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Homepage / OMG I’m a Dr!!

OMG I’m a Dr!!


Yes, the truly extraordinary feeling is only just beginning to hit.

Last week I went to see my GP – and my Doctor called me Dr Renshaw. Oh my it makes me smile!

In early October I had my PhD viva (if you’re not familiar with the term, this is the name for when you face two examiners – normally an internal one from Cranfield and an external expert – who can quiz you on any aspect of your written thesis). Also known as your Defence – because you are defending the quality and originality of your work to justify being awarded a PhD. Frankly, despite having experienced some very stressful events in my prior business life negotiating multi-million-pound financing deals and leading high conflict negotiations, the PhD viva was the most stressful event of my whole life!!

I think the stress is because you can be asked a question on literally anything in your 80,000 word thesis and on what led to its creation, i.e. including the choices you made that resulted in issues, concepts or methods being excluded from your thesis. Four years of work focused into one exam. So the most important thing for you to know if you are going down this same PhD journey – is to expect to feel highly stressed and to know that everyone feels the same way. And, of course, I knew from advisers that I understood the content of my thesis far better than anyone else on the planet, but I still felt totally stressed!

Despite this stress, my PhD continued to be a wonderful journey throughout. The support of my supervisors (Prof Michael Dickmann and Prof Emma Parry) was exceptional. If you are ever looking for support within the School of Management I couldn’t overstate how fabulous they are and I’d recommend approaching them whatever help you need.

I also had super help from the central support team – and a big shout out goes to Debbie Bramwell. A total star in all respects.

Moving forward I’m continuing to stay and work within the Cranfield family, now as a Visiting Fellow. Teaching various topics, facilitating workshops and, of course, working as a coach and teaching coaching skills based around my new book of 2019 Coaching On the Go – please read one of the copies in the library. And if you like the concept you might also check out our LinkedIn Group.

I’m also working with the Alumni Communications team alongside Jenny Robinson (another Visiting Fellow) to create a series of super podcasts called Leadership On the Go. We’ve been interviewing several brilliant alumni so that they can share their insights on leadership after leaving Cranfield with everyone. Please check them out as Cranfield truly has some super alumni from whom we can all learn new things.

PhD completed – only the graduation ceremony left. I look forward to seeing some great friends and lots of other successful people there. See you in June!

Dr Phil

PS – and if hearing I’m another ‘Dr Phil’ does not make you smile, you’re probably too young to remember the slightly infamous Dr Phil.

PPS – and if you read my earlier blogs I hope you’re pleased to know that Buzz is also delighted I have finished my PhD as he gets more attention as a result.

My previous blogs:

Dr Phil St John Renshaw

Written By: Cranfield University

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