After completing my stint at Telecom Fiji Ltd as its Group CEO, I wanted to pursue my lifetime ambition of being a good collaborator of Tech startups by assisting them to cross the chasm. I am fond of working with energetic, entrepreneurial youth as that association motivates or energises me immensely.
Currently, Tech startups have many issues in scaling up their operations due to lack of market access and resource crunch. At the same time, big corporates like Telecommunication companies need to keep up with the fast pace of innovation and lack organizational agility for innovation similar to tech start-ups.
With the exposure I have with big corporates like Telecom operators and start-ups, my desire is to be a bridge between them. In order to position me uniquely in this domain, I opted to pursue my DBA studies specialised in the fields of venture capital and strategic partnerships with a clear objective of helping start-ups to grow and build symbiotic relationships with big corporates to create shared value. I also have a passion for building social capital. The main criteria for choosing a business school to pursue my doctoral studies and the crucial decision of selecting DBA Vs PhD and selecting the thesis topic were primarily governed by this passion.
PPA and IPE Management School have a high focus in the areas that I wanted to engage in future, especially in innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainability. Both IPE and PPA have a high practical orientation and a large alumni representation from digi-tech industry. After all, Paris is the Start-up hub in Europe where Station F, the world’s largest start-up campus is located. The comprehensive feedback report that I received from IPE / PPA for my research proposal is a good testimony for this alignment.
I structured my research in accordance with the suggestions given in this report. I greatly value its emphasis on practicality and the need for alignment with my personal goals. In a nutshell, I enrolled in the DBA with the enrolment of my future mission. While doing my doctoral studies, I started my venture, mentored three start-ups, one in China and two in Australia and developed the co-creation platform for startups www.internetplusasia.com. Completing a Doctorate is definitely an arduous journey with many potholes and obstacles. But the goal alignment or complementarity of your professional life and DBA studies is a motivator and driver for successful completion.
The decision to pursue a DBA of PPA in Malaysia with Mantissa College was driven by their commitment to high standards, continuous monitoring and progressive incremental assessment of research rather than having a consolidated assessment. Course work assignments or mini research work for each subject (Minimum 5000 words) can generally be considered as rehearsals for a doctoral student’s main dissertation of a minimum of 50,000 words. Lecturers of Mantissa coach students for the final thesis while guiding students in these mini-research work closely. The on-campus environment provided by Mantissa facilitate close teacher and student interaction and provide enough networking opportunities with students coming from varying backgrounds. Mantissa provided a good platform to learn from each other in the on-campus environment and of the campus as well, by building online communities for learning.
My topic of the research is “To identify the success factors for Telco – Start-up collaboration in co-creating 5G ready services in emerging markets”. In this research, I have specifically identified the problems of placing high importance on financial returns while losing sight of customer-centric innovation for 5G and poor engagement on a continuous basis in an indirectly managed Corporate Venture Capital engagement model. The objective of this research was to ascertain the strategies to overcome these issues, identify intra firm-specific success factors and explore the ways of overcoming the barriers to gainful engagements and accomplishing results in terms of Creating Shared Value. The study was done from the perspective of Telecom companies in emerging markets. A qualitative research methodology, Case Study in conjunction with Grounded Theory, was adopted for designing multiple Case Studies and for analysing data collected through interviews, observations and generating a conceptual framework for successful collaboration.
This research is unique in many ways due to its focus on Telecom, innovation in 5G Use Cases and the high priority given for DigiTechs such as MedTech, AgriTech and FinTech. I can comfortably use the research findings to build bridges between Telecoms and progressive Tech startups to Create Shared Value.
PPA provided me an opportunity to bring in my passion for discovery by working with diverse set of people. I take this opportunity to thank Professor William Chua for guiding my research journey patiently. His inspirational critique and constant monitoring helped me to make the project a greater success. I also express my gratitude to all the teachers of Mantissa College / IPE Management School, Pole Paris Alternance, who moulded and enlightened my thinking in the fields of Strategic Management, Entrepreneurship, Operations Management and most importantly Research Methods. I am also greatly indebted to my family and my friends for their endless patience and support during the study period. Now I should make up for the lost time with them.
As countries, companies, individuals and fresh graduates, we have to adapt and face the uncertainty created by the pandemic. We have to come to terms with the long and difficult journey ahead. The only way to overcome this hostile situation is a collaborate by building closely-knit communities. Interestingly, this is in agreement with the concept of building a collaborative ecosystem highlighted in my research. Therefore as the endnote, I suggest building a strong community around alumni of DBA and Pole Paris Alterance for furthering our future goals and continuation of our research interests.