TANJA FATUR ŠIKIĆ

TANJA FATUR ŠIKIĆ

 

- Real Estate Valuation Advisor, Primorsko-goranska County, Department for Physical. Planning, Construction and Environmental Protection

- Winner of a prestigious international award given by EDAMBA for the best doctoral thesis (third place)

 

What was your original motive for enrolling in the doctoral program?

During my studies within the Postgraduate Specialist Study Program in Controlling at the Faculty of Economics and Business in Rijeka, I was intrigued by the research we did.  In preparing my seminar papers and my master's thesis, I learned to conduct research, connect concepts, and think critically, which later allowed me to publish articles in journals. This was great but I had a desire to take that last step in my education, and enrol into a doctoral program. Since I work in Rijeka, it suited me that the study offered is close and that it is tailored to the needs of us who work. Lectures were held on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings. Since knowledge today is growing exponentially, day by day, my doctoral study has allowed me to stay up to date with new knowledge. At the time of my  enrolment, I already had affinities towards certain research topics for my doctorate, but, the final research question (topic) had to be set and approached differently, in which my mentor prof. Đula Borozan helped me immensely, for which I am extremely grateful. An additional motivation for me was working with top experts in the field of energy economics and getting feedback on my research.

You were awarded third prize for your doctoral dissertation in the EDAMBA doctoral thesis competition - How does it feel to be in the company of the best?

The award made me extremely happy because such an award was a great recognition of my work. It included several steps. First, a committee set up by the Faculty of Economics and Business had to choose my doctorate as the best and nominate me for the award, which was already a great honour for me. When the EDAMBA award arrived, where my thesis was placed third among theses from more than 70 universities and 26 countries, the joy was immeasurable. Among other, I was also given the opportunity to present the results of my research at Oxford University, where I was able to exchange opinions and experiences with top scientists and experts from other universities. The most interesting part of this experience, were the questions and discussions on the topic of my work, which gave me new ideas for research and presented an incentive for further perseverance in my work. This award communicates that dedicated work and the desire for progress are recognized and rewarded, and certainly gives strength for further challenges in scientific work. 


How has obtaining a doctorate affected you personally and professionally?

It opened up new possibilities and ways in which I look at things; it contributed to my development of analytical and critical thinking, and conducting of independent scientific research. I have perfected the application of various research methods as well as the presentation of results at professional conferences. It made me a better person. As a winner of a scholarship granted by the Republic of Austria and an Erasmus scholarship, I spent one semester at the Alpen Adria University in Klagenfurt, where I listened to lectures in econometrics and where I worked on my dissertation. I also had the opportunity to perfect my English and German. I believe that my doctorate prepared me for the constant challenges of society and that it helped me stand out among others in both my scientific and personal life. After graduating, I became an external associate at the Faculty of Maritime Studies in Rijeka, and I participated in the preparation of professional justification studies for granting concessions.

 

Now that you have been awarded your doctoral degree, what are your plans for the future career wise?  

My desire is to further develop my career, conduct research, write and present papers at conferences because in this way I can gain new knowledge and advance in my scientific work. I would like to combine science and business practice, to work maybe half time in a scientific research institution, where I could apply my current knowledge, be up to date with new knowledge, transfer acquired knowledge and finally gain new knowledge.


How does it feel to be a woman in the world of science? Is there equality?

The position of women today is much better than it had been for a long time in history, but full equality requires the joint effort of women themselves and their male colleagues and partners. A woman will continue to manoeuvre between work and family more than men do. In order to achieve balance, they need to accept that at certain stages of their lives, they have to give more to the family and less to work and sometimes the other way round. Although I am currently on maternity leave, I was able to attend two conferences and publish an article related to my PhD topic, which required good organization and balancing between writing papers, family and other commitments. It is nice to be among scientists, but it also requires certain sacrifices, continuous learning and work in your free time.

 

What is your message / advice to future doctoral students? Why should they enroll doctoral studies?  

I can tell them that their doctoral studies will give them the opportunity to participate in lectures, research seminars and workshops, but even more, to they will develop themselves as scientists and people.  They will have the possibility to be educated outside their home institution through different student exchange programs. They can conduct research on topics that are of interest to them, and that they will have the support and help from professors and experts who will lead them to the ultimate goal through organized workshops and seminars. Knowledge of scientific methodology is necessary for designing well-organized research. Part of this knowledge will be acquired within the doctoral program, but the mentor will play the key role. You really are not alone in the whole process of obtaining a doctorate, and the key to success in obtaining a doctorate is, among other things, perseverance and an excellent mentor. We all face many obstacles while studying and working, but small steps will lead you to the goal, and there is always a mentor to help you develop your scientific and research work, but also yourself through that work.

 

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