September in April

This week I started my Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) at Bristol Business School, part of the University of the West of England. It felt like a strange way to start a degree, not so much because everything was done over Teams but because of starting midway through an academic year which I’ve never done before: the feeling of September in April was a little disorienting.

This is going to be a part-time project for the next four to five years. One of the elements of the DBA is reflecting on one’s development over the course of the research, so I am hoping that keeping up the habit of recording progress here will make this easier.

The first week comprised induction and introductory material, readings from the course textbooks and a couple of case studies, several sessions with other doctoral researchers at different stages of their academic careers (really helpful) and cohort discussions with the director of studies and academic staff for the first block.

I had certainly begun the programme with a clear idea of my research topic: the best metaphor I can give for this week is that my research plan interacted with the workshops in the same way that a dropped Lego model interacts with the floor. I found the first day really daunting. By the end of the day on Tuesday, I was sitting in front of a pile of loose bricks, but by Friday I had the beginnings of a plan to build something slightly different and more structurally sound from the same elements. I’m now working on the first formal written elements: a 1,500 word summary of my research, and a longer 3,500 word piece justifying the relevance of the topic and setting out how I propose to address it.

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