HDR Alumni Panelists: Career options after your PhD

Dr Brett L Scarlett

Dr Brett L Scarlett

Brett's professional work experience commenced with a technical role in information technology after completion of a Bachelor of Applied Science at RMIT. Building from this IT foundation, Brett’s recent roles have been more business and commercially oriented but still very much IT-centric. Clearly a highlight of Brett’s career to date has been his key roles in some of Australia’s largest and most complex IT outsourcing engagements. Making the transition from technical to more business / commercially focussed roles occurred somewhat naturally but the completion of the Master of Business and later PhD (both with RMIT) really consolidated this.

What made you choose your current profession?

My Bachelor of Applied Science (Computer Science & Mathematics) at RMIT led to a cadetship with Telecom as a programmer in my final year and a full time job commencing immediately after final exams.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Many and varied sources: business and financial news; financial analysts’ research; pop-culture; research reports (like Gartner, Economist); travel; online news feeds (including Twitter); art and architecture; bouncing ideas with colleagues; and contemplation of the teachings of Sun Tzu, Mao and the lessons of Buddha.

An accomplishment not many people know about?

I climbed the Jiankou Great Wall. This is one of the most scenic stretches of the Great Wall around Beijing. This is the real great wall, not like the Disney-style walls restored to please tourists.

Dr Greg Adamson

Dr Greg Adamson

Dr Greg Adamson is Vice-President of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Society on Social Implications of Technology, an Honorary Fellow in the School of Engineering at the University of Melbourne, and an Operational Risk manager for a major Australian bank. Since completing his doctorate at RMIT in 2003, Greg has applied his research to both his professional work and to his honorary university work. In the financial services industry he looks at operational issues which can prevent the organisation achieving its goals. In his academic research he focuses on barriers to uptake for socially beneficial technologies. Primary areas of knowledge are: security and governance; project management; and the Internet. His current major project is chairing the IEEE 2014 Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century (21stcenturywiener.org), to be held in Boston next June.

What made you choose your current profession?

Operational risk is an interesting field which requires broad knowledge and analytic skills, the sort of skills that benefit greatly from post-graduate study. I chose to work in a large organisation as this provides me with the opportunity to tackle very large problems and to test novel solutions. Financial services was an ideal fit for my interests. Winning the role there depended on having a wide range of skills and a highly flexible approach to work.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

My love of discovery constantly drives me, both in my work and in my academic and professional volunteering. I have read widely on the philosophy of technology, and I found the work of Norbert Wiener (founder of cybernetics, the ‘cyber’ in cyberspace) to be the most relevant to the current world.

An accomplishment not many people know about?

At the bank where I work I was able to develop an approach which reduced the total number of severe technology incidents by 25%, leading to a significant saving. The solution was based on an understanding of work practices, rather than technologies, required significant practical research, and remains in place today.

Marcus Powe

Dr Marcus Powe

As Entrepreneur in Residence at RMIT University, Dr Marcus Powe works with staff, students and alumni to refine and develop their ideas and business opportunities. In 2008, Marcus was awarded Australia’s Best Entrepreneurial Educator. In 2009, he was awarded for sustained excellence in collaboration between universities and business in Australia. Marcus founded EIC Growth Pty Ltd to assist CEO’s and leaders implement and measure creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. He specialises in growth for profit and not for profit organisations operating in turbulent market places.

What made you choose your current profession?

My current profession could be described as an entrepreneur. I own several businesses, teach, write and educate in several countries. The theme is always about innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. I have always explored opportunities, been curious about why some ideas are successful and others are not.

My study and research (PhD) have assisted me in understanding what works in the market place more often than not!

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

My inspiration is drawn from aspiring students who want to make a difference to the community through successful entrepreneurial ventures.

An accomplishment not many people know about?

Perhaps something that many may not know about could be that I have created and host a live global webinar every month about entrepreneurship, sharing my experiences and interviewing entrepreneurs around the world. My audience is over 1,000,000 aspiring entrepreneurs.

Dr Julie Novak

Dr Julie Novak

Dr Julie Novak is a Senior Fellow with the Institute of Public Affairs. She has previously worked for Commonwealth and State public sector agencies, including the Commonwealth Treasury and Productivity Commission.

What made you choose your current profession?

During the 1990s political and media discussions were dominated by economic issues. After exploring a few options, I finally settled to study economics as an undergraduate at University of Queensland with an additional Honours year. After about a decade of working in the public sector, both state and federal, I decided to work for a free market think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs.

Eager to round out my studies, I enrolled in the PhD program at the RMIT School of Economics, Finance and Marketing. Under the supervision of Sinclair Davidson and Steve Kates, I completed a thesis on the relationship between government size and economic performance in Australia.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Having long subscribed to the principles of free markets and civil society, I have drawn my intellectual inspiration from the works of many classical liberal economists and philosophers.These included Milton Friedman, James Buchanan, the German ordo-liberals, Ludwig von Mises, and twentieth-century American libertarians.

These days, I perhaps draw most of my intellectual inspiration from the works of nineteenth-century French classical liberals, such as Frederic Bastiat, Charles Dunoyer, Gustave de Molinari and Yves Guyot. I derive insights from both their ingenious methods in propagating the principles of freedom.

An accomplishment not many people know about?

An accomplishment is not worthy of an accomplishment if it is not disclosed already!

Dr Sittimont Kanjanaabootra

Dr Sittimont Kanjanaabootra

Dr Sittimont Kanjanaabootra is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, School of Architecture and Built Environment at The University of Newcastle, Australia. Sittimont is a practicing Design Mechanical and Construction Engineer with 4 years practical experience working in the Construction Industry on projects including high rise apartment complexes, warehouses, multi-storey shopping centres, hotel renovations, resorts and office buildings.

What made you choose your current profession?

Personal curiosity and eagerness to learn new things drove me towards this profession. Before I studied PhD, I was a practicing Mechanical engineer in an International company in Thailand. Back then I encountered work problems about knowledge and information management on a day-day basis. I believed then that were possible solutions somewhere in academia that can help me solve these problems. So I undertook PhD at RMIT. During my candidature, I have gained new knowledge outside the construction domain. After I graduated, I got a job as a research associate at Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre (SBEnrc)-Swinburne based. The work I did at SBEnrc provided opportunities to get myself engaged with research that was related to construction industry. I am now working as a post-doctoral fellow (research-only) at School of Architecture and Built Environment.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I’m inspired by my both supervisors who guided me and challenged me to think all the time.

An accomplishment not many people know about?

I completed my PhD in 3 years and 1 month. My research has been nominated for ACPHIS (Australian Council of Professors and Heads of Information Systems) Best Australian Information System Doctoral Thesis Award in 2012