Eirini Spiliotopoulou, welcome
You’ve certainly come a long way since your childhood in Greece.Can you tell us a little but about your journey to give us an insight into who is Eirini?
First of all, I would like to thank you for hosting this interview but above all for the critical role that ZLC and its people have played in redefining my career, my aspirations and, in the end, my life as it is now.
I was born and raised in Patras, a beautiful city on the west coast of Greece, but I soon felt the need to move to Athens for my studies. After completing my bachelor and MBA at Athens University of Economics and Business, I started gaining work experience, both in the private and public sectors, holding various positions as an operations and financial expert. At the same time, I was actively involved in voluntary activities related to immigration and Human Rights. I organized training workshops, awareness seminars and summer camps through a local NGO.
What drove you to leave your job as Financial Expert in the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority and come to Spain to take the MIT Zaragoza PhD in Logistics and SCM?
After working for a few years at the Ministry of Transport, I felt the need not only to go back to school to develop new skills, but also to experience studying abroad. The MIT Zaragoza PhD program seemed the perfect choice with outstanding academic standards and international environment right in the heart of Spain.
You have made some interesting career choices to date – Post-doctoral Researcher at EBS Universität für Wirtschaft und Recht in Germany and Assistant Professor at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Holland. Can you describe the transition from PhD to real life?
This longed-for transition has actually been quite smooth. I´m still working on research topics that interest me, mainly concerning behavioral operations, factors that may influence how humans make decisions in supply chain settings, and on procurement mechanisms within global health. Of course my teaching hours have increased, which I also enjoy.
What now, career-wise?
I am planning to settle in Amsterdam and VU university, developing new research lines with my current co-authors (in Spain, Germany and USA) and the colleagues here, plus new courses for our masters program. I believe my future is in academia.
What advice or thoughts do you have for those pondering a PhD?
Getting a PhD is a long and challenging journey, full of uncertainty, but it is definitely rewarding. No matter if you plan for an academic career or not, doing a PhD changes your way of thinking and reasoning.