Colin Gregor is a PhD student at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. His PhD thesis involves a longitudinal study of a high performance sports team to investigate the process of conflict and its effects on the team. Further research will explore the impact of conflict on performance, the relationship between conflict and cohesion, and how conflict is rationalised within a team dynamic. Colin is former captain of Scotland’s 7 a-side rugby team and the third highest points scorer of all time. He teaches on the Management in a Global Context course.

Completing a PhD and working full time? As easy as translating hieroglyphics is to Professor O’Gorman. Or identifying aeroplanes by their wingspan is to Dr. Maclaren. I’m not so sure. I was certainly sceptical. Especially because my job wasn’t just any job. For the first year of my PhD I was a professional rugby player, representing Scotland on the HSBC Sevens World Series. Without going into too much detail, this involved travelling the world for approximately three months every year, travelling to such destinations as New Zealand, the Gold Coast in Australia, Tokyo, Las Vegas and South Africa. Certainly not the worst job in the world. And it was a huge honour to represent my country playing a sport I love. However it is not the most conducive to any kind of studying, never mind the trials and tribulations of a PhD. When we were not abroad, we were undertaking a rigorous training schedule, working on fitness, skills and tactics five or six days a week. And when you are abroad, you are overcoming jet lag, preparing for competition, or facing 16 stone behemoths who, simply put, are out to get you. Having said that, there is no job I would rather have done. The honour of captaining Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is a highlight I will treasure forever.

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So, over the next few posts, I will identify important facets to effectively undertake a PhD and continue in employment. Unfortunately, in the summer of 2015 I was forced to retire from my rugby career. I am now embarking on a new career, working in sports media, coaching rugby, public speaking and developing leadership programmes. And I am still working on my PhD. To do this requires discipline, time management, self motivation and a great deal of patience and understanding from your supervisors. I’ll go into more detail in each of these in the next few weeks. In addition I will touch on setting a routine, forming good habits and optimising your working day.


Picture by Bradley Davis under CC license.