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PhD students

Meet our PhD candidates and learn more about their research interests.

Mostafa Ayoobzadeh

Mostafa Ayoobzadeh obtained his M.Sc. in Human Resource Management from the University of Tehran in 2013. In his thesis, he studied the impact of an academic mentoring program on career decision-making of undergraduate students. Before enrolling in the Ph.D. program at the John Molson School of Business in January 2014, he worked for five years with a human resource management consulting group in Iran. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Business Administration, specializing in organizational behavior. His topics of interest are leadership and leadership development, mentoring and coaching, and career development. He is also passionate about the aviation industry. Mostafa actively participates in scholarly events and has presented his research at various conferences including the Academy of Management annual meeting, the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada conference, and the Academy of Human Resource Development conference. Mostafa is the former deputy and current president of the John Molson Doctoral Students Society (JMDSS).


Yasaman Gorji

Yasaman is a PhD candidate in Strategic Management at the John Molson School of Business, Concordia University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and an MBA in Strategic Management from the University of Tehran. Her research interests include Network Theory, Strategic Alliances, International Business and Family Business. She is currently exploring the impact of business and family ties on the performance of individuals in the movie industry. She is also working on a joint research project with a group from Simon Fraser University on the relationship between different characteristics of Network and Aspiration.

Yasaman teaches “Strategy and Competition” to undergraduate students (advanced level- COMM401) at JMSB. She is a member of the Academy of Management (AOM), European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS), International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA) and she is also an associate member of the Montreal Local – Global Research Group (MLGRG). Yasaman has served as the president of John Molson’s Doctoral Students Society (2014-2015) and currently is its Executive officer.  Prior to joining the PhD program, she worked as a Strategic Management consultant in both public and private sectors. She has a registered patent in the Iran Intellectual Property Organization.

Allan Grogan

I am a 4th year doctoral candidate in the Department of Management. My Major research interests include strategic leadership, CEO personality, executive servant leadership, corporate governance, and corporate social responsibility (CSR). This research is a continuation of work from my master’s thesis in finance (also at John Molson) which focused on CEO narcissism involving mergers and acquisitions. Currently, I am using zero-acquaintance methodology to assess leadership styles of CEOs in in large organizations within the United States. I have recently defended my thesis proposal.

Brad Had

I am Brad Had, PhD researcher and proud member of the academic community at Concordia University. I happen to be outrageously good at time management, which is why I decided to focus my research on the theory and practice of time management.

Does time management work? How does it work, and under what circumstances? Is time management a panacea to many of our social ills? Does time management make us happier in life? Are some people more disposed to practice good time management than others? Can time management help us be more creative? Those are the kind of questions that keep me up at night and to which I devote most of my research time.

I like ambient music, plays, museums, hiking, trekking, wilderness camping, books, Southern U.S. cuisine (yes, biscuits and deep-fried chicken on waffles are my favorites), stargazing, and bull sessions.

Anika Laperrière

Anika’s research is grounded in the international entrepreneurship, international business, and innovation literature. Her dissertation work examines the concepts of innovation and internationalisation in small knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS), a relevant topic in Canada’s knowledge-based economy. Her dissertation builds on the following research questions: (1) What are the different innovation strategies of KIBS firms? Do they differ between domestic and internationalised firms? And, (2) Does a firm’s geographic location within a regional industrial cluster influence its propensity to internationalise? Are certain regional industrial clusters more conducive for internationalisation?  Anika is also a research assistant for the Pan-Canadian SSHRC-funded project “Creating Digital Opportunity” housed at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. Through this involvement, her research focusses on the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) by KIBS firms, and its influence on KIBS’ innovation strategies and internationalisation. Since entering the programme in 2013, Anika has published three articles in peer-reviewed journals and presented her work yearly at international conferences. 


Zhixiang (Steven) Liang

Zhixiang (Steven) Liang is PhD student in Strategic Management at the John Molson School of Business, Concordia University. His primary research situated on the intersection of family business, business group, and corporate governance. Build upon theoretical lenses from economic and sociology perspectives, he is currently exploring how business groups facilitate, shape or even manipulate the institutional environment to enhance their own competitive advantages. He is also interested in comparative corporate governance by associating institutional and cultural indicators with governance practice in examining existing divergence between de-jure rules and de-facto implementations.

Steven is a member of the Academy of Management (AOM) and is eligible to present his research at Academy of Management annual meeting. Prior joining the doctoral program, he served multiple positions in finance industry, non-profit organization, and consulting firms in China. He also works as research assistant in offering methodology support to a research project on family business.

