Phoenix Chen loves research so much that she applied for a PhD program as soon as she graduated with her bachelor's. Hers is not a common choice, but she knew from her internships that working in academic research would delight her passions for psychology and business more than going straight into a job would. One year into her seven years at Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, she has already begun three research projects that let her "create knowledge" where psychology and business intersect, in the OBHR (Organizational Behavior and Human Resources) field.
Chen's passion for training and development, coupled with her desire to work with students and engage in research, led her to pursue a PhD in OBHR rather than a career in industry. As an aspiring academic, Chen finds fulfillment in conducting research, creating new knowledge and sharing her insights with others.
Chen majored in business and minored in psychology during her undergraduate years. “I feel like my passion has always been in business, but I am also interested in psychology. So organizational behavior is, to me, a good mix where I get to look into the industry with the employees and organizations," she said.
As a PhD student, Chen is collaborating on three research projects related to organizational behavior with a faculty member. The first project aims to understand why employees may want to leave their organization during change and how social network changes can impact turnover. The second project examines how multicultural experiences can help leaders work successfully with people from different nations. The third project focuses on understanding the experiences of remote workers and finding ways for organizations to support them better.
Chen finds the Daniels School PhD program was the right fit for her. “I think it is the supportive environment from everyone for my cohort from the more senior students as well as the faculty. So, when I do not know anything, I feel comfortable reaching out to them and asking about things and to clarify my questions,” said Chen. Social events arranged by area faculty contribute Chen's sense of belonging and feeling of support. She and PhD students across departments gathered for happy hours and lunch sessions and connected students and faculty in less formal settings.
Chen is looking forward to a long career researching and teaching in academia, and someday supporting students with deep questions and a love of learning. "With the PhD education, I'm learning the knowledge and creating the knowledge as well. I can share what I know with students and sometimes even learn with them as well as their questions come up," Chen said.
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