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Studying for a PhD can be one of the most challenging – yet rewarding – times in a student’s academic career, and UBC Sauder’s rigorous PhD program is no exception. Students spend years researching, studying and writing their thesis, but the fact that many PhDs are dependent on grant and scholarship funding in order to follow their academic dreams can often be overlooked.

“Industry partnerships are hugely important to ensuring that students have the ability to pursue their studies and produce the ground-breaking, thoughtful research that UBC Sauder is known for,” explains Darren Dahl, director of the Robert H. Lee Graduate School and professor of Marketing and Behavioural Science at UBC Sauder. “As a school, we’re proud to be able to harness our long-standing relationship with organizations in the community to foster new talent and bring impactful research to fruition.”

Meet Johannes and Ekin

In 2013, Johannes Boegershausen was originally studying at another university when he came to UBC as a visiting student. The opportunity to work alongside Professor Dahl – one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of Marketing – combined with Johannes’ love of UBC Sauder’s research environment led him to join UBC the following year.

“The Marketing and Behavioural Science division embodies the best of what academia is: there are always thoughtful and stimulating conversations taking place between faculty and students, and faculty invest a lot of effort to see their students flourish,” explains Boegershausen, who is in his fourth year of study and focuses on social cognition.

Boegershausen studies alongside fellow Marketing PhD student Ekin Ok, who is currently exploring social influence and consumer decision-making. For Ok, the best part of her studies thus far has been the opportunity to work alongside as many faculty members as her time permits.

“There are so many leading researchers in the Marketing field at UBC Sauder, and having the chance to work with such a diverse group is one of the reasons I chose to study at UBC Sauder,” Ok explains. “I have the opportunity to learn from so many great professors and develop a greater sense of what area I’m interested in studying.”

The impact of donations

But it’s not just faculty who have helped Johannes and Ekin on their PhD journey. The students have both benefited from UBC Sauder’s long-standing relationship with Sales & Marketing Executives International (SMEI), which has been a valued partner of the UBC Sauder School of Business for more than 60 years. The organization is one of the biggest supporters of the school’s Marketing and Behavioural Science division through professorships, research awards in the Diploma in Marketing & Sales Management program and scholarship funding.

Earlier this year, both Boegershausen and Ok received funds from the Dan Gardiner Research Endowment, which was established by SMEI in 2013 to honour UBC Sauder Emeritus Marketing Professor Dan Gardiner. The endowment allowed the pair to continue their research during the summer months – which, according to Ok, has been “a privilege.”

“In the Marketing division, we’re very fortunate to have organizations like SMEI support us, because unlike PhD students in other divisions or faculties, we don’t have to worry about summer funding and how we’ll be able to continue our research during this time, which is a huge relief,” Ok explains. 

For Boegershausen, the Endowment helped fund part of his research into how a price conscious mentality affects how consumers perceive employees. In late 2017, the study was accepted for publication in the Journal of Consumer Psychology and received media coverage from outlets such as the CBC and The Globe and Mail.

“For more than 60 years, SMEI has witnessed the positive impact of our support on both students and faculty,” explains Willis Turner, President and CEO of SMEI. “The opportunity to help educate generations of sales and marketing professionals through our scholarships and endowments has been extremely rewarding, and we’re proud to support as many students as possible on their educational journey.”