place where I got a Masters degree in Social sciences, where I acquired business development knowledge and skills and where I made friends with people from all over the world.

If you have one, please describe a fond or positive memory of your time at Northumbria.

It is really a paradox. I remember students from the same Masters programme just in different business pathways sharing their future plans with me. Many of them even before graduating wanted to pursue a further degree – a PhD. This was not on my mind at all as I was planning to go and apply my learned skills and knowledge in practice. I remember preparing for class activities in the hub area on the 4th floor and seeing people coming in and leaving a room. One day this room was particularly popular – the door kept opening and closing all the time so it caught my attention and for curiosity I went to see what the room was. It was written on the door “PhD/ DBA. Research suite”. I thought “Well, that’s not for me. These are my last studies. I’m done with studying”. Funnily enough, it was exactly where I ended up after more than half a year of time. Who knows maybe someone who is also wondering around the room one day might also be a prospective PhD, DBA or DBL student at the faculty of Business and Law.

What professional achievement are you most proud of since leaving university?

After graduating from the Masters course, I have continued studying further and, I have to say, this is my biggest achievement. To undertake a PhD course at a British University was not even in my dreams. I am very proud of myself for managing to get to where I am at the moment, as, when I embarked on a career change, this was not in my mind at all. But life is full of unexpected surprises. We certainly don’t know what the future holds for us.

What career objectives do you still have?

My primary aim is to successfully finish my doctorate studies and acquire a PhD degree, which potentially could take me to the lecturing career. Undertaking a research project is a fascinating but challenging journey at the same time – full of surprises and discoveries. This fascinates me and I would like to give it a full go. At the same time, I would like to become an academic journal reviewer and one-day maybe even an academic journal editor.

How have your experiences at Northumbria University helped your life and career so far?

A gained Masters degree in the Business and Tourism subject as well as undertaking a three year PhD project gave me more confidence than I had before. The experience of being a postgraduate student provided me much more opportunities than I could ever imagined: I became a PhD candidate, just recently have worked as a research assistant and who knows, maybe soon I will embark on the academic career.

What advice would you give students who wish to pursue a similar career to yours?

I would definitely advise students to invest their capital into education as the capital you get afterwards is of much bigger value: the experience you get, the knowledge you acquire, the friendships you create while studying and the degree you get are worth every single penny. I have no regrets for my decision to do a Postgraduate course and then a PhD afterwards. Studying in the UK has been the biggest challenge I have ever undertaken. I have to say, it has not been a plain sailing but in the end, it has given me something in return – wisdom, maturity, stamina, self-confidence and a stronger believe in myself and in what I do.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about studying at Northumbria University?

I would definitely advise other students to study at Northumbria as its reputation has been proven to be right. Majority of the teaching staff is educated to a PhD level or higher. Most of them have got both practice and knowledge based experience. You feel welcome and being supported from the very first day. Looking into the resources, there are many facilities available for students to study starting from the hub area in the Business and Law School to the spacious library with some floors which have been specifically designed for quiet studying. The university library holds a big collection of books and printed journals with many top ones also being easily accessed via electronic databases. Most importantly, there are various courses available where you can acquire the skills needed from writing you assignments and thesis to more specific skills such as working with a specific software.

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