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University of Auckland launches Doctoral Entrepreneurial Leadership Programme

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14 April 2022

The University of Auckland has launched its inaugural Doctoral Entrepreneurial Leadership Programme run by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). The free, year-long programme is designed to equip doctoral candidates from all disciplines with an entrepreneurial mindset and skills by teaching them tools and frameworks to develop ideas, opportunities, and solutions.

Programme Manager Judith Marecek says, “Doctoral students have deep discipline knowledge and the ability to problem-solve, think critically and in-depth, and take a range of angles and perspectives into account. We recognise that they have a unique skill set that, when combined with an entrepreneurial mindset and capability, can lead to increased impact from research, leading to a wide range of benefits for the economy and society. This impact could be in commercialising scientific discoveries, creating social programmes and initiatives based on research, as translators of knowledge between researchers, business and the community, and a whole range of other careers in the innovation system. CIE’s Doctoral Entrepreneurial Leadership Programme will also support doctoral candidates who might not continue within academia for a career outside of universities.”

The programme was planned to commence with a multi-day residential workshop in March, however, this has now been moved to October to increase the likelihood that all participants, facilitators, and speakers will be able to attend. Instead, the first day of the programme was held at Unleash Space, the University of Auckland’s innovation hub, allowing the cohort to connect in person. 

The 2022 cohort for the Doctoral Entrepreneurial Leadership programme consists of 21 students from study areas as diverse as biological sciences, dance and mechanical engineering. For many participants, the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals from around the university was a key factor when deciding to apply. Jiahui Liu, a doctoral candidate from the faculty of Creative Arts and Industries, says “Because of the pandemic, I haven’t had many chances to connect with people in New Zealand. I’m a very social person, so I’m excited to be talking to different people, working with them, and learning together. It’s cool being able to watch people from many different fields develop an entrepreneurial mindset together.”

Dr Heidi Collins, Doctoral Experience Manager at the University’s School of Graduate Studies, sees the programme as a valuable opportunity for students to create meaningful change from their research. She says, “Doctoral candidates often ask how they can translate their research and skillsets into real-world impact and meaningful careers. Not only can this programme open new career pathways for candidates, but developing an entrepreneurial mindset can help them to better identify opportunities in the research landscape and creative ways to make a real-world impact throughout their candidature.

“Entrepreneurial mindsets are valuable to doctoral candidates from all disciplines, especially those who might not currently describe themselves as ‘entrepreneurial’. Entrepreneurship and innovation are not, as I wrongly assumed when I was an undergraduate, just for people who aspire to start their own businesses. Having an entrepreneurial mindset is so much more than that. It’s about creativity, adaptability, communication, and collaboration – all skills that help us to become better researchers, managers, teachers, consultants… or wherever our careers might take us.”

Saima Qutab, a doctoral candidate from the Business School, joined the programme for this very reason. She says, “During the first two years of PhD, I realised that the post-PhD career landscape is changing, as it is becoming more demanding and full of opportunities. On top of this, COVID’s impact on our social and professional lives has changed the course of our present and future. I knew that I needed more than a PhD degree or a higher-education career. I needed to grow as an individual and be capable of shaping my own career aspirations. However, I didn’t know how to do this until I noticed a call for this programme. I am most excited about learning how to shape my ideas into reality and the careers I would be able to pursue after attending this programme. I hope to gain the courage to trust myself, trust in my ideas, and develop skills to find like-minded people to get things done.”

“It thrills me to hear stories of successful alumni and their varied careers,” says Collins. “It may take a little time and patience to see the results, but I will be very excited to see how participants of this programme use their new knowledge, networks, and entrepreneurial mindsets to maximise opportunities and impact, both throughout their doctoral journeys and in their future careers.”

Express interest in participating in the 2023 Doctoral Entrepreneurial Leadership programme

University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education
University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education

social media

14 April 2022

The University of Auckland has launched its inaugural Doctoral Entrepreneurial Leadership Programme run by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). The free, year-long programme is designed to equip doctoral candidates from all disciplines with an entrepreneurial mindset and skills by teaching them tools and frameworks to develop ideas, opportunities, and solutions.

Programme Manager Judith Marecek says, “Doctoral students have deep discipline knowledge and the ability to problem-solve, think critically and in-depth, and take a range of angles and perspectives into account. We recognise that they have a unique skill set that, when combined with an entrepreneurial mindset and capability, can lead to increased impact from research, leading to a wide range of benefits for the economy and society. This impact could be in commercialising scientific discoveries, creating social programmes and initiatives based on research, as translators of knowledge between researchers, business and the community, and a whole range of other careers in the innovation system. CIE’s Doctoral Entrepreneurial Leadership Programme will also support doctoral candidates who might not continue within academia for a career outside of universities.”

The programme was planned to commence with a multi-day residential workshop in March, however, this has now been moved to October to increase the likelihood that all participants, facilitators, and speakers will be able to attend. Instead, the first day of the programme was held at Unleash Space, the University of Auckland’s innovation hub, allowing the cohort to connect in person. 

The 2022 cohort for the Doctoral Entrepreneurial Leadership programme consists of 21 students from study areas as diverse as biological sciences, dance and mechanical engineering. For many participants, the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals from around the university was a key factor when deciding to apply. Jiahui Liu, a doctoral candidate from the faculty of Creative Arts and Industries, says “Because of the pandemic, I haven’t had many chances to connect with people in New Zealand. I’m a very social person, so I’m excited to be talking to different people, working with them, and learning together. It’s cool being able to watch people from many different fields develop an entrepreneurial mindset together.”

Dr Heidi Collins, Doctoral Experience Manager at the University’s School of Graduate Studies, sees the programme as a valuable opportunity for students to create meaningful change from their research. She says, “Doctoral candidates often ask how they can translate their research and skillsets into real-world impact and meaningful careers. Not only can this programme open new career pathways for candidates, but developing an entrepreneurial mindset can help them to better identify opportunities in the research landscape and creative ways to make a real-world impact throughout their candidature.

“Entrepreneurial mindsets are valuable to doctoral candidates from all disciplines, especially those who might not currently describe themselves as ‘entrepreneurial’. Entrepreneurship and innovation are not, as I wrongly assumed when I was an undergraduate, just for people who aspire to start their own businesses. Having an entrepreneurial mindset is so much more than that. It’s about creativity, adaptability, communication, and collaboration – all skills that help us to become better researchers, managers, teachers, consultants… or wherever our careers might take us.”

Saima Qutab, a doctoral candidate from the Business School, joined the programme for this very reason. She says, “During the first two years of PhD, I realised that the post-PhD career landscape is changing, as it is becoming more demanding and full of opportunities. On top of this, COVID’s impact on our social and professional lives has changed the course of our present and future. I knew that I needed more than a PhD degree or a higher-education career. I needed to grow as an individual and be capable of shaping my own career aspirations. However, I didn’t know how to do this until I noticed a call for this programme. I am most excited about learning how to shape my ideas into reality and the careers I would be able to pursue after attending this programme. I hope to gain the courage to trust myself, trust in my ideas, and develop skills to find like-minded people to get things done.”

“It thrills me to hear stories of successful alumni and their varied careers,” says Collins. “It may take a little time and patience to see the results, but I will be very excited to see how participants of this programme use their new knowledge, networks, and entrepreneurial mindsets to maximise opportunities and impact, both throughout their doctoral journeys and in their future careers.”

Express interest in participating in the 2023 Doctoral Entrepreneurial Leadership programme


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