Gill PhD business students and alumni


We're honoured to help

Students, faculty and staff are all dedicated to pull out your strengths so you can gain the most from your program. The PhD Program Office at the Gill Graduate School holds a wealth of information and is a good starting point for prospective and current PhD students seeking assistance.


 Carlo Brighi

Carlo Brighi

Education: Bachelor in Business, Economics and Social Sciences; International Business & Finance (WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria, 2013) including an exchange semester at the Sonoco International Business Department at the Darla Moore School of Business (University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA, 2011); Master of Science in International Business Administration (University of Vienna, Faculty of Business, Economics and Statistics, Vienna, Austria, 2016)

Background: Prior to starting the PhD program at the Gustavson School of Business, Carlo spent four years as part of a research team at the Institute for International Business at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria. He grew up in Italy and moved to Vienna, Austria in order to pursue his passion for business studies. Before joining academia, he worked for several years, first in marketing research and subsequently in finance, for both large multinationals and small local enterprises. On the academic side, he has been involved in multiple research projects, mainly focusing on sustainability, corporate social responsibility (CSR), cross-cultural management and responsible global leadership. Carlo has represented Gustavson through his paper presentations at the Western Academy of Management, the Academy of International Business, and the European International Business Academy.

Research interests: Carlo’s research interests span from responsible management practices and CSR, to cross-cultural management and language diversity, with a particular focus on emerging economies.

Supervisor(s): Wade Danis/David Thomas


Juan Francisco Chavez Ramirez

Juan Francisco Chavez Ramirez

Education: Bachelor in Anthropology (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2006); Master of Arts in Development Studies (Erasmus Rotterdam University, 2011)

Background: Prior to coming to the Gustavson School of Business, Juan Francisco worked several years in different public and private organizations, in leadership and/or consulting roles. His experience has focused in areas such as business policy and strategy, sustainability, stakeholder management, and human and indigenous rights. Similarly, his expertise has focused in extractive industries and rural communities.

Research interests: Juan Francisco’s research interests can be situated in the intersection of business policy and strategy, social issues in management, and sustainability. In particular, he is interested in the role of businesses in local and global governance, the impact of business operations in society and the environment, the development of new capabilities to sustain competitive advantage in contexts of social and environmental pressures, business ethics debates, among other related topics.

Supervisor: Matt Murphy

S. Koray Demircan

S. Koray Demircan

S. Koray Demircan

Education: Bachelor of Business Administration (METU, Turkey, 1999); Master of Business Administration (Michigan State University, USA, 2007).

Background: Prior to starting at the Gustavson School of Business PhD program, Koray worked for the Undersecretariat for the Foreign Trade and Ministry of Economy of Turkey. He worked on drafting and negotiating bilateral and multilateral services trade agreements. He also held two diplomatic posts as the commercial counsellor both in Nairobi/Kenya and Tunis/Tunisia for five years. As the commercial counsellor, Koray supplied counselling services to many companies about engaging in international trade and investment activities at different locations.

Research Interests: International Business and International Entrepreneurship

Supervisor: Wade Danis

Eraj Hassan

Eraj Hassan

Eraj Hassan

Education: Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science (RV College of Engineering, India, 2011); Post Graduate Diploma in Management (Indian Institute of Management Indore, India, 2014)

Background: Prior to joining the PhD program at Gustavson School of Business, Eraj worked for three years in the social sector in India in various roles where he conceptualized and built data solutions for Multilateral Organizations, Governments, and NGOs to effectively plan, monitor, and track their programs. In his last engagement, he was data lead at a large private philanthropy. He began his career in credit card data analytics at a large multinational bank.

Research Interests: Eraj’s broad research interests are in understanding Business and Society interactions – specifically at this point he is looking at Corporate Social Responsibility choices of firms and their antecedents and consequences.



Trevor Israelsen

Trevor Israelsen

Education: Bachelors of Arts, History (Utah State University, 2014); Masters of Arts, History (Miami University, 2016).

Background: Prior to joining the Gustavson School as a PhD student, Trevor worked as an historian and as an assistant director at Miami University’s Institute for Entrepreneurship. Trevor draws on this integrative background—which combines themes relating to both the past and the future—in his research and teaching interests focused on how collective, transformative action occurs over time and space within society.

Research interests: Trevor adopts a humanistic approach to understanding entrepreneurship and family business as historical and socially-embedded phenomena. To do this he adopts a long-term perspective that focuses on the cultural context within which entrepreneurship occurs. While contemporary research tends to see entrepreneurship as a relatively recent and short-term phenomenon, Trevor adopts an extended time scale for explaining entrepreneurship and organizing as a dynamic, temporally-extended process that occurs at the conjuncture of resourceful families, institutionalized technological and resource environments and protean stakeholder coalitions. His research, thus, combines the intellectual traditions of organization theory, entrepreneurship and business history to investigate how resources are organized over time (i.e. across generational cohorts and in collective memory) and space (i.e. across the inter-institutional landscape of complex, modern societies). Trevor’s dissertation focuses on the way in which entrepreneurial families become institutionalized as business dynasties within the cultural history or folklore of a society. Additional projects explore themes relating to entrepreneurship, family business and enduring organization using concepts such as tradition, legacy, generations, memory, rhetorical history, narratives, social cognition, and institutional myths. For additional details please see Trevor’s profiles on Googlescholar and Researchgate.

