Wait a minute - that doesn't sound like business?!
Hey everyone! I’m Charlotte and I’m a 1st year PhD student currently studying at Alliance Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester. My current research is focused on student mental health and help-seeking behaviours.
“Wait a minute”, I hear you say, “that doesn’t sound like business”.
And at first glance it doesn’t. I’ve had many questioning looks when I tell people I’m a marketing student studying student mental health, but that’s one of the best things about my PhD. I get to combine my passion for understanding and improving mental health with my interests in marketing and consumer behaviour.
So, sit back and I’ll tell you all.
Before starting my PhD I studied for my undergraduate degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Marketing. At first you might think Psychology and Marketing don’t really go together, but I’ve always been interested in why we think and behave in particular ways, and that’s exactly what Marketers try to do.
After my master’s degree I worked for 2 years at a digital marketing agency just outside of Manchester managing the day-to-day marketing activities of my clients including; branding, design for digital or print promotions, advertisements, copywriting and campaign management. As much as I enjoyed working in marketing, after a couple of years I could hear university calling my name once more. So, I applied for my PhD and the rest, as they say, is history!
But what exactly do I do?
Mental health has been studied extensively, with particular focus in areas such as health, psychology and sociology. Approaching student mental health from a marketing perspective, my research aims to better understand the motivations and decision making processes that encourage individuals to seek help for their mental health problems - or indeed why certain people avoid seeking help. By understanding these decisions better, I hope that my research can have an impact in improving the provision of university support services (and the promotion of these services) to facilitate help-seeking behaviour.
As I’m only in my first year, my work mainly involves developing my research skills and reading more about the different perspectives and disciplines researching student mental health. As a qualitative researcher, with an interest in behaviour, I’ve never been convinced by statistics alone. I’m much more interested in how individual’s create meaning as part of their experiences. Qualitative research allows me to gain a richer interpretation of experiences and behaviours, and how people interpret these behaviours. One of the best things about studying for my PhD is that as I read and learn more about my topic, my research questions change and develop.
At University, for both my undergraduate and master’s degree, the biggest challenge for me was always trying to work out what I wanted to do at the end of it. Now, studying for my PhD I hope to continue researching and stay in academia to teach the marketers and researchers of the future. It hasn’t been a straight road, but then your career doesn’t have to be - find something you enjoy learning about and career ideas start to fall into place (even if you don’t realise it at first)!
A bit further...
If you’re interested in finding out more about careers in Psychology, visit: https://www.bps.org.uk
For more information on careers in Marketing, visit: https://www.cim.co.uk
If you’d like to find out more about the courses on offer at the University of Manchester, you can visit the links here:
Business and Marketing: https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/2020/03528/bsc-management-marketing/
The book that started to bridge the gap between Psychology and Marketing for me was Robert Cialdini’s ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’ https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Influence.html?id=5dfv0HJ1TEoC
The Drum is a website dedicated to looking at the latest trends and news in the Marketing industry. You can take a look around the website here: https://www.thedrum.com
Or if you want to know more about the current research taking place across the UK focussing on Student Mental Health, King’s College London (KCL) created a research network called SMaRteN dedicated to improving understanding of student mental health in higher education. You can visit the website here:https://www.smarten.org.uk