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Hincks Centre Welcomes ...

Hincks Centre Welcomes ...

04 December, 2020

The Hincks Centre recently welcomed PhD candidate Neelofar Aleem to the Team. We are delighted she is here and we hope she enjoys her time at CIT/MTU albeit currently by virtual means. Here, she tells us a bit about herself and her journey: 

 

‘The Rising of the Moon’, a play by Isabella Augusta Persse introduced me to the people of Ireland during Highschool. I admired their struggle without knowing that, one day, I would go to Ireland to fulfil my dream of doctoral research and would encounter the warm and friendly nature of the Irish people. It was a pleasant surprise to experience the friendliness and embracing approach of the Irish people in Dublin and Cork, then I said to myself, ‘Why am I surprised? Acceptance of my PhD proposal could only be done by creative, futuristic and embracing people, i.e. Irish academia, and I am here’.

My doctoral research project aims to build entrepreneurial consortiums in the digital health sector. Many people ask me why I am so interested in innovation and digital technology. Well, my genes can be held responsible for becoming an innovative business professional. Growing up in a family with futuristic parents and seeing my father as a software engineer and among the pioneers of computerisation at a leading MNC in Pakistan, drew me to innovation.

After completing my honours degree, my internship was with the marketing division of the multinational footwear company Bata Pakistan Ltd. My team and I created a new volume category, that only bought merchandise from local sources, and generated a turnover of PKR 946 million (€4.9m) with a 150% plus growth rate for three consecutive years. I also had the opportunity to liaise with international suppliers from China, India, Thailand and many others for the purpose of building a unique product line. The multi-cultural environment of Bata taught me the importance of networking for the growth of business and this served me well in later roles.

My focus isn’t solely on the innovation or tech; rather the people, my people and people of the global community. A desire to work for community development motivated me to join a tertiary care hospital as a team head for marketing and fundraising departments. I successfully executed a 5-year marketing plan there with the help of implementing a Hospital Information Management Systems (HIMS) in my departments and online payment and fundraising software which not only facilitated patients but also increased donations. With the innovative 360-degree marketing project, my team and I built a strong network with various stakeholders, e.g. chambers of commerce for funding, leading corporates for co-branding in healthcare, and universities for making students the energetic health ambassadors.

Later, I founded a new venture, AIM Concerns Pvt. Ltd., where I worked for small and medium level entrepreneurs providing them with a platform to market and network as well as train them for future ventures. I also have three years of work experience as a researcher and lecturer at NCBA&E, a charted university in Pakistan. Being interested in innovation, my research studies remain multidisciplinary and mainly focus on areas such as marketing and building consortiums for entrepreneurs, poverty alleviation, sustainability and digitalisation in the health sector. In this digitally connected world, multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches are needed to build economically sustainable societies. For this reason, as an entrepreneurial researcher and trainer, I planned to pursue my studies further in Europe.

While browsing the web pages of various universities and institutions to fulfil my dream of a higher degree in research, I found Dr. Breda Kenny’s areas of research quite relevant and compatible with my areas of interest, i.e. digitalisation, health sector and entrepreneurial networks. I found a friendly and helpful supervisor who mentored me throughout my journey until achieving the prestigious scholarship of ADVANCE CRT. I am also fortunate to have Dr. Helen McGuirk, Head of the Hincks Centre, as my supervisor. I firmly believe that her knowledge and vast experience in international and European entrepreneurship projects will guide me throughout my PhD journey. I believe that my PhD from CIT/MTU will not only satisfy my desire for innovation in business, but the Hincks Centre will also provide me with the opportunity to become a part of the international entrepreneurial community and serve the people of my global community as an international student.

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