Job Market: Trevor defended his dissertation proposal “Institutionalizing Legacy: Entrepreneurial Pathways for Constructing a Business Dynasty” in September, 2020 and is currently seeking employment as an assistant professor.

Supervisor: Roy Suddaby


Sanaz Matin Koosha

Sanaz Matin Koosha

Education: Bachelor in Architecture Engineering; (University of Mazandaran, Babolsar, Iran, 2007); Master of Science in Project Management and Construction (University of Tehran, Faculty of Fine Arts and Architecture, Tehran, Iran, 2012).

Background: Prior to starting the PhD program at the Gustavson School of Business, before joining academia, Sanaz spent five years working as project coordinator in the Oil & Gas and Building industry for several local enterprises. On the academic side, she became interested in organizational behavior and theories while she was working on her thesis titled: Review and Analysis Correlation between Contingency Variables and Project Management Office Characteristics & Search for a Typology of PMOs in the Project Oriented Organization of Construction Industry in Iran. She has represented her thesis finding through her paper which was published in the International Journal of Project Management.

Research Interests: Sanaz's research interests are situated in Organizational Behaviour. She studies how individuals maintain and enhance optimal work life. Specifically, she is examining individual sustainability, employees' wellbeing, respect at workpace, and maintaining and rebuilding work meaningfulness. She is also engaged in action research in a public sector organization in Canada to improve employee engagement and retention. Her dissertation is on the topic of maintaining and repairing work meaningfulness in the context of underempolyed, highly skilled immigrants to Canada.


Aminat Muibi

Aminat Muibi

Aminat Muibi

Education: Bachelor of Arts, Public Relations (University of Houston, 2017); Bachelor of Business administration, SCM (University of Houston, 2017); MBA (University of Texas at Dallas, 2020); Master of Science, Management (University of Texas at Dallas, 2020). 

Background: Aminat initially ventured into the supply chain management space briefly working on procurement related services in the health care industry and later on, the ecommerce industry.

Research Interests: Aminat's interests encompass 3 broad topics.

Aminat is fascinated by the process of stigma transference particularly between organizations and individuals affiliated with these organizations.  She want to understand how this transfer occurs and if evaluations of the characteristic from which the stigma emanates is also subject to change.

Aminat is also interested in individual deviant behavior particularly within organizations and how this behavior is influenced by factors like corruption and marginalization.

Finally, she seeks to understand how individuals who have been stigmatized construct identities within teams and organization. She wants to understand the process of stigmatization when individual move between contexts.

Aminat is currently involved in a MITACS project where she seeks to understand how female racialized immigrants attain senior level positions. The goal of this project is to understand how individuals at the intersection of ethnicity, gender, and immigrant status advance into decision making positions and possible gaps in representation.



Mac Nguyen

Mac Nguyen


Bachelor in Business Administration, Majoring in International Business Management (Foreign Trade University, Vietnam, 2010); Master of Science in International Business, Majoring in International Business, and Minoring in Entrepreneurship (University of Turku, Finland, 2019)

Background: Prior to coming to the Gustavson School of Business, Mac Nguyen worked in the private sector for years. During this period, he played different roles such as supervisor, assistant director, and most recently, entrepreneur and speaker in the areas of business development, external relations, and multicultural communication. Simultaneously, he loves teaching as a lifestyle to connect responsibilities with the meaning of life.

Research Interests: Mac conducts meaningful research in the intersection of innovation, regenerative sustainability, knowledge management, and human agency. As a whole, his research seeks to understand how organizations develop and stay relevant within their particular contexts while accommodating conflicting demands and tensions.


Emily Salmon

Emily Salmon

Emily Salmon

Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, Human Resources and Leadership Management (Camosun College, Victoria, BC, 2014); Master of Business Administration (Queens University, Kingston, ON, 2018).

Background: Prior to coming to the Gustavson School of Business, Emily Salmon worked several years in an indigenous organization, providing oversight & leadership within the Human Resources field. Her experience has focused on areas such as conflict mediation, human resources strategy, and the integration of indigenous culture within the organization.

Research interests: Emily’s research falls within the two broad themes of Strategic Management and Indigenous Management. Theoretically, Emily explores how stakeholder groups are able to capture and internalize diverse elements of value from their relationships with firms. To do this, she primarily draws upon Stakeholder Theory and the Value-Based Strategy literature. Emily’s research also includes Indigenous elements by primarily focusing on Indigenous perspectives and interests, and using Indigenous methodologies.



