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(From left) Pin-te Lin, Sebastian Wende, Aditi Shams, Isaac Pan, Carys Chan

Carys Chan shines in CBE Three Minute Thesis

18 August 2016

If you were to bump into a philanthropist, a politician or a celebrity at an event and had just three minutes to explain the research you are working on and make a lasting impression, could you do it?

This is the challenge presented to PhD students who compete in the Three Minute Thesis, an annual competition for students who are undertaking Higher Degree Research programs.

Last week, five PhD students from the ANU College of Business and Economics took part in the College heat, competing for a spot in the ANU Three Minute Thesis grand final on 14 September. Each of the students presented a compelling case that highlighted the main aims and ideas of their research work.

Carys Chan of the Research School of Management was selected by the Three Minute Thesis judges Professor Shirley Leitch, Professor Neil Fargher, Associate Professor Maria Racionero and CBE Advisory Board member Ms Jenny Wilkinson to be the overall winner of the CBE Three Minute Thesis, and will go through to the ANU finals.

In her speech, Carys explained how her research into workplace behaviours and the dynamics between managers and employees showed that often negative emotions in the workplace can spread like the flu, but the transmission of negativity is also dependent on the individual personalities and quality of workplace relationships.

According to her research, employees who have a stable, calm disposition and don’t mind confrontations not only are unaffected by negative emotions of their managers, but they actually become more proactive at work when they encounter this type of behaviour.

Reflecting on why she decided to enter the competition, Carys says: “I wanted to get out of my comfort zone to share about my research in an engaging way, as opposed to the usual serious research seminars/presentations that I do as a PhD student.”

Carys found the process of summarising her research and explaining it in simple language was challenging, but worthwhile.

“Fortunately, I had the opportunity to bounce ideas off my fellow RSM PhD/MPhil friends, one of whom helped me to coin the term "emotional flu". I also had a lot of guidance from my PhD supervisor Associate Professor Thomas Kalliath, who encouraged me to personalise my 3MT speech,” she said.

Her fellow competitors also rose to the challenge of summarising their research.

Aditi Shams of the Research School of Accounting spoke passionately about the lack of female participation in the workforce in her homeland of Bangladesh, and the factors that hinder female participation in senior roles.

Pin-te Lin of the Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies and Statistics discussed the housing market wars in his homeland of Taiwan, comparing the actions of housing investors to those who excel at Monopoly, “building their fortunes on your misfortune”.

In his entertaining presentation on comparative tax analysis, Sebastian Wende of the Research School of Economics explained that the research he is carrying out investigates the notion that taxes create distortions and change behaviours.

Isaac Pan of the Research School of Economics discussed the 50,000 bankruptcy cases resulting from the Global Financial Crisis, and how the firms that have managed to restructure and survive have embraced traditional insolvency procedures rather than pre-packaged insolvency.

MC for the event, Dr Tim Higgins applauded the courage of each of the participants, noting that even seasoned lecturers sometimes find it daunting to get up and speak in front of a large audience.

In thanking the students who competed in the Three Minute Thesis, he said “the standard of competition this year was extremely high, and all contestants did a fantastic job and are a credit to CBE.”

Pin-te Lin and Carys Chan were both awarded the People’s Choice prizes, as voted by the audience. Sebastian Wende and Pin-te will present their research at the ANU Open Day showcase round of Three Minute Thesis, and Carys Chan will compete in the ANU Finals on 14 September.

Updated:   2 March 2017 / Responsible Officer:  Dean, Business & Economics / Page Contact:  College Web Team