The challenges, the excitement, the path to success: panel describes life as a PhD student.

Why did you decide to pursue a PhD? What advice would you give someone considering a PhD? What type of financial assistance do you receive? What courses do you take? What surprises have occurred?

Those questions and others were answered by a lively group of panelists during “The Life of a PhD Student Information Workshop” at the College of Business Administration at Florida International University (FIU). The event was organized by Antoinette Smith, who teaches accounting and is the FIU leader of the PhD Pipeline Opportunity Program, a national initiative by Lucy J. Reuben of Duke University.

Antoinette Smith
Antoinette Smith

“I attended the program because I wanted to see how a PhD student lives day to day, and that’s exactly what I learned,” said Max Suarez (MBA ’11), who is now investigating how to begin his PhD work.

Smith welcomed the group of 27 students to the workshop. Reuben, who was visiting FIU, gave a PhD overview followed by a panel discussion by four FIU PhD students in the business school: Marcelo J. Alvarado-Vargas (MIB ’04), Elizabeth Turner (BBA ’94), Michelle Yang and Fang Zhao. A question and answer session wrapped up the workshop.

Lucy J. Reuben
Lucy J. Reuben

“The enthusiasm and passion of the panelists and Dr. Smith was contagious,” said Vivian Guzman, a student in the Professional MBA program. “The workshop was great and got me thinking more about getting a PhD in management and international business.”

Smith works to develop even more initiatives.

Research has found that minorities do not apply to doctoral programs in great numbers; the PhD Pipeline Opportunity program works to change that. Smith, the first Faculty Associate of the Year for the nationwide effort, is bringing information and motivation to the high number of minorities at FIU.

“The Life of a PhD Student Information Workshop” attracted an enthusiastic group.
“The Life of a PhD Student Information Workshop” attracted an enthusiastic group.

“We applaud Antoinette Smith, Executive Dean Joyce J. Elam and FIU’s College of Business Administration for their hard work and commitment to this important mission,” Reuben said. “Indeed, their proactive leadership means that FIU is featured in our March 2012 newsletter, to encourage other partner institutions with their burgeoning activities.”

Smith is currently planning “The PhD Application Process” workshop on April 4th.


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