A Research Passion is Born
“It's a great feeling when people come looking for you because they know you've had great training. ”
When Brett Gilbert was originally looking into doctoral programs, she arrived for her two-day interview at Kelley fully prepared to be evaluated by the faculty. Instead, faculty members presented her with their own current research.
“I was so impressed with the faculty, with the two-day interview process, and with the commitment that faculty members appeared to have to their doctoral program. I knew Kelley was a place where I would be nurtured to grow and become a successful academic. It's still early in the process, but I feel like I'm definitely well on my way toward achieving that goal.”
As a doctoral student in management with a focus in entrepreneurship, Gilbert analyzed factors that influence new venture performance. “I love learning new things and being challenged,” says Gilbert. “Had I not attended Kelley, I’m not sure that I would have developed the research interest that I currently have, which is different from what I thought I would originally study [e-commerce]. As a professor, I can research topics that are of interest to me and still get paid for doing so!”
Opening Doors to an Ideal Career
The Kelley name opened doors for Gilbert during her academic career: research projects with Kelley Professor Tricia McDougall and School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) Professor David Audretsch led her to international conferences and a week-long trip to Germany, where she connected with fellow entrepreneurship scholars.
After completion of her PhD, Georgia State University recruited Gilbert as an assistant professor of management. “It’s a great feeling when people come looking for you because they know you’ve had great training.”
Currently an assistant professor at Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, Gilbert teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on creativity and innovation as she continues researching new business ventures to find deeper, clearer explanations for what makes new ventures thrive—or fail.
“Sometimes I’m reading, sometimes I’m writing, but in general, I’m always thinking about how things need to come together,” she says.
The most valuable skill she gained from her Kelley experience was a deep understanding of how to design and execute research projects. Without encouragement from faculty, Gilbert would not have pursued her research interest in new ventures. “The program at Kelley not only shaped my research interest, but allowed me to develop my own voice as the scholar I was intended to be.