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Homepage / My Cranfield journey: Strategic Marketing MSc student to doctoral researcher

My Cranfield journey: Strategic Marketing MSc student to doctoral researcher


Adam Mullen

Following the completion of the Strategic Marketing MSc last year I was honoured to be one of the School of Management’s first recipients of the wonderful Vice-Chancellor’s Prize. This is the only prize awarded across all postgraduate taught master’s degree students at the University. It was a great way to complete my master’s experience, and I am delighted to be continuing my journey with the university. I’d like to share my story…

Why did I choose Cranfield?

Cranfield was originally recommended to me by a past professor whom I greatly respect. Following his recommendation, I began my investigation into what the university had to offer, and I was not disappointed. Upon discovering the Strategic Marketing MSc programme, I realised that this was exactly what I was looking for; an in-depth, challenging, and diverse course steeped in the world of practice. Coming from that world myself, I found this aspect to be highly appealing and one of the key reasons I joined the university.

After exploring the quaint yet idyllic campus, meeting the faculty members, and getting to know my fellow students better, I knew I had made the right choice to join the university.

The MSc programme allowed me to lead a team of talented individuals, develop creative solutions for several company projects, and participate in debates, masterclasses, and field trips, all of which helped to enrich my knowledge and skillset.

Ultimately, I chose to study at Cranfield as I believed the university would offer me an enriching, friendly, and diverse learning environment that would help to fulfil my future career aspirations.

After completing the taught modules, I progressed onto the thesis project which I thoroughly enjoyed.

My Thesis Project: Engaging the C-Suite: Insights into Executive Engagement Strategies

Upon being assigned my chosen thesis brief, I was partnered with Dr Sue Holt, who was a fantastic mentor and friend throughout my thesis journey. Other members of the faculty were also incredibly supportive throughout this process and the course as a whole, which was of great help for a developing academic.

This project allowed me to explore the concept of executive engagement, using modern strategies such as account-based marketing (ABM), to engage customers and prospects at the executive level. This was the first time I had ever undertaken a qualitative research study, and through a partnership with the IT Services Marketing Association (ITSMA), I was able to interview several senior practitioners who work at some of the world’s most renowned companies.

Moreover, during the start of this project in April 2020, the global Coronavirus pandemic emerged, plunging the world as we know it into a period of turmoil. Although it wasn’t originally part of the research plan, I felt compelled to explore how Covid-19 had impacted the marketing function, and also, how senior practitioners were using their tools and strategies to keep their relationships alive during a time of crisis. The results were most insightful, and I am grateful to have been given the chance to develop and present my findings in regards to this ambitious brief.”

My Cranfield journey continues

In February 2021, I was accepted onto the Cranfield School of Management PhD programme, where I have been warmly welcomed by my supervisors, the PhD team, and the supporting faculty at the Centre for Strategic Marketing and Sales.

My proposed PhD topic builds upon my Master’s thesis, where I will be looking to investigate the topic of ABM in a more detailed capacity, to identify the enablers and barriers to its successful implementation in B2B organisations, along with the frontier technologies that will drive this strategy into the future.

All in all, Cranfield has given me the perfect platform to develop and pursue my ambitions.

Adam Mullen

Written By: Cranfield University

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