Main Headline Postgraduate Studies

IFTM brand a certificate of education quality, say students pioneering PhD programme

IFTM PhD students Mr. Manoj Neelamegan (left), Ms. Sophie Zhou (centre) and Ms. Summer Dong (right)
中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

IFTM has welcomed this academic year its first batch of PhD students. A total of 3 candidates was admitted into the programme. They say the Institute’s reputation as a provider of top-quality tourism and hospitality education was a major factor in their decision to apply for the doctoral programme.

PhD candidate Mr. Manoj Neelamegan is Campus Director at Vatel Suzhou Hotel and Tourism Business School in Jiangsu Province, in Mainland China. His work experience includes spells in tourism and hospitality education in Laos and in his native India.

Mr. Neelamegan already has 2 master’s degrees, respectively in business administration, and in research with a specialisation in management. When the opportunity arose to apply for the IFTM PhD programme, it was an easy decision, he says.

“I have known IFTM for a very long time,” states Mr. Neelamegan. “The recognition, the reputation, everything is there.”

IFTM’s research-based PhD programme is designed for candidates who wish to pursue a career in either an academic- or a research-related field. Applicants must have a master’s degree or above.

Each PhD student will be assigned a team of supervisors consisting of at least 2 faculty members. The PhD candidate must produce an original piece of research in order to graduate. Other graduation requirements include having the research published in a recognised international academic journal and to have it featured in an international conference. The PhD programme is offered in either full-time or part-time format, and has a minimum duration of 3 years.

Mr. Neelamegan says the programme allows him to continue working in Suzhou, while coming regularly to Macao to meet his supervisors. His PhD studies at IFTM are to centre around knowledge acquisition and innovation related to sustainable entrepreneurship – a field also known as ‘ecopreneurship’.

Mr. Neelamegan says he is excited to be part of the first batch of PhD programme students. He has previously been involved in the launch of tertiary education institutions and says there are benefits accruing from being part of a first cohort of students in a new programme. “We are the pioneers,” in the context of IFTM, he says.

Setting the standard

Ms. Sophie Zhou says it is a big responsibility for her to be part of the inaugural batch of PhD students at IFTM. “We need to help set a high standard” for the programme, she points out.

Ms. Zhou has previously taken part in short-term courses offered by a unit of the Institute that was predecessor to the current School of Continuing Education.

She has been teaching tourism-related studies at a college in the neighbouring Mainland city of Zhuhai in Guangdong Province since 2015. Prior to that, she received a master’s degree from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and worked for some years at an integrated resort operator in Macao.

Ms. Zhou says she hopes to improve her research skills through IFTM’s PhD programme: “I know the teaching and the education quality at the Institute are very good.” Her PhD research will focus on the main attractions driving tourists to Macao.

Ms. Summer Dong considers it “really a privilege” to be part of the first group of PhD students at IFTM. “I am thrilled,” she adds.

Her previous work experience includes a spell as a research assistant at Macao Polytechnic Institute. She was involved in research projects related to the gaming industry, a field she plans to further explore as part of her doctoral studies.

Ms. Dong expects the knowledge she will obtain from taking part in the IFTM PhD programme will assist her career. “Tourism is a very exciting field to be in, especially in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area,” where “a lot of opportunities” beckon, she says. “I have confidence” of a “good future in this field through my IFTM studies,” Ms. Dong adds.

President’s Corner

A special place

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