Alice Palmer

Archived Content

This student profile has been archived and is no longer being updated.

Alice Palmer was a participant in the 2017 UBC Three Minute Thesis competition, with her presentation, “Bankrupt or Biofuture? Strategic Change in the Pulp and Paper Industry”.

Pulp and Paper Industry Transformation in the 21st Century: Exploring Evidence of Change
Dr. David Cohen
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I had been toying with the idea of doing a PhD for a long time - over a decade, actually. Finally, the voice in my ear saying "I really want to do this" overwhelmed the voice making excuses not to. Doing a PhD may not actually find me a better job - but if I don't try it, I will never know.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I study the field of forest products business management, and UBC is one of a very small group of universities that have programs that address this. My supervisor, Dr. Dave Cohen, was doing work on forest industry business transformation and I found his big-picture approach intriguing. Furthermore, I was already living and working in Vancouver, so studying at UBC enabled me to continue consulting on a part-time basis.

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

I have been working in the forest industry for 20 years - this has been both a benefit and a curse to me, as I have had to relearn how to communicate like an academic.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

Anything outdoors (as per most forestry students). Also, I play French horn in a couple of community bands.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Find out how your faculty, department, and/or graduate student association communicates (emails, posters, social media etc.) and stay up-to-date! In our faculty (forestry) we get a weekly e-mail of info about events, scholarships, job opportunities, free stuff, and important reminders. Don't miss out!

What does reaching graduation mean to you?

Graduation means a change of focus. Before defending my PhD and making the final revisions to my dissertation, I put all of my energy into just getting done. That was in December. Since then, I have had to find new things to focus on, such as my health (fixed now), family responsibilities, short term job (postdoc?) possibilities, and long-term career goals.

Looking back over the past several years, what will you miss most of your PhD journey?

I will really miss the camaraderie. As grad students, sharing similar joys and struggles, we all supported one another.

You are graduating in a difficult time. What gives you comfort or hope looking into the future?

This is not the first time I have been out of work in a recession. I survived it the last time (2009), and I'll survive it this time. My own experiences with cyclical layoffs have motivated me to study cyclicality as a factor influencing corporate turnaround strategies. It is a topic largely ignored by the extant business management literature, so I hope to make it part of my life's work. I'll get there eventually. One step at a time.


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