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Department of Management takes 2017 BARC shield

Wednesday, 26 July 2017 10:10am

2017 Academic Interdepartmental Shield winner Dr Brian Spisak of the Department of Management.

The winner of the Business School’s fourth annual staff Three-Minute Thesis style competition confesses he would rather present a 50-minute lecture to 3000 people than a three-minute talk to just 50 people.

Despite this, Dr Brian Spisak was able to beat speakers from four of the School’s other five departments and claim the Academic Interdepartmental Shield for the Department of Management.

The competition is held at the Business Annual Research Conference (BARC) – an event which ties in to the heats of the University-wide postgraduate Three Minute Thesis (3MT) heats.

Business School Marketing and Communications Coordinator Stephen Gedddes says the conference aims to allow the sharing of research across the Business School in a way that non-experts can enjoy.

Dr Spisak’s topic was “The evolution of human behaviour”. In it he discussed the number range – 1 to 3.2 million – the range our species formally organises work – from one single entrepreneur to the world’s largest employer with 3.2 million employees.

Dr Spisak’s research blends social and organisational psychology with the study of biological and cultural evolution. He investigates how and why humans have developed leadership in large-scale social networks and how this information can be applied to make modern organisations more effective.

"I made sure to practise for two minutes 30 seconds, knowing that I would embellish and pause to emphasise key points."

He timed his talk to perfection – finishing with two seconds to spare.

“I made sure to practise for two minutes 30 seconds, knowing that I would embellish and pause to emphasise key points. That way I could take better control of time management. I guess all of the public speaking and acting papers I took as an undergraduate are paying off.”

Mr Geddes says that in the four years the staff competition has been running, no department has yet managed to defend its title. Last year’s winner was Professor James Higham of Tourism, Professor Michael Winikoff of Information Science won in 2015 and now retired Professor John Knight of Marketing won the inaugural competition in 2014.

The winner of the postgraduate 3MT was Adeel Akmal, also of the Department of Management, whose topic was “Reducing unnecessary suffering through healthcare design using lean thinking”.

The first and second runners up, Nicola Beatson and Sebastian Gehricke were both from the Department of Accountancy and Finance.

3MT heats held across the University

Postgraduates from across the University’s Divisions and campuses have taken up the challenge to present their research in just 180 seconds – in the heats of the annual Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition run over the past week-and-a-half.

The heats began last Monday with the Division of Sciences, and ended yesterday at the University’s Christchurch Campus.

The winners will go on to the University-wide 3MT finals, to be held at 5pm next Friday (4 August) in the Castle 2 Lecture Theatre.