Why a Foster PhD: Fong T. Keng-Highberger, Organizational Behavior track

Fong T. Keng-Highberger

Guest post by Fong T. Keng-Highberger, 2016 graduate, UW PhD in Organizational Behavior.

Current placement: Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University

Receiving my PhD from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business PhD program in Management has been pivotal for my career in academia. First of all, the faculty in this department are world-renowned and are conducting forefront research in their areas of expertise. This expertise covers a wide array of management topics, from leadership to sleep to business ethics to entrepreneurship to innovation to gratitude to culture. Furthermore, their methodological expertise is also wide ranging and spans laboratory experiments, field experiments and interventions, qualitative research, hierarchical and longitudinal studies, etc. But most importantly, both junior and senior faculty members are more than happy to work with you on turning research questions into well-crafted publications. Therefore, I could pursue any research idea and test them with the most current methodologies, and I could do so with the best scholars to support and guide me every step of the way.

The department is also continuously working on improving the PhD program by focusing on PhD students’ professional development as both a researcher and a teacher. While I was there, I took several theory and methods based seminars to expand both my knowledge and skill set in the field. In terms of teaching, I taught several of my own courses in Organizational Behavior and Leadership to a classroom of 50 students. I also had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant in a case-based strategy course for additional training in a different teaching methodology. While the PhD program offered many invaluable resources during my time there, I believe the program is even better today. Currently, the department regularly meets with and checks in with students to ensure their research and teaching development are on the right track. This way they can address any issues students may have early on.

Finally, one of the best things the management department has to offer is their culture. The culture is both collaborative and caring. Faculty typically have an open door policy where students can drop by with impromptu questions or just to say hello. Faculty and students often grab lunch together. During my time as a student, I had to take some time off to address a family emergency. All of the faculty members I worked with at the time were incredibly understanding and supportive. Overall, University of Washington’s PhD program in management gave me both the professional and personal foundation I needed to pursue a fulfilling career in academia.