Career

It is also possible to gain a postgraduate doctorate with ISM in cooperation with four internationally renowned and accredited partner universities. Mijka Ghorbani is currently completing a doctorate as part of the PhD program with the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. We spoke to her about her love of research and the path to her doctorate.

Why did you decide to enter the world of science?

The thought of conducting independent research had always fascinated me. I'd always enjoyed being involved in scientific work and the experience gained during the Master's thesis affirmed my decision to pursue a scientific career.

Mijka GhorbaniMijka GhorbaniCan you describe the main focus of your research work?

I'm studying for a doctorate in something called digital brand personality, which is uniquely positioned at the intersection of brand management, consumer behavior and psychology. Basically, I'm fascinated by the idea that people tend to personify brands and build relationships with them. And that these relationships are very similar to interpersonal ones such as friendships. My research focuses on how new technologies and digital touchpoints influence our perception of brands as personalities and, thus, also as relationship partners.


I have very committed and helpful supervisors at both ISM and Strathclyde who fully support my doctoral project.

Strathclyde UniversityThe University of Strathclyde is one of four partner universities in ISM’s PhD program.

Why did you decide to complete your doctorate with ISM and the University of Strathclyde?

The University of Strathclyde has an excellent business school with a large marketing department. When making my decision, I was mindful of the fact that I wanted to determine my own field of research and also carry on working while completing the degree. I'm a consultant in a marketing and advertising agency. Luckily, I have very committed and helpful supervisors at both ISM and Strathclyde who fully support my doctoral project.

Have you ever regretted your decision to enter the world of science?

Not yet. Obviously, there are days when you encounter setbacks or things don't go to plan, but that's the same in any job.

Generally speaking: What have been the biggest challenges on the path to your doctorate?

In general, you are left to your own devices more when pursuing a doctorate. In contrast to a Bachelor's or Master's program, there aren't regular lectures or daily exchanges with your fellow students – something made even more difficult by the pandemic. In terms of the actual degree, the biggest challenge so far has been defining the topic and then coming up with the specific research questions. Despite having a clear picture in my mind of the field of research, it was still hard to find a gap in research that was neither too small nor too big.


It's always helpful to exchange ideas and discuss matters with other students on the same program, especially when they're a bit ahead of you. In doing so, you learn a lot about seminars, review procedures, etc.

Do you have any tips for postgraduate students?

It's always helpful to exchange ideas and discuss matters with other students on the same program, especially when they're a bit ahead of you. In doing so, you learn a lot about seminars, review procedures, etc. You should also realize that a doctorate degree is basically a learning process where you continue your training as a researcher. So it's fairly normal not to have a perfect command of all the theories, methods, etc. straight from the start. It's much more important to continue learning and to always be open to new things.

Are you as fascinated by research as Mijka is? Then take a closer look at our PhD program at en.ism.de.

Kristiina Knöper

Kristiina Knöper

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