- Apr 26, 2022
Ivey’s PhD Program in Business Administration is a full-time research-based program designed to develop scholars and to place graduates at high-quality research universities around the world. Our PhD candidates are showcased at conferences around the world and regularly featured in top-tier academic and industry publications.
To help you get to know them, we’ve asked them about their academic and personal interests.
Get to know: Sabrina Goestl, PhD Candidate
Born and raised in a small village in South Germany, Sabrina Goestl had limited opportunities to experience diversity early on in life. After high school, Goestl had the chance to study at various higher education institutions where she met people from different cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives. That sparked an interest in the benefits of group diversity. Today, Goestl is working on her PhD in organizational behaviour at Ivey. She focuses on the development of multicultural teams and strategies for improving the efficiency and productivity of these teams.
Q&A with Sabrina Goestl
What attracted you to Ivey’s program?
I was attracted to Ivey’s research areas, particularly the organizational behaviour discipline. I learned some Ivey faculty – Fernando Olivera, Martha Maznevski, PhD ’94, and Hayden Woodley – were looking for someone to work with them in this area. They are now my PhD supervisors. Their research is based on team processes and outcomes in complex team settings, which meshes with my interest in how individuals work together in teams, especially multicultural ones. I immediately knew we would be a great fit.
What is your research focus?
I am conducting research on diverse teams, with a special focus on cultural diversity. I am currently exploring how the health and wellness of team members, based on sleep, sport, diet etc., can affect multicultural teams.
Why is that area appealing to you? What big problems/issues need to be addressed?
I became interested in diverse teams because, for most of my life, my environment was not very diverse. Growing up in a small village with a strong local culture and barely any “outsiders,” I rarely experienced diversity. It was not until I moved away and started living in different cities and countries that I was exposed to a variety of perspectives. My experiences working with people from other cultures and backgrounds genuinely opened my mind.
Today, more people find themselves in environments where they are working in teams that cross national and cultural borders. I think it is more important than ever to understand how we can make these interactions most effective for organizations, individuals, and societies.
How do you see your research making an impact?
We are all interacting in teams in one way or another, may it be in a formal work team, a study group, a sports team, or otherwise. It is important to recognize that team members bring diverse perspectives and abilities to the table. Research on teams can help make group work both more effective and inclusive.
How do you see research as an aid to business improvement?
Research is crucial for business improvement. Good business research advances the understanding of real-life events so that managers and other organizational leaders can make well-grounded decisions.
What previous experience prepared you for this?
I have had the opportunity to study at four different universities in Germany, Bulgaria, and Canada. I have also worked as a research assistant at the Chair of Sustainable Business at the University of Mannheim. These experiences taught me what it means to do research and how it can be done.
On the other hand, my practical experiences in startups and smaller businesses, as well as at KPMG and, most recently, McKinsey, gave me the chance to work with impressive business leaders in very different environments. These encounters have given me a glimpse of the challenges businesses are struggling with right now.
Where did you grow up and what was it like there?
I was born and raised in Bodenmais, Germany. As much as I missed out on diversity growing up there, I absolutely loved, and still love, the village’s close-knit community. Growing up where I did gave me a love of nature, an appreciation of the simple things in life, and helped me to value time with friends and family.
Who have been your strongest influences in life?
My parents strongly influenced me. They have been with me every step of the way. I always know I have a place to come home to.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I play the saxophone and clarinet. Unfortunately, I could not bring the instruments to Canada, but I am excited to play again when I go to Germany in the summer.
What is the most played song on your playlist as of now?
Right now, it is Bam Bam by Camila Cabello and Ed Sheeran. I love it because it describes a light-hearted way of dealing with whatever life throws at you.
What book would you recommend to others? Why?
I just finished Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. This is a great read for when you are getting overwhelmed by daily struggles because it helps you refocus on what is important in life.
What tips have you learned for staying connected in an online learning environment?
I recommend prioritizing virtual social events. It really makes a difference even if it means sitting in front of your laptop for another hour. That said, I do enjoy that we are back in person now. I don’t know whether the casual conversations in the offices or after class could actually ever be replaced virtually.