[Feature photo: Lim Leon Gim (left) and Tan Yee Heng (right), with Professor Srinivas K Reddy (centre), at the gala dinner reception of the LVMH-SMU Luxury Research 2018.]
By the SMU Postgraduate Research Programmes Team
The SMU academic research PhD programmes’ graduates have found good job placements. Not only does this indicate SMU’s strong ties and exemplary networks, but it also shows that our students have attained good job placements due to their high level of competence as well as our excellent academic standards.
We caught up with our very first two PhD in Business (Marketing) graduates, Lim Leon Gim and Tan Yee Heng, as they share with us about their first placements after their PhDs.
Q. Can you share with us what your first job placements are? What are you most looking forward to in your new job?
Yee Heng: I will be starting my position as an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Tokyo International University on 1 September 2018. My field of study is mainly in the digital marketing and entrepreneurship domain. I am looking forward to working with the faculty members in Japan. Japan is one of the regions in the world where the rapid advancement of new technology outpaces research, providing me, a research-oriented faculty member, with a great opportunity for seeking out any potential collaborations between the industry and the university. Immersing myself in the Japanese culture is an added bonus.
Leon Gim: I will be joining Tilburg University in September 2018 as an Assistant Professor in Marketing. My research interests lie in examining the financial impact of marketing actions such as pricing, customer satisfaction, and mergers and acquisitions. I am really excited to kickstart my academic career at such a great research establishment, and I look forward to potential collaborations with my new colleagues at Tilburg University.
Q: Can you share with us how you managed to land your first job placements? What was the process like?
Yee Heng and Leon Gim: The job market for academia is a long and rigorous process. To get the first job placement, we had to indicate that we were going into the job market and send our job packets comprising our published papers, working papers and teaching evaluations to recruiting universities. Once shortlisted, we had to go through an initial interview with the respective recruiting faculty from the university—either face-to-face at the Summer American Marketing Association Conference or through Skype.
Having exceeded the expectations of our respective recruitment committees, we eventually visited the relevant universities for our job presentations. During our visits, we met with the staff and faculty there. This entire process was the determining factor in securing our first job placement/offer.
Q: How did you find out about available positions? What did you have to do to prepare for the positions?
Yee Heng and Leon Gim: Academic positions are posted on the American Marketing Association Community posting board known as ELMAR. We found out about the positions from job postings, by the respective universities, on the site.
As mentioned previously, we prepared for the position by submitting several required documentation in our job packet. This was so that the relevant university would have sufficient information to evaluate us. In preparation for the interviews, we put together a presentation (and rehearsed it thoroughly) on our research—our current works, as well as our research and teaching interests.
Yee Heng (2nd from left) and Leon Gim (extreme right) with Assistant Professors Jung Kim (extreme left) and Kim Junghan (centre), and fellow PhD colleague Moon Sungkyun (2nd from right) at the gala dinner reception of the LVMH-SMU Luxury Research Conference 2018.
Q: What support did you get from your supervisor/SMU?
Yee Heng and Leon Gim: Our supervisors, Professor Srinivas K. Reddy (Yee Heng’s supervisor) and Professor Kapil R. Tuli (Leon Gim’s supervisor), played an integral role in helping us succeed in the job process. Research quality and presentation skills are some of the key criteria that determine your success in the job search. Throughout our time in the SMU PhD programme, our individual supervisors have worked with us on the same research papers and prepped us for conference presentations (by giving us their opinions and feedback). In essence, they have been preparing us for the job market since day one of the PhD programme.
SMU and the Lee Kong Chian School of business also supported us financially for our conferences and provided us with teaching opportunities. This allowed us to gain teaching experience that also served to prepare us for the job market and our eventual jobs.
Q: Could you share a few tips on how you aced the job interview?
Yee Heng and Leon Gim: Preparation is extremely important. This is especially the case for your interviews and fly-outs. There’s only one chance to impress the recruiting faculty. Thus, you should fully utilise this chance to do justice to the amount of hard work you had put in during the past few years (in the programme).
The ability to build rapport with your recruitment committee over the course of the interview will also set you apart as an excellent candidate for the position compared to the rest of the job applicants. The faculty at the hiring university will also be seeking a colleague whom they will be able to collaborate and/or work with. Therefore, being able to build a strong rapport with the faculty and staff of the hiring university may increase your chances of being offered a position at the university as well.
Q: What are your future career aspirations?
Yee Heng and Leon Gim: Getting a placement is just a checkpoint and not the end of our journey. Our next target is to achieve tenure in our respective universities, as well as strive for more research publications and practitioner collaborations.