PhDs offer ‘speed-date business check-ups’

Phd candidates will let businesses see how they could help them at a unique ‘speed dating’ event. Photo: Shutterstock.

Your business may seem fit and healthy, but has it been checked by a doctor recently?

That’s the tantalising opportunity being offered to Australian CEOs at a unique PhD Speed Dating event at the New Venture Institute (NVI) at Flinders University on 23 July.

In an era when post-doctoral candidates are increasingly turning big IQs, highly developed problem solving skills and top level academic training towards the private sector, the NVI is offering Australian businesses the chance to see what a PhD could offer them.

NVI Director Matt Salier said PhD speed dating, which will see 20 CEOs meet 20 Flinders University PhD candidates in a whirlwind of five-minute, back-to-back ‘dates’, is something any senior executive interested in innovation and transformation should be a part of.

“This event is the first of its kind that we are aware of anywhere in Australia, so Flinders PhD students and the New Venture Institute are leading the way,” Mr Salier said.

“I think it comes at a time when the most forward-thinking CEOs are increasingly recognising the advantages that doctoral graduates equipped with highly advanced and wide ranging skills sets can bring to their businesses.

“Some of the most exciting innovations have come from the kind of research these graduates undertake, and CEOs of South Australian businesses are the best placed to convert these to a commercial advantage.

“I would challenge CEOs to imagine the possibilities and then take this unique opportunity to come along and test the candidates out for themselves.”

Karen Patterson, who is President of the Flinders University Postgraduate society and a current PhD candidate, said her fellow students were looking forward to the challenge.

“In undertaking a PhD you are often working in unchartered territory, so you need to learn to open your mind to all possibilities and then logically and systematically select the relevant information and apply it to the project you’re working on,” Ms Patterson said.

“This means PhD candidates can analyse the most complex problems and issues in a range of situations, then tease them apart and solve them in a precise and methodical manner.

“One of the greatest advantages of having a PhD candidate do this for you is that they will also follow a process that they can explain and show afterwards.

“I think that will be important for CEOs who not only want to solve problems and innovate, but who also want to be able to document and repeat the process across their business.”

The New Venture Institute at Flinders PhD Speed Dating event is by invitation only.

If you would like to attend, or know someone who might, please email an expression of interest to by 23 May 2014.

The Event:

In three to five-minute blocks CEOs will engage with 20 PhD students, all with value and transferable skills such as:

  • Analysis & Problem-Solving
  • Interpersonal & Leadership Skills
  • Project Management & Organization
  • Research & Information Management
  • Self-Management & Work Habits
  • Written & Oral Communication

As with any good date, drinks and nibbles will also be provided.

For more information or to discuss the event further please contact Matthew Salier, Director New Venture Institute 08 8201 7522.

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