Monday, 1 February 2016

Benjamin: Home Away from Home - Why I chose the University of Sheffield

My name is Benjamin Afreh, and I am the International Office Ambassador for Ghana at the University of Sheffield. You can read more about me here on my profile.

I’m originally from a small village in the eastern region of the Ghana. My research here at the University of Sheffield explores the evolving factors that determine why small firms in most developing countries operate in the informal sector. I ‘m trying to find out more about how informal institutions shape the occupational choices of young people in these countries, specifically in Ghana. Also, I seek to explore the innovative strategies these informal entrepreneurs are adopting to mitigate the challenges they are fronted within the informal economy. 
I decided to do a PhD fairly quickly after finishing my Master’s degree at the University of Sussex. By then, I had come to the conclusion that I love research and that somehow, spending three to four years reading books, trudging through publications, and critically analysing management theories  relating to enterprise development actually sounded quite appealing. I haven’t had cause to regret my decision.

Before committing to my decision, I chose to take a Research Assistant job at the University of Ghana immediately to be double-sure and I used that period to re-assess my life and decide whether pursuing a research career was indeed the best choice. I found that research experience extremely interesting and fulfilling. It had prepared me mentally for the huge task ahead.

Choosing the right University to study a PhD I have come to realise can both exciting and daunting task, especially if you are an international student. It’s very difficult to judge the essential qualities you want in that perfect university you are looking for when you are looking from afar. I was also unsure which country or city I wanted to study in at first. I finally took that bold step and chose the University of Sheffield as my first and final choice based on my priorities of its reputation, academic and research excellence, cost and funding as well as its being rated over the years by students as the best university for one’s personal and professional development.

I wanted a PhD experience that will always stay close to my heart and I found Sheffield to be that University. And so, I applied to study at the Management School, which was very attractive due to its status as a triple crown business school, having been accredited with AMBA, AACSB and EQUIS, and being ranked among the top 20 UK Business Schools for research excellence.

Benjamin and classmates at the University of Sheffield

Today, I feel very happy having chosen the University of Sheffield for my doctoral study. I have had no difficulties coping with the new research environment here in Sheffield or adapting to life in the city because the support systems here are second to none. The encouragement I get from my Supervisors, my colleague PhD students, the administrative staff, the Student Union and the city as a whole, makes my study very interesting and challenging at the same time.  I have no doubt that I am on the path to starting a fulfilling research career, and after successfully competing  this doctoral thesis I know will be very equipped and stand out as a world class researcher. I know this excitement of producing ground breaking research in the future is still unfolding and that best and happier days are still ahead. For now, I am extremely grateful the University of Sheffield and its city for proving to me to be truly the best in terms of learning and finding a new home far away from home!

By Benjamin Afreh
International Office Ambassador for Ghana and West Africa

1 comment:

  1. wow I love the way you express your heart in your article. really it can be very disturbing to find yourself outside your sphere of world your were brought up. but with good support and care every other place can be your home from home. thanks mr Benjamin for your message.