MBA Graduate Receives Offers from Top Universities
Jessie Thao Du, a Wittenborg 2020 MBA graduate, has received offers to do her doctoral study from the University of Winchester and University of Stirling in the UK and Maynooth University in Ireland. She has opted for Maynooth, attracted by their academic and financial offer.
Thao, from Vietnam, graduated in June 2020 with an MBA in Education. Pursuing a PhD degree has always been her dream and she hopes to become an educational leader, professor and researcher. Before coming to the Netherlands, Thao worked as an English teacher for about 4 years. Besides teaching, she also had the opportunity to lead a few academic projects in the international school where she worked. From there, her interest in both academic research and leadership management was nurtured and, after getting her MBA, she decided to go further. Her master's thesis, entitled “Distributed Leadership through the perception of teachers and managers in an English Language School in Vietnam: A Case Study”, opened up a new direction for her to do PhD research.
Perseverance and grit pay off
Trying to get a PhD candidacy was challenging and time consuming. Thao spent almost half a year on finalising her doctoral research proposal, as it required a great deal of reading and research, and she had to juggle her two part-time jobs of online teaching and restaurant work. Getting her proposal rejected by the Dutch universities was the most difficult and frustrating time for her. But instead of mulling over her disappointments, she persevered in her search, and changed her strategy. She widened her scope towards UK and Ireland, and finally, the hard work paid off. Her PhD research proposal, which will examine Distributed Leadership from a different angle, caught the attention of experts and she was invited for interviews from top universities in the UK, but accepted an offer from Maynooth University in Ireland. She is now very much excited about her journey ahead.
Supervisor elated over success
When asked how the MBA programme at Wittenborg had assisted her in her current pursuit, Thao said that the MBA programme really challenged her intellectually and personally, but luckily, she had a very passionate academic supervisor. She said Dr. Dadi Chen was extremely supportive and she has learnt a lot from him through his comments, advice and references. “He was the most important person in my journey of academic development,” added Thao. Dr. Chen was overjoyed when Thao informed him of the good news, and said that she has always shown herself as a promising young specialist and researcher. She always brought her insights and knowledge from her previous work experience to critical reflections, discussions and projects in the modules, and mastered the knowledge and skills in her chosen field by her excellent self-study skills and working efficiency.
Belief in oneself and real effort ensures success
Commenting on her aspirations, Thao said that she hopes to complete her PhD study within 3 years, then teach in higher education and later on start her own school. She aims to venture into the EFL (English as a Foreign Language) market, since she believes it has the most potential in Asian countries. She wants to establish an EFL school with a unique leadership style and teaching approach. Thao believes that we can achieve anything we desire, as long as we believe in ourselves and put effort into it. She also believes that having a PhD degree will open up access to a broader audience, experts and students at higher education level who have the same interests as she has, and hopes to bring changes to the intellectual/academia community, especially in her home country. She aims to inspire more young adults to pursue the same path.
by Hanna Abdelwahab