Giulio Nardella
Associate Professor of Sustainability & Global Strategy, ESCP Business School
PhD Management (2012-2017)

What was the best thing about the PhD programme at Warwick Business School?

One of the best aspects of the PhD programme at WBS was the research culture. It really is difficult to overstate this characteristic of the school. The significant support from - and engagement with - leading researchers enables students to quickly familiarise themselves with the conventions of their discipline and lay the foundations for their future careers.

What inspired you most throughout your research studies?

I had a deep intellectual curiosity for my subject for a very long time. This quality is fundamental, and I look for it in my own PhD students. But, I have to say, my supervisor at WBS inspired me the most, to keep me going, even when things became difficult. His encouragement and guidance made all the difference.

Tell us about your experience of finding and working with a supervisor during your research studies

Prior to joining the PhD programme, I chose to do my Masters degree at Warwick Business School. During that time, I approached my lecturers, began discussing ideas for research projects, and then, finally, felt confident enough to write a PhD proposal with the support of a potential supervisor. By that time, my supervisor had a fair understanding of me as student and as a person. It is worth noting that a PhD is a big commitment for both you and your supervisor. You will be working with each other for several years. Like all relationships, they can vary significantly. But, overall, whether you are already studying at WBS or from another institution, it is important to get conversations going as soon as possible. The relationships that you build will enhance the chances of a successful outcome, and hopefully, enable you to ‘hit the ground running’ when you begin.

Can you tell us about your current role?

At present, I’m an Associate Professor of Sustainability & Global Strategy at ESCP Business School, where I am the Director of the Masters in Management Programme (which is ranked 7th globally by the Financial Times, Economist, and QS, respectively). I also continue to support WBS in my position as Associate Fellow of Strategy and International Business. In my role at ESCP Business School, I continue to follow my research interests, but I am also increasingly active in the administration of the school, alongside supervising PhD students. It really is fantastic to think that what was passed on to me at WBS, I now continue pass on to others.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in academia?

The freedom, both intellectually and practically speaking, is what drove me to pursue academia as a long-term career path. There is, however, no getting away from the knowledge that the financial incentives offered by ‘industry’ are substantial. Although, being actively encouraged to pursue your own creative interests is very appealing. This is not to say that life as a researcher is utopian, because it’s not. But, on the whole, pursuing an academic career is incredibly fulfilling. Finding that fulfilment was important to me, which, I felt, was much more difficult to gain elsewhere.

How did WBS prepare you for your current academic role?

WBS has always been known for its commitment to academic excellence. By getting involved in the vibrant research community, WBS helped me develop the confidence to put forward my ideas, question, and be questioned in a way that prepared me for my various academic roles. Early on and throughout my studies, WBS exposed me to research seminars, conferences, and teaching. All of which was vital preparation for the job market and for life as an academic.

As a PhD alumnus, what advice would you give to potential students wanting to join the PhD programme at WBS?

I have three main pieces of advice to prospective PhD students. First, start having conversations with staff as soon as possible. Put effort into building relationships at the school. It’s a big commitment, so do not treat this part of the process lightly.

Second, make sure you have the dedication and intellectual curiosity to get you through the tough times. Studying for a doctorate is one of the most difficult and demanding endeavours one can embark on. Make sure you are ‘ready’ and doing a PhD for the right reasons.

 Finally, if you are passionate and driven to pursue a doctorate, make sure that you do not rush your initial PhD proposal. Seek advice and make sure that you craft your proposal to showcase your writing and understanding of the important research gaps.