Fahian Huq

Country of origin: Bangladesh

Assistant Professor, Manchester University Business School

Before commencing my doctoral research at Lancaster University Management School, I had completed an MSc in Supply Chain and Operations Management at Nottingham University Business School. Prior to that I had experience of working in the service and manufacturing sectors in Bangladesh – I was the co-founder and past CEO of Everbest, the pioneering ladder manufacturing company in Bangladesh and Talents-in-Tandem, a business process outsourcing services solutions provider.

During my MSc I realised that I have a passion for research, and I wanted to take this desire further by pursuing a PhD in Management Science. In 2011, I started my PhD journey after being awarded the LUMS Doctoral Studentship. I strongly believe that through my PhD training I was able to develop the right mix of abilities needed for a career in academia.

First, I have to thank both of my supervisors – Professor Mark Stevenson and Dr Marta Zorzini. They kept me going when times were tough, asked insightful (and sometimes ‘difficult’) questions, offered invaluable advice and allowed me the space and freedom I needed to work. As a result of their dedication to both my personal and academic development, I was able to complete my PhD by publication within 3.5 years. In the process, I was able to publish two papers from my PhD in the highly ranked International Journal of Operations and Production Management, in addition to three conference papers.

I am sure that one of the reasons I was able to secure a job as a Lecturer in Operations and Supply Chain Management at Manchester Business School, was by demonstrating this trajectory of publication ability. LUMS also helped me to develop a whole portfolio of skills, for instance, through completing the Supporting Learning Programme I received recognition as an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and attained the Staff and Educational Development Association Supporting Learning Award. Also, as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, I had the opportunity to undertake a wide range of responsibilities, including leading tutorials, grading assignments, developing coursework and delivering guest lectures, which further developed my teaching skills.

Finally, the support I received from the administration team within the Management Science Department was exceptional, as they always went out of their way to make my PhD experience smooth.

My doctoral research focused on the implementation of socially sustainable practices in the apparel supply chain. During my PhD the Rana Plaza collapsed in Bangladesh, killing approximately 1200 apparel industry workers – which ‘fortunately’ and ‘unfortunately’ became the focus of the final part of my study. As I am from Bangladesh, it greatly saddened me to witness that disaster in an industry that forms a vital organ within our economy, and that is why the completion of my PhD has been a very personal journey for me. It gave me a chance to study something that is not only academically interesting and practically important, but also something that will have ramifications for society for a very long time.

I hope my study is able to raise awareness and to create conversations amongst academics, practitioners and the general public on social sustainability issues in global supply chains. Currently, my research interests lie in the areas of sustainable supply chain management, risk in supply chains, supply chain configuration and innovative management practices in emerging economies.