Interview conducted by Admilson Veloso, Journalist, Ph.D. candidate at Corvinus University of Budapest
“Hungary and Corvinus were my best choices to pursue my studies”. This is how the Turkish Ph.D. student from the Doctoral School of Sociology and Communication Science, Beste Naz Özkan, describes her decision to continue her path at the university. She is currently investigating how Quality Management Systems, such as ISO 9001:2015, can affect organizational communication.
Özkan earned her MA at Corvinus University of Budapest and considers that the guidance she receives from professors makes all the difference in her development. Besides attending the doctoral training, she presented her research at several conferences and she’s already thinking about a postdoc for the future. Check out more about her academic path in the following interview.
First of all, when did you find out you were interested in academic research?
I always loved what I’ve been studying since my bachelor program. I believe researching Quality Management System principles to improve organizational communication was the best topic I could study and be successful, aligning my professional interest with research. In addition, I enjoy reading and researching Communication Science as a whole, that is why I decided to pursue a Ph.D. degree in the first place. Thus, it is never a mandatory job for me, as I always have fun during the classes and completing the requirements. My interest in this subject comes from long ago, but it certainly developed throughout my Master’s thesis work here at Corvinus.
Could you explain a bit more about your research?
My topic is about organizational communication and major excellence models in the world. These models are based on a total quality management perspective and I will be examining the models from organizational and intercultural communication points. This area still has a research gap from a Communication Science perspective, which gives me more interest and the will to dedicate to it.
In the rapidly-changing, competitive, and challenging world we are living in, organizations need to have a system to be able to reach success. However, such apparatus shouldn’t be only supporting the quality of the product or the service, it needs to support the entire process. These excellence models are based on a system and what I examine and would like to see here is their effects on leaders (management part), employees, internal communication and corporate culture.
Are there any preliminary results or conclusions from your previous research on this subject you could share with us?
This is an area that not so many researchers are involved in. The first step of my Ph.D. research was actually my master’s thesis, which examined total quality management perspective and organizational communication through interviews with six different companies’ quality departments.
According to the results, all of the companies agreed that the ISO 9001:015 quality management system and total quality management perspective increases the quality of internal and organizational communication. This has a motivational effect on employees, thus the quality of the work also improves.
At the moment, I am dealing with the cultural and functioning differences of three Major Excellence models in the world which are based on total quality management perspective. I’m questioning how they influence employees’ motivation, leaders’ communication skills, and the organizational communication and corporate culture.
How was your selection process for the Doctoral School?
I first heard about the Ph.D. and the opportunity to continue my research when I was pursuing my Master’s Degree in Communication and Media Studies here at Corvinus. I was very satisfied with my selected program and professors during the master, especially with my thesis supervisor Dr. Eszter Deli, so I decided to continue at the same department.
When I applied to the Doctoral School of Sociology and Communication Science, I did it through the Stipendium Hungaricum programme. Besides submitting the required documentation, I needed to write a research plan in which I presented a literature review related to my subject, I defined the research gap, and I tried to prove that my research will represent a novelty in this area. After that, we had an interview with a committee from the department, in which I gave an explanation on the research and talked about why I chose this topic, what the novelty of it is, and how it will contribute to the field of communication science.
Compared to your previous studies in your home country, what are the main differences to the education in Hungary and at Corvinus?
My bachelor’s degree is from Turkey, but it was a public university which has a special agreement with the French Government, so our professors were from both countries. I can say that the main difference for me was that here the environment and relationship between professors and students are more friendly.
In Turkey we have, mostly, a disciplined and hierarchic relationship with professors. Secondly I can say that my bachelor program was harder due to professors’ expectations while here, although it’s still very demanding, things work more smoothly.
For instance, in my class at Corvinus we are around 12-13 students, so classes are mostly like one-to-one consultations. Professors try to talk with every single student to understand their research topic and to be able to help them during their research. Everyone is so understanding and the contribution of professors to every student’s research topic is amazing.
How would you describe the Ph.D. in relation to the other levels of studies?
The Ph.D. is very much focused on your own topic, so it is much more specific. During the Master's, for example, one needs to take some mandatory classes even though they do not fit their interest area directly. However, during a Ph.D., even the articles you read and discuss are from your topic and research area. I believe this is perfect for a student who would like to get involved in academic work, because whatever you do, it contributes to your research field.
Besides attending classes, what other activities have you taken part in?
I participated in a conference in my first semester and my manuscript has been published in the conference book. For that, I wrote a literature review about intercultural communication and tourism related activities. In my second semester I presented at three international conferences. One was in Hungary, another one was organized by Balkan Universities and the third was in Turkey. Among my presentation topics, I covered Corporate Social Responsibility and conducted a case study with a university.
What advice would you give to an (international) student looking forward to pursuing a Ph.D. abroad?
I can only suggest trying to adapt to the culture of the country wherever you go. I was lucky that Hungarian culture and living style is usually very similar to the Turkish ones. So I did not have that much trouble to adapt myself. As Ph.D. studies are usually for 4-5 years, it would be better to find a country to live comfortably and relax during the studies.
Hungary and Corvinus University of Budapest were my best choices to pursue my studies and I never regret coming here. Actually, I recommend the country and the university to everyone who would like to get involved in an excellent community.
What are your plans for the future, beyond the Ph.D.?
I am still planning and analyzing my possibilities, but I can definitely say that I would like to participate in a research group. One of my plans is to continue towards a post-doctoral program in the USA or in Australia. This program at Corvinus gives me one of the best education and experience in Europe in Communication Science, so I believe it will help me to continue my studies at a higher level.
Would you like to read another Ph.D. student’s interview? Check out “Here I can do my research and find my own way”: Aizhamal Muratalieva's life as a Ph.D. student
Name: Beste Naz Özkan, Turkey Course: Ph.D. in Communication Science, Doctoral School of Sociology and Communication Science
Images: Admilson Veloso
This article has been prepared by Admilson Veloso, Ph.D. Candidate and Assistant Teacher in Communication Science and International Students Recruitment Assistant
Corvinus University of Budapest