The GSERM Summer School Was a Turning Point in my Doctoral Journey

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Receiving the Scholarship award that was offered to GBSN member schools from the Global School in Empirical Research Methods (GSERM) was not only a turning point in my doctoral journey but also an inspiring experience at a personal level. I am a doctoral fellow at the Strathmore University Business School in Kenya. My research area is Health Systems Leadership and Governance. I also facilitate applied leadership and management for Healthcare Managers and also as an executive coach. My passion and inspiration is to be a health system M&E expert in the near future and use this avenue to inform health policy in African context.

I am very grateful to GBSN and the University of St. Gallen for this transforming opportunity. I am very thankful to the University of St. Gallen for opening their doors for us to experience the world class learning environment and at the same time experience the Swiss culture which is priceless! To start with, I had this notion that I was well travelled and going to University of St. Gallen was another ordinary experience in an international context. Shock on me! I remember relating with my classmates that as soon as you land in Zurich, your “Amazing Race” journey starts; where each new task or experience was like conquering a new challenge which came with a lot of sense of accomplishment and pride; starting from adjusting to seamless transport system, going up and down the countless stairs on the hills which was very healthy, finding the registration office and finally the place of residence where I called home for two weeks. All these were journeys of discovery and self-reflection on what lessons and best practices such as culture of Independence, Responsibility, Accountability and Excellence the we can learn and take it back to our beloved countries in Africa with great potential of transforming our spaces, community, counties and country at large.

I acknowledge the high-performing team from the University of St. Gallen spearheaded by Knopf Hans-Joachim, Carolina, the catering staff and the rest of the team for creating a learning environment for genuine breakthroughs through seamless implementation of the GSERM Program. The very interesting international and multicultural environment gave us a perfect opportunity to connect with people from different countries and industries. I was blessed to participate in the Qualitative Data Analysis class by Paul Mihas and Qualitative comparative Analysis by Charles Ragin. The professors had undeniably deep academic knowledge and experience and yet also great human connectors that enabled me to apply learnt knowledge immediately to my research proposal. By the time I left the University of St. Gallen, I had completed my proposal especially on research methodology which was a shaky ground before I participated in the program.

In St. Gallen, I also learnt to practice work- life balance. Even though the classes were intense, everything perfectly fitted in its place. The networking breakfast, the outside BBQ lunches, the state of art gym, the seamlessly organized social activities such as the guided city tour of St. Gallen with great stories rooted in family values, the trip to the famous Appenzeller Schaukäserei, the musical concerts at St. Gallen jazz festival; we were spoilt of choices.
Having said that, it is my bold statement to say that; “If you need a mind shift on how to approach research, GSERM is the way to go!” Will I attend other provided courses again? Absolutely yes!

Tecla Chelagat is a Doctoral Fellow at Strathmore Business School in Nairobi, Kenya.

If you need a mind shift on how to approach research, GSERM is the way to go!Tecla Chelagat, Strathmore Business School

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