Guillaume Pain

Guillaume Pain is a finishing PhD candidate in strategy and sustainability. His doctoral research examines firm-level cognitive maps and environmental performance. More precisely, he is studying schema interaction patterns within and across firms and how they impact corporate environmentalism. His other thesis papers investigate schema evolution over time, and the relationship between disclosed schemas and corporate environmental performance. Guillaume's complementary research interests include strategic environmental partnerships, institutional entrepreneurship and work, and biophysical limits to economic growth. Guillaume has presented his research at meetings of the Academy of Management, the Administrative Science Association of Canada, the Southern Management Association, and the Society for Business Ethics. He has published his work in Business Horizons, Revue Gestion, a Routledge book, and the proceedings of the above mentioned conferences, including the Best Papers Proceedings of the Academy of Management. Guillaume has taught JMSB's Strategy and Competition course to senior undergraduate students. He has been an advisory board member with JMSB's David O'Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise since 2012.

Morteza Sardari

I am a fist year doctoral student in the Department of Management. I graduated in industrial engineering in Iran and within studying and after graduation at masters degree, I participated in several industrial projects conducting at various contexts such as car industry and plastic industry. After taking part in some industrial projects and dealing with different industrialists in various firms, I got interested in managerial subjects and started participating in the projects of a management consulting company and after a while, I got the chance to manage a couple of consulting projects centered on strategic planning and marketing. in the last two years of working in management consulting companies, I developed several market analysis reports for start-up companies who desired to partner with venture capitals in Iran and that was how I got familiar with challenges that entrepreneurs meet and financial matters in start-ups. After starting the Ph.D. program at JMSB, I decided to focus on high-tech entrepreneurship as my main area of research, therefore, I conducted two papers related to network dynamism in high-tech start-ups and how to choose financial partners in these firms. In my research path at the Ph.D. level, I have decided to conduct interdisciplinary research about funding high-tech start-ups for which I can take advantage of the knowledge of the domains of entrepreneurship, strategy, and finance.   

Mahdi Tajeddin

Mahdi’s research interests include international entrepreneurship, system dynamics, corruption arbitrariness and business groups. In the intricate topic of international entrepreneurship, he is seeking how entrepreneurial small firms in African countries overcome their liabilities such as smallness, newness, foreignness and outsidership, in order to internationalize.  For this purpose, his empirical focus is upon African countries and the role of business group affiliation in enabling Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to improve their export performance and to strengthen their international profile. Furthermore, he, as an active member of the Montreal Local-Global Research Group (MLGRG), was involved in a consulting project for Export Development Canada (EDC) on the role of Canadian SMEs in global value chains. He also has authored a book and several papers placed in some peer-reviewed journals and presented at international conferences such as the McGill International Entrepreneurship Conference, AIB, ASAC and EGOS. Mahdi is a research assistant for some projects related to “internationalization and performance of SMEs" and “effectiveness of teaching methods” and also cooperates with the International Business program.

In 2008, Mahdi graduated from the University of Tehran where he earned a M.S in entrepreneurship management. Prior to joining the PhD program, he was involved in several intriguing research projects and learning opportunities in Iran such as teaching entrepreneurship, innovation and small business management courses at the undergraduate level; he provided business plans and entrepreneurial strategies for large organizations by cooperating with private companies. In addition, he worked at Iran Small Industries and Industrial Parks Organization (ISIPO) as head of the Entrepreneurship Department. 

Mahdi has been a professional Kickboxer for years and has won a number of national titles, and he enjoys doing calligraphy as well.

Zheni Wang

I started my career as an auditor in one of the first offices of Arthur Andersen in South China 20 years ago. Then I moved on to become senior HR consultant in Arthur Andersen then in Towers Perrin (now Towers Watson). Soon after immigrated to Canada, I came back to Concordia University to pursue my academic dream.  I have completed my second honoured B.A. in Psychology, M.Sc. in Business Administration, now I am in the process of finishing my PhD dissertation.  My research interests are motivation, leadership, and cross-cultural studies in management/OB.  My purposes of research are to effectively advance OB theories with empirical evidence and link such theoretical advances with daily evidence-based management practices. At the same time, I also would like to be able to carry out my teaching using proper facilitation methods. I believe today’s global businesses need both critical thinkers and responsible doers to sustain, both of which could be supplied by qualified university education.


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