Lukshmee Saravanapavan

Lukshmee Saravanapavan

Education: Economics B.A. (University of Chicago, 2016); International Economic Policy M.P.A. (Columbia University, 2019) 

Background: Prior to joining the PhD program at the Gustavson School of Business, Lukshmee gained experience in economic, finance and sustainable development research in institutions such as the World Bank Doing Business Unit and the United Nations Global Compact. Her time at Moody’s Analytics initiated her exploration of sustainable investment, specifically based on ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) indicators, which she followed through with a pivotal capstone team research project on ESG ratings for Citi Private Bank during her time at Columbia University. The research, titled ‘Investing with Purpose’, gained special recognition as one of the five 'Highlighted' capstone research projects at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. In her last engagement, she assisted the Sustainability Team of the Albright Stone Bridge Group, an international business strategy firm led by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, with research to assist corporations reach goals such as improving their sustainability agenda and ESG ratings, and fossil fuel divestment.

Research interests: Lukshmee’s research interests lie in the intersection of Sustainability and International Business- Her research aims to identify what policies can help global multinational corporations improve their contribution to sustainable environmental, social and economic development.


Sarah Easter

Dr. Sarah Easter

Current position: Assistant Professor: College of Business Administration, Abilene Christian University, USA

Sarah Easter's work with the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness revealed the importance of boundary spanners for the success of diverse organizations. Learn more

Komal Kalra

Dr. Komal Kalra

Current position: Lecturer in International Management: Newcastle University Business School, UK

Komal Kalra’s research lies at the intersection of international business and cross-cultural management. Her areas of interest include comparative management, language diversity, gender in IB, and knowledge transfers. In her dissertation work, Komal discusses the importance of recognizing diversity and variations within countries.



Anirban Kar

Dr. Anirban Kar

Current position: Post-doctoral Fellow: Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University

Anirban Kar conducts research in the areas of Positive Organization Scholarship and Social Issues in Management. He also works in the GLOBE project and provides support to the International Programs at Beedie School of Management, Simon Fraser University.

Shazia Karmali

Dr. Shazia Karmali

Shazia Karmali’s dissertation research explored the dynamics between discourse, rhetoric and framing, by following the concept of "local food" from obscurity to popularity and economic relevance, through measuring changes in the meaning of “local food" over 37 years.


Saeed Rahman

Dr. Saeed Rahman

Current position: Assistant Professor: School of Business, University of the Fraser Valley, Canada

Saeed Rahman’s current research interests include ecological knowledge, regenerative sustainability, systems theory, social-ecological systems perspective, organizational unlearning, climate change governance, and reverse innovation. Learn more


Michael Silla

Dr. Michael Silla

Mike Silla’s research in the entrepreneurship domain explores how entrepreneurs will be motivated to protect and nurture the new venture in light of any negative feedback that they receive from the environment, resulting in escalation of commitment.


Mike Szymanski

Dr. Mike Szymanski

Current position: Associate Professor, Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO, Russia

Mike Szymanski's research explored how bicultural individuals can impact team performance, using the lens of sport. Learn more


Helena Zhu

Dr. Helena Zhu

Helena Zhu's dissertation focussed on the role of delegation and the success of entrepreneurship startups.

What's the best part of taking a PhD at Gustavson as a student?

  • program is well rounded, focuses on broad societal issues, and is closely connected with the Center for Social and Sustainable Innovation
  • school has a nurturing and welcoming culture, and students are encouraged to connect with researchers in all areas
  • faculty and staff are friendly, easy-going and are willing to give you their time and their excellent support in all aspects of your program
  • faculty is open to suggestions and guide you to make the program work for you
  • rigorous training in research design, qualitative and quantitative methods
  • small class sizes offer a great opportunity to engage with the material and are taught by very passionate people that care about and have expertise in the topic areas
  • plenty of opportunity to engage in the schools research environment and receive feedback on work
  • international visiting students provide a wonderful opportunity to expand your knowledge and provide new points of view to challenge your way of thinking

What advice do students have for incoming PhD students?

  • Pace yourself. It's normal to feel overwhelmed but don't let that consume you, enjoy the ride!
  • Your fellow students are a huge part of your support system so be sure to take a breather, relax, and get to know them.
  • If you're in the program you have what it takes. You're smart enough so when things get tough, don't doubt yourself. The only thing you have to do is not give up!
  • Close mentorship with professors
  • Creative and challenging research opportunities available from Year 1
  • Shared offices on the fourth floor of the Business and Economics building, with dedicated classroom space for PhD Business classes
  • Access to library databases, office equipment, and software essentials for maximum productivity
  • UVic has some helpful resources for new students.
  • The best source of information regarding costs and types of housing in Victoria (both on and off campus) is the UVic Housing website. Most students at the doctoral level find private apartments for rent.
  • Prospective students who are planning to move to Victoria with their families are encouraged to apply for Family Housing at the same time as applying for admissions to the program.