For more information about Royal Holloway, please see this promotional video. To see a promotional video for the MA Consumption, Markets & Culture see here. To see a promotional video for the Royal Holloway School of Management, click here.

For more information about the Royal Holloway MA Marketing and MA Consumption, Culture & Marketing and the application process see here.

To get an understanding of the unique values that underly the MA Marketing and MA Consumption, Culture & Marketing programme please read these blog posts: Value of Scholarly Values, Importance of Reading and Morris Holbrook and Business Interest in Education.

Friday, 10 February 2012

A Student Describes Her Dissertation - Christina Demertsidou

My Quest for Perfection – MA DISSERTATION by Christina Demertsidou

As a student I used to belong to the category of perfectionists. Defining whether that was good or bad or even both is a long story. In short I would state that perfectionism along with my passion for Marketing; lead to the fulfilment of the prime aim I set before applying for a Masters degree. My aim was a distinction. It’s been a year since graduation and I can admit that had I not held myself to a high standard at the very beginning, I wouldn’t have been so enthusiastic about my degree. I didn’t study Marketing in order to later just add it to my CV. I studied Marketing to make me a better person as it helps me balance the obsessive part of my personality. A brand, an advert, and/or a slogan do not have to be perfect in order to be considered successful. A well known example Google is a misspelling and yet “this was good, because was available and was not.” My point is, each time my quest for perfectionism goes gaga, I ask to myself ‘does it really matter?’

Sharing the enthusiasm of writing my dissertation is one such gaga topic. I want to write about each and every piece as I loved my dissertation from the very veryyyy beginning; long before I held the final printed copy in my hands. Me being gaga, I had chosen the topic for my master’s dissertation during my undergraduate degree. Oh yeah! From the very first moment I discvoered service encounter theory I became addicted. Believe it or not, I had to study for other exams but yet I couldn’t just stop reading the various journals I got for the Services Marketing unit. I had exams to worry about and yet I was actually enjoying reading extensive academic literature on intercultural service encounter theory. A year later, during my first day at the Services Marketing seminar of my master’s degree I knew who my dissertation supervisor would be. My tutor was as enthusiastic about the unit as I was and so I knew that that would have been a ‘golden match’. Unfortunately though later I came to know that due to the Work Load Model my tutor was already at the limit of his allowance and therefore wouldn’t be supervising. Obviously I was disappointed; nevertheless I had two names in my ‘prospective supervisor’ list and I liked the second tutor equally. After our first meeting, I knew she was my rightful supervisor. She found my topic interesting and she provided me with helpful and constructive advice during the formulation of the research idea as well as during the actual development of the dissertation.

The title of my dissertation was “An investigation of customers’ dissatisfaction arising from intercultural face-to-face service encounters: A Case Study on SUBWAY®”. I sought to investigate international students’ experience of intercultural service encounters in order to identify ways of maximising customer satisfaction. The rationale for focusing on international students was based on my personal experiences and a five year observation of intercultural service failures that arise mainly through accent barriers and the fact that there are international students who are not familiar with the terminology (i.e. footlong and6-inch) and the service process at SUBWAY®. Through personal experience I know that international students feel sometimes embarrassed when their accent is not understood by service employees and that often ultimately leads to dissatisfaction with a service.  Moreover, SUBWAY® belongs to the high-contact services since for its service, process communication skills are particularly important for an effective service delivery. SUBWAY®’s service employees follow a standardised service process by processing customers’ instructions, and therefore any difficulties (such as cultural barriers) that might arise in processing customers instruction might lead to service failure and customers’ dissatisfaction. Such difficulties were the focal point of my dissertation and as a result based on the research findings, I developed a new theoretical framework. The Spectacles of Intercultural Service Encounters’, which illustrates key findings of the study and I honestly believe that my dissertation has provided valuable insights into the intercultural service encounter theory.

Last but not least, besides of being a perfectionist I also like being creative so here goes a prose I want to share with you:

An MA Graduate
I feel so proud and happy for this exceptional accomplishment. The distinction I’m awarded is more than just a recognition of all the effort and time I put into my degree. “You get out of it what you put into it”... I put my heart and soul into this degree and so this award is for ME and I justly deserved IT.
The journey to this began somehow like this...
One day 7 years ago, my parents gave me wings and opened the gates for me to fly and explore the world of wisdom... Soon after that, my English tutor planted the seed of enthusiasm into my heart that blossomed into the hard working and determined self I am since then. So I left for England with wings and a whole lot of enthusiasm. However, that was not the end of the recipe as one should always remember and not miss out another important piece... That piece was my best friend. Without his support and motivation I do not know if I would have achieved this distinction. Therefore, through my experience I can conclude that the recipe for academic success consists of four key parts: family, tutors, determined self and good friends.
As you can see the recipe is simple... Go for it and trust me at the end of your journey success is guaranteed. But remember, not all parents give wings, not all tutors plan seeds, not all friends are supportive and not all are determined selves. You should be innovative and should adjust the recipe accordingly. A well written recipe simplifies the process; however your personal strategy is the one that will lead you closer to success. 
I am an MA Graduate and I take pride in it.


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  6. Is it true that when we most need advice we are least willing to listen to it? Or is good advice always welcome? Plan your response, and then write an essay...

  7. Thank you for providing the helping tips for writing a dissertation. They are useful.