University of Edinburgh Business School
First CAS Scholar Shares PhD Experience
October 10, 2018

The inaugural recipient of the CAS scholarship, Yi Ling Ong, read for a PhD in Accounting at the University of Edinburgh Business School from 2015 to 2018. Having successfully defended her thesis in August 2018, she is now a Teaching Fellow at King’s Business School, King’s College London. Here, Yi Ling reflects upon her PhD journey at CAS.

I started my PhD at the Centre for Accounting and Society (CAS) in September 2015, drawn to its vibrant, interdisciplinary community. With research ranging from the accounting profession’s entanglement in World War II to the role of visual reports in contemporary large-scale infrastructure projects, CAS seemed like the perfect place for exploring accounting beyond its technical edifice. Three years down the road, I can wholeheartedly say that it is everything I could have ever hoped for—and more.

Being in a research environment as diverse and dynamic as CAS has shaped my PhD thesis in exciting and unexpected ways. Instead of a traditional monograph, my thesis consists of three studies on accounting and television. My initial interest in the enrolment of auditors in popular television voting programmes in the UK has led to two studies. The first study centres on the mobilisation of audit firm Deloitte by broadcaster ITV during a string of high-profile premium-rate phone-in scandals in 2007, while the second turns to the long-lasting consequences of this audit-based response through a field study of the “audit” of the 2017 National Television Awards. A stint as research assistant on a School-wide project examining strategic change at Scottish broadcaster STV led to an opportunity for a third study on digital audience measurement practices and its role in shaping television viewing behaviour.

While the trials and tribulations of research can be especially trying for a novice such as myself, I have had mostly happy memories of this process, not least because of the fantastic support from the CAS faculty. My supervisors Professor Ingrid Jeacle and Professor Stephen Walker gave me the space and freedom to explore accounting at its periphery while also helping to instil a degree of academic rigour in my work. Professor Chris Carter from the STV project was in many ways an unofficial third supervisor, patiently guiding me through the intricacies of the UK television industry. The Business School itself facilitates further opportunities for PhD students to benefit from the diverse faculty expertise on offer through the annual review presentations and informal discussions at the communal coffee room.

A highlight of my PhD journey is undoubtedly attending the 2017 National Television Awards at the O2 Arena in London—all in the name of research! Not quite so glamorous but altogether more humbling is meeting the stars and starlets of the accounting academy at various conferences and seminars. None of this would have been possible if not for the generous financial support from CAS and the School. I am incredibly grateful to have called CAS and the wonderful city of Edinburgh home for the past three years; the community here will always have a special place in my heart.

Thank you to Dr Yi Ling Ong for sharing her experiences. If you are interested in applying for a PhD at the Business School or wish to explore our scholarship opportunities please visit the Business School website.