What drew you to the consumer sciences and hospitality management field?
I have been involved in the hospitality management field for a long time by helping my family operate a guesthouse on the coast of Montenegro. As an architect, I became interested in the design of hospitality facilities due to the diversity of the hospitality programs. Although I was initially drawn to hospitality management with the desire to expand my knowledge about the hospitality operations, I quickly learned to appreciate the research opportunities in the area. I was attracted by the interdisciplinary opportunities of the Consumer Sciences program and the long tradition of the Hospitality Management PhD track at the Ohio State University. I have learned that this PhD is one of the oldest PhD programs in the U.S. with the focus on Hospitality Management.
What were you doing before applying to the PhD program in Consumer Sciences?
I was working as a lecturer in the Hospitality Management track of the Consumer Sciences program because I wanted to gain teaching experience. Coming from the international background, teaching at the university in the U.S. provides a great understanding of the educational system, ability to learn about the students’ values and motivations, and the chance to enrich students’ perspectives about the hospitality management industry by sharing international experience.
What is the focus of your academic work?
My research seeks to understand how hospitality and other service environments influence consumer behavior and how service marketers can use this knowledge to develop more personalized service offerings to consumers. I am also interested in the application of technology in hospitality and services marketing such as self-service technologies and Virtual Reality (VR). Finally, through the interdisciplinary research on transformative services I seek to understand how hospitality industries contribute to the well-being of vulnerable populations and general community well-being.
How would you describe the doctoral program to others?
Consumer Sciences doctoral program provides a great theoretical foundation and support for young researchers. It is a very individual, personalized experience that caters to one’s interests. The faculty in the program is very flexible in guiding students to develop their own research stream and present research at symposiums and conferences. Students are also encouraged to gain teaching experience while completing PhD coursework. The Hospitality Management program has an influential Advisory Board who is willing to support the research and teaching efforts of faculty and students.
There’s a very interdisciplinary aspect to the PhD program in Consumer Sciences. How has this has impacted your experience at Ohio State?
The Ohio State is a Research 1 institution which nurtures interdisciplinary research. The interdisciplinary aspect of the Consumer Sciences program helped me expand my research focus by bringing the perspectives from the fields of economics, social psychology, and human development. I learned to think “outside the box” and shape my research to provide implications for both businesses and consumer well-being. Students at Consumer Sciences program are also encouraged to take courses with the world-renowned researchers in the fields of psychology, business, and quantitative research methods.
What is the benefit of doing your doctoral studies in Columbus?
Columbus is the 14th largest city in the U.S. Columbus is not only the capital city of Ohio, but it is also one of the capitals of restaurant and fashion & retail industries. Several national and regional restaurant chains such as Wendy’s, White Castle, Bravo Brio Restaurant Group, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, and Bob Evans are headquartered in Columbus area. With the variety of independent, chain restaurants, and micro-breweries, the city itself with is a “test kitchen” of the U.S. I love trying out new restaurant concepts, but also visiting some of the authentic ethnic cuisines spots for Szechuan, Korean, Ethiopian, and Mediterranean cuisines.
Moreover, Columbus is right behind the fashion and retail industry in NYC and LA, by being home to companies such as L Brands (Victoria’s Secret, The Limited, Bath & Body Works), Express, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Lane Bryant. Living in Columbus, almost every weekend you can enjoy a festival, convention, or a sports event. Almost every event offers volunteering and community involvement initiatives. Some of my favorite ones are the Greek Festival, Columbus Arts Festival, and Arnold Sports Festival. By living in Columbus, I feel that I learn greatly in the classroom at the Ohio State and by experiencing the city.
How can incoming students get the most out of their time at Ohio State?
Get involved and don’t be afraid of new experiences! The Ohio State offers activities for students at the Student Union, Wexner Center for the Arts, and recreational facilities. However, it is also important to leave the campus and get to know the city and the people. I also find it valuable to attend the events for our undergraduate HM students which provide excellent networking opportunities.
What advice would you give to students who are trying to decide on Consumer Sciences at Ohio State?
No matter how certain you are in your knowledge, you will learn plenty by studying Consumer Sciences at the Ohio State. If you want to learn, become engaged, but also enjoy the family-like atmosphere in the program, Consumer Sciences is the right program for you!
Also, if you are fond of the city life, but would still like to live somewhere safe and quiet, studying at the Ohio State is an excellent choice. The Ohio State is a city campus, very well connected with all the hip areas around the city.