Constantine Manolchev – PhD in Business and Management

Year of graduation: 2016

Current employer: University of Exeter

Current job title: Lecturer in Management

Current location: Penryn Campus, Cornwall

“Undertaking my PhD brought me in contact with inspiring, fascinating, quirky, funny, and wonderful human beings in the academic world and gave me a developmental path not many other careers can offer.”

What is / was the title of your project?

Precarity and Precariousness. A Study Into the Impact of Precarious Work, Defined as Low-skill and Low-pay Jobs, on the Experiences of Workers in the South West of Britain.

Describe your research in one sentence.

An investigation into how people in short-term, low-pay and insecure jobs feel.

What was the most exciting element(s) of your project?

I had the opportunity to meet one of the main theorists I used in my PhD at a conference in Athens, and was totally star-struck.  

What was the most exciting outcome(s) of your project?

I have learned that there is no better way to find out about yourself than to speak to others. My research brought me into contact with a wide group of participants, from migrants, zero-hour workers, senior professionals in local government, and international organisations. Having the opportunity to hear their stories and then discover my own place among them was a totally unexpected and yet a totally life changing experience.

Tell us what you have been doing since completing your research.  

I was appointed as Programme Leader for Business and HR at Truro College prior to my viva, so I was busy preparing and running their FdA in Business, which is validated by Plymouth University. I was then offered the post as Lecturer in Management at Exeter University’s Penryn Campus and I am now back in the lecture theatre. I am still in close contact with my former supervisory team at Plymouth and together we have just submitted our first journal article.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

I can only repeat the advice my supervisors gave me: ‘this isn’t going to be easy, so you must be passionate about the subject. It is a marathon and not a sprint, so you need to pace yourself. It is, however, going to change your life so you need to enjoy it.’’

How did your time at Plymouth University help you?

I came to the UK on a merit scholarship at the age of 16. I wasn’t able to access any funding or student loans, so after completing my A levels I spent several years in labouring, grounds maintenance, building, and gardening. I knew what I was passionate about and what I should be doing but had no means of reconciling where I was with where I wanted to be. I was waiting for the ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity and it came through Plymouth University. Undertaking my PhD brought me in contact with inspiring, fascinating, quirky, funny, and wonderful human beings in the academic world and gave me a developmental path not many other careers can offer.

Would you recommend undertaking research at Plymouth University, and why?

Absolutely. I was able to work alongside and learn from academics who are experts in their fields. I was also given the opportunity to attend conferences and training courses (as a result of which I now no longer have a job but a vocation)!

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?  

If you are thinking about a PhD at Plymouth University, I strongly recommend that you research and read the biographies of the academic team, as this will allow you to contact the most suitable person directly. Doing so will allow you to impress them by showing initiative!