ISM insight: Life as an ISM student

The ISM Student Blog provides insight into life at ISM. Bloggers are current students and recent alumni who are excited about sharing their diverse learning experiences in ISM’s programs. Explore this blog to learn more about life at ISM, and how the program benefits students in the long run. You may also want to follow ISM on Facebook or join the conversation on Twitter.

It’s hard to believe that almost an entire year at ISM has come to an end! All my courses in Paris are over, and soon my ISM classmates and I will be embarking on two weeks of classes in New York City. This year has been such an incredible experience, and I am sure New York will be as well. But now, with classes ending soon, it’s time to think about my thesis. As IMBA students, we get another year to find a topic, research for it, write our thesis and present a draft to ISM. And then (probably) multiple revisions from there. It can feel like an intimidating process for many students; it certainly does for me!

Summer is now in its last few weeks, and I’m reflecting on my accomplishments thus far. I recently attended three face-to-face courses this past July at St. John’s University in New York City. I was very surprised at the level of expertise each professor had in their field, and the intensity of the content they each delivered. 

As a doctoral student, you are required to write two additional research papers outside of your traditional course assignments. The first paper, referred to as Case Analysis I, is assigned approximately one month before you begin the program; you have exactly three months to complete it. The second paper, referred to as Case Analysis II, is sent when you have completed approximately 75% of your course studies and also has a three-month deadline. Totaling 1.5 credits each, the first assignment is staged to serve as a baseline from which to measure your research and academic writing growth during the program.

When pursuing a doctorate degree, no matter your circumstance, you will inevitably receive the question, “How do you do it?” Admittedly, the schedule and deadlines are daunting but with a plan, a support system, and a desire to remain part of this elite and impressive group of students and alumni, it can be done.

During spring this year, I attended the face-to-face Disruptive Innovation course in Paris. Regarding the buzzword of "disruptive innovation," I was very excited about the benefits the course could offer for my daily work experience. And the three days of the course turned out to be very stimulating for me! I appreciated the diversity of the course participants in Paris. So much diversity allows for plenty of interesting discussions during the workshops, lunchtime, or at dinner. Perhaps disruptive ideas can even flourish along the way.

The life of a PhD student is indeed a journey that molds one’s character through perseverance, time management, restraint, and patience. It is now summer in New York, which means it is time to begin my scheduled courses at St. John’s University. This will be my very first set of face-to-face classes, and I’m quite excited to meet and learn from my fellow classmates and professors.

It is hard to believe that my time at ISM is coming to an end! I feel grateful that I still have a few classes left and some time remaining in Paris before I head back to New York. Two recent classes I had at ISM which stood out to me were “Digital Marketing” with Professor Desmond Cooney and “Technology Trends in Business” with Professor Elias Hadzilias. I was very much looking forward to both classes and they did not disappoint! Part of the reason why I enjoyed the classes was because both professors were particularly engaging and used video clips and websites to bring alive the topics being discussed. The other reason I enjoyed the class is because technology is becoming vital in the world of business, and I know little about it!

At the beginning of October 2017, I attended my third in-person course in Paris. My specialization in my program is entrepreneurship and innovation. But during that course, the focus is the future of work, which includes pivotal changes in the near future for organizations. As a mechanical engineer, I was very interested in how the profession and work environment will change for mechanical engineers in the future. The findings during the course and the final assignment were enlightening for me and changed my mindset about how I would be interacting with the upcoming megatrends in an organization. In this blog post, I will discuss my findings during the course, how mechanical engineering is changing, and what challenges will be involved.

In The Future of Work, I gained insight into the upcoming megatrends. I now understand how rapidly expanding access to information and ideas will disrupt traditional product development processes and product lifecycle management in the mechanical engineering field.

It has now been three months since I started the PhD program at ISM. So far, I've completed the initial requirement of the program: Case Analysis I worth 1.5 credits. Working on this paper helped me to comprehend the rigor of the research component of the program.

I think one of the most unique aspects of ISM is the flexibility of the programs, particularly for their fully employed students. I run a full-time real estate business in the United States, and, despite this, I am able to finish my coursework.  

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