Interview with Dr. Ramesh Vahidi

MSc Project Management Programme Leader
Southampton Business School, University of Southampton, UK

Interviewed by Ömer Berkay Dağlı
Southampton, United Kingdom

Dr. Ramesh Vahidi leads the MSc in Project Management (PM), which she designed upon joining Southampton University in 2012. She holds a PhD in PM from the former School of the Built and Natural Environment at Northumbria University and a dual MSc (Distinction) in International PM from Northumbria University and Chalmers University in Sweden. She gained her original BEng and MEng degrees in Industrial Engineering respectively from Iran University of Science and Technology and Sharif University of Technology. Between her degrees, she worked with a number of major companies in different industries, namely IT and management consulting in power industry, manufacturing and industrial research. She held project manager, project consultant, project auditor and senior analyst positions in a number of programmes/projects. Following an interest in practical and fundamental research on PM theories, she returned to academia in 2006 for her further degrees, which set the ground for her academic career since. Her fully sponsored PhD research on ‘Conceptual framework for trade-off decisions in projects’ was granted one of the first PhD awards of the Major Projects Associations (MPA) in 2010 for its impact on the practice of major projects. She is a fellow of HEI and a full member (MAPM) of the Association for Project Management (APM) and has been a committee member of their Wessex Branch and HEI representative since 2012. She has presented, chaired and reviewed for national and international conferences on project management and technology management. She is involved in research projects for PM professional bodies.

Today, we have a successful and enthusiastic guest who is educating future project managers; Dr. Ramesh Vahidi. She designed and leads
the MSc in Project Management Programme in University of Southampton since 2013.

Ömer Berkay Dağlı (Dağlı): Dear Dr. Vahidi. First of all, thank you very much for accepting the interview request which is also the first experience of mine. Please introduce yourself for PM World Journal readers, and firstly how did you get involved with Project Management?

Dr. Ramesh Vahidi (Vahidi): Thank you for having me and I am glad to be your first interviewee! From the start of my career, I mainly worked on various projects and programmes due to the nature of my initial backgrounds, i.e. Industrial Engineering. And in terms of academic involvement, after working in several companies, I returned to academia for studying project management (PM) with some burning questions, basically around the relations between and relevance of theories and practice. I actually have been finding this field more and more interesting as I proceed!

Dağlı: As the Programme Leader of Project Management MSc Programme, what is your role?

Vahidi:         It involves a wide range of responsibilities in different areas. It basically started with curriculum design (modules and the MSc programme). Thereafter, on a regular basis, it includes making and supporting admission decisions; holding inductions for the new cohort; keeping the programme contents and specifications updated; preparing annual reports; attending and contributing to School’s Postgraduate (PG) Programme Boards; responding to external examiner’s reports; working with admin and quality colleagues to run the programme and ensure its quality; monitoring the cohort’s progress and taking action if required; supporting and responding to various students’ requests; and working with colleagues to keep our library resources updated.

As the main aim of the role is enhancing students’ experience, some important though less tangible aspects of the role are trying to keep students motivated and encouraging them to do their best and preparing them for their future careers. These could take different forms such as creating various opportunities for linking them to the professional world and enhancing their employability as far as possible.

Dağlı:           I know that you designed the program, what was the most challenging and enjoyable thing in this process?

Vahidi:         I generally enjoy doing things from scratch as we do in projects! Now that I look back, doing the comprehensive market study, designing the programme for marketability and embedding contemporary PM approaches into the design were the most enjoyable and interesting parts of the process.

Of course, I could not say that going through the paper work for approval was as enjoyable as the design itself! After all these, the big challenge was waiting to see whether the programme could recruit enough and then could work well in practice or not.

Dağlı:           Could you tell me more about the Programme you lead and the University of Southampton?


To read entire interview, click here


About the Interviewer

Ömer Berkay Dağlı

Southampton Business School
Southampton, United Kingdom


Ömer Berkay Dağlı
is currently a Masters Candidate at Southampton Business School, University of Southampton, based in UK for the academic year 2017-2018. Previously, he has served as an Officer on Watch for over 30 months on board chemical tankers, based in different routes around the world where he served as Third and Second Officer. He completed his graduation in Marine Transportation Management dual diploma with honours from both Istanbul Technical University, Turkey and State University of New York Maritime College, USA in 2014. His major fields of study are project management, logistics and inter-modal transportation. His research interests include global project management, leadership, uncertainty management, programme and portfolio management, strategic PM, PM governance, stakeholders, project control and PM in the transportation and logistics industries. Omer served as a research intern for the PM World Library during January 2018, completing the program in record time. He can be contacted at [email protected]