During the 2019-2020 academic year, Sunil Wattal was named the new managing director of PhD programs. He shared with the On The Verge editorial team his relationship with research, the value of pursuing a PhD and his vision for the future of the program.
1. What are your primary research interests?
As a Management Information Systems (MIS) professor, my research focuses on how digital transformation creates value for businesses, especially as it relates to topics such as the economics of information systems, the gig economy, privacy, social media and digital marketing.
2. What is the value of pursuing a PhD in 2021?
Working as a business academic is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding career choices one can make in this day and age. The rules of business are changing at an astonishing pace. Companies are always looking for thought leaders whose research can provide guidance on how to successfully navigate companies in such uncharted waters.
As a researcher, these changes create opportunities to ask and attempt to answer interesting questions using advanced and rigorous scientific methods. The data available to researchers has also improved significantly, which excites me as an MIS scholar. This creates even more possibilities in the range of topics that business doctoral students can work on.
Finally, a career as a business school faculty offers challenges in teaching and administration as schools expand to global audiences and embark on a digital education journey.
3. What is your vision for the future of the Fox PhD program?
My vision is for the PhD program to produce world-class scholars who can enhance the Fox School’s reputation through world-class research, thought leadership and placement in top tier research schools the world over.
A key hallmark of our PhD program will be a more personalized approach to student mentoring and providing opportunities for each student to leverage their strengths to achieve success in their career. I also envision a PhD program built on a diverse student body with unique skill sets.