About My Degree: PhD Management Science by Oliver Schaer

I applied to the PhD programme while I was studying for my Masters in Marketing Analytics and Management Science in Lancaster. Initially, my research idea was part of my Master dissertation project, but I was quite interested in this topic and thought that it might be an interesting alternative before embarking into the business world. One of the main motivations was that a PhD provides a unique opportunity to explore a subject more thorough; something that is not possible in taught degrees. Moreover, I also regarded the PhD as a great opportunity to obtain close mentoring from leading experts to strengthen my quantitative modelling skills. I am very grateful that the Department of Management Science was able to provide me with a scholarship that covered my tuition fees and living costs.

One advantage of developing the research proposal alongside my master studies was that I already had some initial experiences about the style of supervision. I believe that the choice of supervisor is very crucial given the long-term perspective and commitment from both sides. Ultimately, this was also the reason why I only applied to Lancaster. In hindsight I am very happy with my decision to have embarked on this ambitious project. I enjoyed the overall aspect of research and being able to develop new methods to improve the decision-making process. One of the highlights was the attendance at international conferences. Not only provided this very important feedback for work in progress, but it also allowed me to build a substantial research network. Moreover, the ability to explore different parts of the world was a nice perk.

Lancaster University is a truly international place, and the different cultures enrich social life. There are many ways to engage with other students, and I always enjoyed the discussions in the office. I believe that the student experience will also be enhanced by the completion of the new LUMS building, which will provide additional space and facilities. On the other hand, I was also keen to be in contact with the local community to maximise my UK experience. By joining the Lancaster tennis club in town, I had the opportunity to get to know many small villages within Lancashire when playing away games in the local league.

I found that peers at Lancaster been very helpful to provide new students with a great start into PhD life. At the Management Science programme, each new PhD student gets their own mentor, who can be contacted for any questions around the programme but also live in Lancaster and the UK. Another aspect I found positive is that the faculty is always open to new suggestions that could potentially improve the programme for future students.

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