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
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
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
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
Hello, my name is Jessica Azmy
and I am a medical student at the University of Manchester. This year I am
taking a year away from my medical studies and studying for a Masters in
Healthcare Law and Ethics, before returning to my final year of medical school.
I will hopefully then graduate as a doctor!
It may seem strange to be
completing a Masters at this stage and I never imagined when I started Medicine
that this is something I would do. During medical school I was intrigued by the
relationship between the law and medical practice because it seemed to be
relevant in all areas. I often found doctors referring to what the law does and
does not allow and wanted to explore this further. I am really interested in
certain areas such as the law determining whether children can or cannot refuse
medical treatment that doctors feel is best for them. The main aim is to
consider what the law currently says and what it should say, if we lived in an
ideal world. Of course doctors need to know the law to avoid being taken to
court, if something goes wrong!
What the law should say comes down to fundamental questions which are captured
by the ethics part of my course. For example, the reason why doctors must always
ask whether we agree (consent) to medical treatment is because we are human
beings that have the ability to decide for ourselves what we want. The
exploration of why doctors should act in certain ways and whether it is right
or wrong to take a particular course of action is a constant source of debate
and there is rarely one ‘correct’ answer. This is what I like most because it
makes me consider my own views and learn to argue these in a way to persuade
other people to agree with my argument. Some of the areas I have considered
include organ donation and whether this should or should not be a choice,
whether scientists should be able to experiment on humans, and the problems
arising from creating human-animal hybrids (mixture of human and animal tissue).
What’s the point?
With constant advances in science
and technology creating new possibilities in healthcare there is a need to
consider what we should and shouldn’t allow. How would you feel if you could
choose the characteristics of your future child – their hair colour, eye colour
and even intelligence? Do you think everyone should be an organ donor? Should
doctors be allowed to end the life of a patient who is suffering terribly?
Should doctors ever keep information from patients to prevent upsetting them?
These are some of the pressing questions that ethics aims to address! The
issues are often on the news making what I am studying even more relevant and
I am not sure what type of doctor
I want to be in the future but the best thing about law and ethics is that it
is relevant to all areas of medical practice and will hopefully help me with
whatever speciality I go into. I hope to also use my Masters to teach future
medical students about the law and perhaps offer advice in legal cases involving
To explore a wide range of ethical dilemmas in science
For a greater look at the ethics
surrounding gene technology:
To look at what is involved in
creating human-animal hybrids (mixing human and animal tissues):
Watch this video for a general
introduction to ethics (not specific to science):
Really interesting video
comparing ethics in science and arts and giving more information on why we make
Hi, my name is Kelly and I now work in the Student
Recruitment and Widening Participation department of the University of
Manchester. For the past three years, I have been a student studying Psychology
at the University and for the thirteen years before that, I too was propelled
along the standard education pipeline (or maybe not so standard anymore) by
attending first school, middle school and high school.
One of the main parts of my job, for the past couple months
now, has been the development of an EBL project for our visiting Year 11
students. EBL stands for ‘Enquiry Based Learning’ (or Inquiry Based Learning if
you’re American) and is equivalent to ‘Problem Based Learning’, which you might
have heard of before. This method of teaching starts with a question, a problem
or a scenario, and it is the student’s task to solve this problem, with the aid
of a facilitator.
Not a teacher.
That’s great, right?
The lack of teacher leading the way means that the road from
problem to solution is less smooth, less clear, but then when in life is the
answer ever clear? In this situation, you are
responsible for your own learning, for figuring out your answers and where they
fall into the topic of your choice. This method of independent learning is
fundamental to the way students traditionally learn at university.
- You’re given a topic
or a lecture – a foundation, so you can understand the task
- You are provided
with resources to be used as starting points (these can be textbooks, journal
articles or websites)
- And then you have to
produce work at the end of it e.g. an essay, a report or a presentation, about
what you've found out
This is what I've tried to
recreate in my own EBL project for visiting Y11 students. This project is the
finale to the flagship pre-16 Gateways programme, ran by the University of
Manchester. Groups of school pupils visit campus year upon year, from Y7 to Y11,
to find out more about the opportunities to study in Higher Education and
develop new and transferable skills. In this final part of the programme,
students are presented with a lecture on a case study (a Volcanic Disaster for
this year). They were then sorted into groups depending on their interests and
sent away (with the help of a Student Ambassador) to research that area for an
hour and a half. The day finishes with each group giving a presentation on what
they found and a prize is given to the group that presented the best.
This transition from teacher-led to research-led learning
replicates what you would experience if you chose to study at university. When
you’re at the cutting edge of your field and learning the newest knowledge
being published to date, it’s highly likely that you’ll find yourself not knowing
the answers, and being in the position where YOU could contribute to future
knowledge, explanations and discoveries.
Throughout your early school days, you may have been taught
that there’s only one right answer, and you’ll get a mark for getting that
answer right. University is different. There might be some things that we THINK
answer the question, but these may still be debated. Something you, or the
media or the educational system take for a fact, may still actually be not so
Some courses at university take advantage of this method.
Medicine is taught using in many universities around the country. It works in similar
to the EBL project above: all of the medics would be split off into groups with
people they don’t know, they would be given a case study – perhaps a patient
with a case of symptoms. It would be their job to work together to research and
collaborate and figure out the causes and treatments of the case.
I believe taking part in EBL tasks early on in education has
the advantage of pressing students to think outside of the box and to find their
own answers; sometimes topics can be more complicated than just getting the
Here are some references you may find useful: