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Ivey PhD graduate wins award for international business research

Jan 31, 2019

Yamlaksira Getachew - PhD award

Yamlaksira Getachew, at the awards ceremony

Photo provided by Yamlaksira Getachew

Having firsthand experience on life in Africa, Yamlaksira Getachew, PhD ’17, wanted to better understand the pros and cons of doing business there.

The end result was a paper that won a prestigious award for excellence in PhD research within the field of International Business.

Getachew, who is now an assistant professor of Management at Loyola Marymount University, recently won the 2016-2018 SSE Gunnar Hedlund Award for his dissertation, “Institutional Voids, Investment Purposes, and Foreign Subsidiaries of Multinational Enterprises.” The paper was also a finalist in the Best Dissertation Award, International Management Division at the Academy of Management, and the Peter J. Buckley and Mark Casson AIB Dissertation Award.

Insights on multinational enterprises in developing countries

This research examines how institutional voids (a lack of market-supporting institutions) influence the viability of foreign subsidiaries of multinational enterprises. When MNE subsidiaries enter locations with institutional voids, such as Africa, their costs to do business might increase, but Getachew also found some strategic benefits.

Winning the SE Gunnar Hedlund Award is an achievement for Getachew on many levels. It’s recognition of the importance of his research and will motivate him to make further contributions in this area. Getachew said he hopes it will also encourage other scholars, particularly fellow Africans.

“I believe there are many more Africans out there with considerable potential to win global awards and inspire others. I hope my success will inspire many Africans,” he said. “I hope this will also inspire Ivey PhD candidates, as I was inspired by the many award-winning Ivey graduates.”

Getachew said he is grateful for financial support for his PhD studies through the Brock Scholarship (2012-16) from Bill Brock, MBA ’63, LLD ’05, and Ann Brock; and the George E. Connell Graduate Scholarship (2016-17) established by Ralph M. Barford, LLD ’87, in memory of former Western University president George Connell, LLD ’85.

He also acknowledges the guidance and support provided  by his PhD supervisor, Ivey Professor Paul Beamish.

Inspiring role models

“At Ivey, I had a wonderful opportunity to learn from and work with academics who are among the leading scholars in their areas. I found myself in a community of scholars who conduct research, not just for theoretical contributions, but also for practical relevance,” he said.

While at Ivey, Getachew also volunteered with the 39 Country Initiative and helped to ship more than 13,000 books and journals to Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia – the same school where he completed his MBA and served as a lecturer.