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– A good atmosphere for PhD candidates

UiA is well-known for its internationality and diversity. I am humbled to be in a group with the best talents from different cultures around the world.

Arizona Mustikarini

PhD in Auditing

Arizona Mustikarini is taking a PhD in Auditing at the UiA School of Business and Law. She started on the PhD programme in 2019.

What is your PhD project?
I conduct research in auditing, especially behavioral research in auditing, in the field of audit quality, judgment and decision making. Auditing profession plays a pivotal role in shaping public accountability. Currently, I am working on a project of auditor-client interaction and negotiation. The topic is interesting because this interaction occurs in an unobservable setting, while how auditors resolve any issues within the interaction will affect directly on the quality of financial statements.


Why did you choose the University of Agder?

I chose the University of Agder (UiA) because it offers high-quality education and a unique experience. UiA is well-known for its internationality and diversity. I am humbled to be in a group with the best talents from different cultures around the world. UiA School of Business and Law has earned AACSB Accreditation which is the most prestigious international accreditation for business schools. On top of that, the School has a leading academic reputation and offers a good atmosphere for PhD candidates. Many of the professors publish their research in top journals. I had the opportunity to apply for a position as a PhD Research Fellow that earns a monthly salary. The salary is fair, and because of this I can put all my attention to my research projects without worrying about my living costs.


How is the PhD experience at UiA?

The PhD work is a marathon; therefore, endurance, persistence, and initiative are the most important characters to have as a PhD candidate. We are expected to do effective work every day and have a clear output. It can be challenging since most of the time, PhD candidates struggle with a new learning process. Nonetheless, UiA assists their PhD candidates with supporting facilities related to both the research projects and PhD life. At UiA I am fortunate to be in an equal and open working atmosphere between professors and PhD candidates. Not only research-related courses, but the university also provides some basic courses that are useful for PhD life. The courses include writing skills, presentation skills, how to tackle PhD life, work culture, and Norwegian classes. Physical and mental health are important for the university. The campus has a public jogging track, sports facilities, and a free gym. As UiA emphasizes a supportive working culture and work-life balance, the university organizes some leisure activities with other PhD candidates and families. There is also a PhD candidate association that can help you with different with PhD issues.


How do you evaluate the PhD programme at the UiA School of Business and Law?

In my opinion, the PhD programme at the UiA School of Business and Law has given me a clear path about what is expected from a PhD student since day one. The program is designed to equip the PhD candidates with all the necessary skills they need, particularly in the academic career. We are given some flexibilities to develop our own academics portfolio. For example, PhD candidates are given mandatory courses in philosophy and research methods. In addition, we can take other specific courses that are relevant for our research projects, not only at UiA or other Norwegian universities, but also at other universities worldwide. The working atmosphere in the UiA School of Business and Law also aims to be supportive of each other’s progress. We are given equal opportunities in presenting our research and building a research network through global research groups and international conferences, as the School puts attention on international collaboration. I think those are luxury advantages that a PhD student could obtain from their PhD journey.

 We are encouraged to promote ourselves as an academic, both in the School’s website and other social media. Doing this is an important basic to build a future career in academia and to develop a future academic network.


 What is the most important experience you have made?

I have had the pleasure of meeting highly respected professors from around the world that have inspired and fascinated me to pursue more knowledge in unlocking social science and human interaction. I have also been given the opportunity to sharpen my teamwork, leadership, and collaboration skills in a research collaboration project. Collaboration is key in the academic world, as it produces better research outcome. However, it does not come without challenges. A collaboration could be the most advantageous yet challenging task for a PhD candidate, especially when you are working with people with very different backgrounds. A clear purpose and timeline make the foundation of a well-working collaboration.


 What are your best tips for future PhD candidates?

Having good intelligence is necessary for a PhD student, but more importantly is having a positive attitude. Traits such as persistence, determination and initiative are critical in order to succeed as a PhD candidate. It is essential to build good communication and relationship with your supervisor. And lastly, it is also important to track your own accomplishment during the PhD period. Therefore, I recommend developing a PhD diary to reflect both how far you have been progressing, and what you should achieve in the future.