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The enriching PhD pathway

Support from Deakin Law School academics has been a highlight of Akanksha Jumde’s PhD study.

The road to completing a PhD is often a long and winding one, but when it’s impacted by once-in-a-century pandemic, it comes with a whole new set of challenges.

Akanksha Jumde was in the final months of her PhD with Deakin Law School (DLS) when the ongoing implications of COVID-19 meant she had to leave Australia suddenly and return to her family in India.  

Despite the disruption and uncertainty of 2020, Akanksha has now successfully completed her PhD and says it was the support of Deakin’s academic staff that enabled her academic journey to be both enjoyable and enriching.

‘I am very grateful to my principal supervisor Professor Jean du Plessis and my associate supervisor  Dr Fara Azmat. Prof. du Plessis was a wonderful mentor throughout my journey, and I am particularly thankful to him for allowing me to complete my thesis from my home country during the pandemic as this allowed me to work without any mental stress regarding the health and welfare of my family. Dr Azmat also guided me on the methodology for my thesis and provided new insight and perspective … the support of both supervisors was instrumental in allowing me to finish my PhD on time.’

She is also grateful for the ‘unwavering support’ of  Dr Shiri Krebs who ensured smooth supervision transition and provided valuable guidance in legal research methods.

Akanksha’s academic and law career began with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in law before working for several years as an intellectual property rights lawyer.

She then moved into her career goal of teaching, taking up appointments at the National Law University, Jodhpur, the University of Delhi, and the Institute of Rural Management, India.

Wanting to expand her qualifications and career pathway with a PhD, Akanksha says she chose Deakin because of DLS’s world-class reputation in corporate law and corporate governance research.

‘Deakin also provided excellent scholarships for overseas candidates and a business and law faculty with qualifications and experience from some of the world’s best universities,’ she adds.

Supported by a Deakin University Postgraduate Research Scholarship, Akanksha’s PhD focuses on the legal frameworks of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in India.

Throughout her studies, she successfully contributed papers to high-ranked law journals, published book chapters, presented widely at conferences across Australia and abroad, and recently, has been invited to review papers for world-renowned journals such as the Statute Law ReviewThe Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice and The Journal of World Intellectual Property.

While studying at Deakin, she also had the opportunity to build on her teaching experience by working as a sessional lecturer in the Faculty of Business and Law’s undergraduate courses. 

‘This experience helped to develop my teaching skills and gain knowledge about Australian corporate and commercial law,’ she says.

With her PhD now complete – alongside a nomination for the Alfred Deakin Best Doctoral Thesis Medal – Akanksha has accepted a recent Post-Doctoral Fellow appointment at the National University of Singapore where she will be working on a new research area around the role of corporate responses to the COVID-19 crisis.

She credits Deakin as being pivotal to her academic and professional success.

‘Studying at DLS helped me develop a strong interest in empirical legal research – particularly in the areas relating to corporate law and governance in India, and more broadly in the Asian region. Deakin provided me with a well-rounded professional experience –both in the areas of research and teaching – which has enabled my academic career to grow in leaps and bounds,’ she says. 

Preparing for her new role in Singapore, Akanksha says she’s looking forward to the opportunity of applying and enhancing her Deakin research skills and training.

‘Within the innovative research area of corporate law in various Asian jurisdictions, I will be working on facilitating companies’ responses to the COVID-19 crisis and promoting stakeholder centrism in a public health crisis through their CSR activities,’ she explains.

In the long-term, she hopes to further use her skills to contribute to the growth of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research in India. 

‘I’m interested in playing a role in my country’s government-administered research think-tanks and contributing to legal and policy-based reform by providing recommendations for further legal development of the existing laws in my country.’

More information on the PhD program in the Faculty of Business and Law can be found here