From my experience so far: Advice for new PhD students

Emmanuel socphd blogEmmanuel is a member of Centre for Advances in Marketing, Business and Management Research Institute at the University of Bedfordshire Business School, Luton. England. His research investigates the framework of print advertisements for consumer banking services in the UK in terms of visual communications (images) and appeals and understanding customer’s perceptions of visual communications. His research interest lies in visual consumption and communication of corporate designs.  You can follow Emmanuel via his twitter account @e_mogaji and at

  1. Develop a professional relationship with your Supervisor

They aren’t your mother, father or Uncle, they are here to shape your research future, approach them professionally, and starting from email and what you discuss, remember they will be your referee and pave the way for you few years time, treat them with respect and seek help if you think things are not working. However, be rest assured after three years, things will change, and you will become closer, discussing personal issues and shared interest.


  1. Show your commitment

Supervisors are expecting a lot from you and you must show them that you are willing and ready for this PhD journey. Meet deadlines, plan ahead for meetings with action plans – things you will like to discuss for each meeting, create it in your calendar and copy them in. At meetings, discus your ideas and what you have found.


  1. Identify the core areas of your research

Know the boundaries of your research continually define them till you reach conclusions, discuss idea with your supervisors so they can help prune the idea if it’s getting really big and may not be manageable. It saves time and unnecessary stress and prepares you well enough for the task ahead.


  1. Be mindful of competition

The university accepts more PhD students that they graduate each year, so be mindful that you are in here to compete for attention from your supervisors, time in the office space, books at the Library and other resources. Your supervisors too have their time constraints – they have other PhD students rounding up so you need to take your initiative to make use of the limited resources. Make your meetings productive, send email if need be.


  1. Start working on your professional brand

Thinking ahead where you want to be after your PhD, start creating a professional brand and social media presence as well, separating your personal life from your professional activities. Prospective collaborators, partners and employers will search for you, what will they see? If you start now, you have a better presence three years time. Create a Linked in page, highlighting your strengths, Twitter to share idea and network. Consider ResearchGate or to share your publications and a Google Scholar profile. Be ready for that challenge. Remember it takes time.


  1. Don’t Rush to attend conferences

Develop the scope of your work in your first year, identify and mark your boundaries and don’t rush to present your work at conference as you may be embarrassed about some feedback at your work and could find it discouraging. I will suggest conference at second year onward.


  1. Be Social

It’s a boring long journey, have friends, physically and virtually, Come socialise with other researchers as it could be very lonely road. Remember you are the only one who fully understands what going on with you but you can rely on support and encouragement of other around you. Do not hesitate to ask questions, find out what they are doing and enjoy yourself. You can also identify those you have related work and your can support yourself throughout the journey.


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