Thesis supervision

This page provides information for students that are considering asking me to supervise their dissertation. It provides some ideas on possible topics and advice on methodology.

I think there are three ingredients for success:

thesis

(1) Choose an insightful research question in an interesting topic

You can see an overview of my research interests here. In addition the + questions from the Markets for Managers problem set could be a source of inspiration.

I consider the power of economic reasoning to stem from its applicability, and therefore take a broad and eclectic position of what would constitute suitable subject material. For a general management thesis I don’t require students to work on the same research topics that I do. Indeed, there are several topics that I have thoughts and ideas on which I’d be delighted to see students run with. It is important to stress that an interesting topic is a necessary but not sufficient condition. You also need to identify an interesting research question within that topic. I’ve provided some examples of topics that I find interesting below:

(2) Utilise the right methodological framework

To start off with, I recommend the following articles on research design:

Although I’ve created an online course on Analytics my methodological interests are in qualitative and comparative methods.

There are also a few techniques that I am willing to work with students interested in using, regardless of the topic:

(3) Demonstrate competent project planning

This is crucial because it determines whether the experience is enjoyable or not. The following are necessary (but not sufficient) characteristics you need to have:

  • Enthusiasm for the research question (and not just the research topic)
  • Genuine desire to have research published
  • Ability to self-motivate
  • Swift communication

When planning the writing of the thesis take a look at:

This is also useful: Baylor University research planner guide.

If you get to present your work, here’s a good guide for creating a poster (and here). Don’t forget to include a clear plastic wallet with printed copies, and one for business cards.

Grading

These are only general guidelines and there’ll always be a gap between my judgement and your understanding of my judgment. But just because the grading is subjective does not make it arbitrary. I will assign an A, B, C or D grade to the following dimensions:

  • Purpose – are the aims and objectives clearly set and have they been met?
  • Originality – is this new? Interesting?
  • Focus – is the work precise?
  • Literature review – is the thesis aware of and able to critically discuss existing literature?
  • Methodology – are the methods chosen appropriate?
  • Analysis – has the entire process been transparent and correctly interpreted?
  • Implications for management – does it have relevance to the professional community?
  • Quality of presentation – is it clear and does it add value to the written work?
  • Quality of written work – are there any errors?
  • Quality of communication with supervisor – were the expectations of the supervisor managed effectively? Was help asked for when necessary? Was it an enjoyable experience for all?

For more details on grade ranges see page 7 of my guide for students, however you should adjust the passing grades such that what I deem to be a C grade for a thesis would get a mark of 55-60; a B is 70-80 and an A is 85+. Don’t make me send you this.

Finally, if you’re interested in a career in academic economics, here is some career advice and here is advice on surviving grad school.

Previous students:

  • Francesca Celano, “Economic Freedom and Human Development: An analysis of the links between economic policy and quality of life” June 2016
  • Valentin Vermersch “Features of Successful Strategies by Firms from Developing Economies”, June 2014
  • Bartosz Wasilewski “Analysis and Evaluation of the Credit Rating Industry”, July 2007