Ibrahim Ali – PhD Researcher in the area of Supply Chain Management

Why Study a PhD

Studying a PhD for me was driven by my passion for research and my lecturing job.

During my Masters studies, I got interested in supply chain risk management. At the same time, I stumbled on a book by Manuel Castells – “The Rise of the Network Society”. After reading briefly about societies and how they share information, I thought it would be interesting for me to do a PhD investigating Social Relationships and Supply Chain Risk Information Sharing.

At first, I didn’t know if  the University of Strathclyde offered PhD’s in Supply Chain, but after sending an enquiry email to the admission office, they responded and asked me to send in my proposal.

At this stage, I already had an admission offer from my previous University in London, but I wanted to try the University of Strathclyde because the ranking was impressive and the living expenses in Glasgow were far less compared to London.

Shortly after my enquiry from the admissions office, I received a reply that there was an academic that wanted to interview me. The skype interview was centred on my research proposal – particularly on my understanding of the problem and the research area. At the end of the interview, the interviewer who is now my first supervisor – Dr Ian Whitfield – asked if I had any questions and I replied, “when do I start”?

A few days later I was offered a position.

Studying in Glasgow

Studying in Glasgow is great fun!

The Glaswegian accent is not what I expected due to the fact that they speak fast and use lots of slangs. At the beginning it was quite challenging to have a long conversation especially when the discussion is outside your usually academic discussions. But as a PhD researcher I am surrounded by peers from all around the world, so I am introduced to many languages and accents!

Overall, I found a very diverse international community in Glasgow with shops and food for all nationalities at various locations in the city. We have a Nigerian community in Glasgow and we got together last year in Glasgow Green to celebrate Eid Kabir.

Also, the cost of living is affordable. I was able to get affordable accommodation 20 minutes away from the University. Like all areas in Glasgow, I have all of the facilities needed for my family to settle and blend in.

DMEM community

One decision I am so glad I made was choosing to study my PhD in DMEM.

This is because coming from the field of Business and finding myself in the midst of engineers was first strange, but it didn’t take long for me to realise that it broadens my world view. Whilst I am researching in the field of supply chain management, there are other researchers in the fields of design or manufacture engineering.

Because of this I got to know and appreciate the engineers problem-solving approaches and tools. We chat about our research while we are in the PhD student kitchen and at other departmental social events. I also get to know more about their research during the department poster review for researchers.

Furthermore, apart from the support and guidance I receive from my peers, the informal discussions I have with researchers and my supervisor in DMEM usually provide me with new ideas which I had never thought about, enabling me to develop both myself and my research.

I’ve made lots of brilliant friends through both the staff and my peers.

In all, I found my PhD, the department of DMEM and Glasgow an exciting adventure.

One important takeaway from my PhD is that I am here to add valuable and new knowledge to academic discussion in my field of study. I can’t be completely wrong or right and I need to accept that some ideas may be of less value in a particular context but I am open to new ideas and excited about what the future holds.

For further information about PhD study at the Department of Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management please visit our website