King’s Undergraduate Research Fellowships give undergraduate students the unique opportunity to learn alongside our leading academics during the summer. Anna and Prokriti, both lecturers in Marketing at King’s Business School, talk about KURF and inclusivity in academic research experience. Regardless of what degree or career sector students are planning to pursue, students of any background can apply to a KURF project to build professional skills and experience.
Tell us a little about you! What do you do?
Anna: I am a Lecturer in Marketing at King’s Business School, exploring with PG students the fascinating facets of digital marketing as well as conducting research on marketing phenomena nested in emerging economies. My path to King’s was relatively straight forward in terms of career choices, I studied business administration in Germany and later pursued a PhD there. Before joining King’s, I worked as a faculty member at the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. When starting at King’s though, I have slightly changed my focus from innovation management to marketing.
Prokriti: I am a Lecturer in Marketing at King’s Business School. I have a somewhat unusual path to academics. I earned a BSc (Hons) and MSc in Physics and worked as a manager in the leading bank in India. It is while I was in banking that I developed an interest in business and management. I pursued a PhD in Business Administration from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. I have previously worked as an Assistant Professor at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. My main focus is to study myriad marketing problems using a quantitative lens.
What was your last KURF project experience like?
Anna: Prokriti and I have been hosting two KURF awardees in summer 2020. Both of our students were extremely enthusiastic and hard-working, helping us a great deal to advance two research projects. Both projects were rooted in emerging market contexts though they differed in terms of industries we were studying. Juxtaposing both projects nicely illustrates how unpredictable academic research can be and how much of it remains outside the control of the research team. Because, yes, and this is an important insight as well, most of today’s marketing research is team-based.
While both projects suffered delays due to COVID-19 and the difficulties to access primary data, one of the projects was malleable enough to allow us (several months after the KURF scholarship ended) to submit a manuscript to a well-regarded journal. We hope, and fingers crossed, that the peer-reviews will be positive and allow us to publish the piece. Though researchers are expected to be patient and resilient – this is a real life example of the realities of academic work, how manuscripts may indeed be submitted after the majority of the groundwork has been completed and go through multiple iterations for improvements on their way to final acceptance.
What benefits might students get from taking part in KURF?
Anna: At the beginning of each student’s engagement, Prokriti and I had a kick-off e-meeting to familiarise them with the project’s status quo. After this, we regularly e-met with the students to provide both feedback for tasks that had been completed as well as discuss new assignment chunks. The tasks encompassed both straight-forward activities along pre-defined routes, as well as more exploratory avenues, where the student had to try out different options and a clear cut “research recipe” simply did not exist.
We believe these approaches together help to sharpen the student’s research mindset and equip KURF awardees with diverse skill sets that they may benefit from later in their educational and professional lives. We have both enjoyed interacting with our two students very much. Unfortunately, given the realities of COVID-19, we could not meet in person during the projects on King’s premises.
Got your eye on KURF? Check out what a student from Anna and Prokriti’s project said about their experience:
There are countless reasons why KURF was a valuable experience. It provided practical insights on how it is like to work on a research project with thorough support from an academic discipline. If you are applying, show why you choose the topic, why you are a good fit and what makes you unique as a research fellow. It is essential that you are intrigued by the research topic since you will need to read a lot about it.
If you are not sure if it is inclusive for you, don’t worry! KURF is a chance for you to learn and develop advance research skills. I have improved my research skills, operation of the advance search on EBSCO, and patterns identification. This is also a great boost to your CV and future career prospects. I deeply appreciate this opportunity, therefore, would like to recommend you to apply and broaden your university experience.
Hsin-Tien, student at King’s Business School
What does taking part in KURF mean to you?
Anna: I pitch my research projects for KURF because I hope they provide interested students with options to probe into academic research while allowing me a fresh look at my research contents through their eyes. I have experienced a couple of “aha” moments last summer while interacting with my two KURF students. Both demonstrated initiative and devotion to the project well beyond our expectations, coming up with their own search examples and ideas.
Academic research may sometimes seem detached from the daily lives of students, akin to academics “living on another planet”. The KURF scholarships allow students and academic faculty to meet beyond the lecture theatre and this may be an eye-opener for both parties. The KURF also pays students for their time an effort – this incentive for research, in my eye, is an important way to showcase appreciation and also enhance the College’s commitment to research.
What advice would you give to students currently thinking about applying to KURF?
Anna & Prokriti: You may be sceptical at first thinking: “Is this research experience something for me, because I haven’t planned to explore an academic career so far”. The good news is you do not need to! A KURF scholarship can provide you with very universal, broadly applicable skills and working experience, such as managing complex information, working to deadlines or honing your professional writing skills.
It may also be an option to explore a research area different from your own study programme! As a prospective engineer or natural scientist, you may, for instance, be curious about business management. Or as a marketing student, you may have always wanted to learn more about art. KURF is exactly the place to start broadening your horizon with a limited time investment. And don’t worry if you do not have expertise in a certain field. Your KURF faculty will for sure support you in making your first steps while exploring your favourite topic!
If you’d like to apply for a KURF project this year, then head on over to King’s Careers & Employability KEATS pages for more information! And don’t forget, wherever you are in your career journey, King’s Careers & Employability is here to help you through e-learning resources, information about careers and industries, Application and Careers Guidance appointments and diverse array of virtual events and workshops. You can explore our full offering on our web pages. We are here to support all King’s students to build success!