Loughborough Alumni

Our alumni

David McConville

Assistant Professor: National Sun Yat-sen University

David graduated in 2012 with a PhD from the Business School. He has since developed a career in academia and currently works as an Assistant Professor at a University in Taiwan. David has established an official alumni group in Taiwan which provides Loughborough graduates with the opportunity to reconnect.

Why did you choose to study at Loughborough University?

I decided to study a Ph.D. (in organizational psychology) at Loughborough University in 2008. Prior to that, I was working as a researcher in industry. I was very interested in returning to University to study at a higher level and build my skills as a researcher. The School of Business and Economics had advertised a Ph.D. studentship, funded by industry. I was aware that Loughborough was academically strong - but I knew very little about Loughborough and had never visited the campus before.

After submitting my application, I was invited to attend an interview with Professor John Arnold and Alison Smith (who later became my Ph.D. advisors) and the CEO of the funding organization. When I entered the campus to attend the interview, it became very clear, very quickly, that Loughborough was exactly where I wanted to be. The location was a perfect match for me – away from busy cities, surrounded by beautiful countryside, a relaxing environment, with excellent facilities.

Fortunately, I was selected and offered the chance to study at Loughborough. Going to Loughborough was one of the best decisions of my life.

How has Loughborough University inspired you and helped you to progress in your career?

I learnt a lot more than I imagined I would while at Loughborough. Professor John Arnold and Alison Smith really were the best advisors I ever could have wished for. The Business School has a great research culture, with many very established academics in their fields of study – the Ph.D. program and research training was outstanding.

After graduating I pursued an academic career, and have continued to work with my advisors on research. We have since published several academic journal papers together. My experience at Loughborough helped me make sense of what I wanted in life and how I could move forward to achieve it. The academic advice and guidance I received from John and Alison was priceless – and I am still very grateful for the opportunity they gave me to study and learn under their supervision.

I changed a lot at Loughborough, in how I think and the way I view the world. I think a good Ph.D. program at a good University, with good advisors, can have a life changing impact.  

Can you tell us more about the company/organisation you are currently working for?

After working in the UK for a few years at a UK University, I moved to Taiwan to work. I am currently an Assistant Professor at a University in Taiwan. Most of my research and teaching relates to work psychology and human resource management. Life is quite different for me now.

Can you tell us about your career journey so far?

I graduated from Loughborough in 2012. Since then I have built the beginnings of an academic career, continuing to learn more about research.

As an academic, both research and teaching are important parts of what I do in my job. I was fortunate to gain some teaching experience while at Loughborough (teaching Organizational Behaviour) during my Ph.D. study. I have since achieved a PGCLTHE teaching qualification and become a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy.

I continue to learn more about research and develop my research interests in work psychology. Teaching is a tough part of the job, and I am trying to improve all the time – reflecting back on some of the advice I received while at Loughborough as a student.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

Without doubt, it was publishing a research paper (with my Ph.D. advisors) in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. I worked very hard on that paper, and it was the result of a lot of learning. My advisors passed a lot of knowledge to me about the academic publishing process and the characteristics of a good research paper. I was very proud to publish that paper.

What inspired you to create a new alumni group in Taiwan?

Several motivations led me to contact the alumni office at Loughborough. I think there are many potential benefits of having an alumni group. In addition to allowing people to reconnect with people they knew at Loughborough, it is also a great opportunity to network, make new friends and reminisce about life at Loughborough. Loughborough provided me with a life changing experience (as dramatic as that sounds, it is true), so it is great to maintain some contact and connection with the University.

The alumni group can also help by promoting the University and sharing stories and information with people who have not heard of Loughborough before, or with prospective students who are considering Loughborough as a destination to study.

What do you enjoy the most about being involved in the alumni group?

The Taiwan group is still quite new, but already around 60 people have joined our ‘LINE’ group (a popular Taiwan communication app). We have had a small meetup in Taipei already, and hope to have more. So far, it has been encouraging to see so many people join and show an interest in the alumni group.

What does the future hold for the Taiwan alumni group?

In the future I imagine there will be some social meetings and networking opportunities. It will take time to build the group and establish some regular meetings or events, but hopefully it will become a useful source of conversation and social activity for members (and maybe a place to practice English after leaving the UK). Maybe one day in the future we will arrange some competitions against a Leicester alumni group in Taiwan!

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