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"I received a tremendous amount of support and rigorous training."
"I received a tremendous amount of support and rigorous training."

PhD Success Story: Jill Perry-Smith


While the importance of creativity to business is widely recognized, many organizational processes actually stifle it, says Jill Perry-Smith, PhD 2002. Much of her research has focused on how companies can create environments that are conducive to creativity.

For Perry-Smith, Georgia Tech was a highly favorable environment for transitioning her career into academia. "It was a wonderful experience for me," says the associate professor of organization and management at Emory University.

I received a tremendous amount of support and rigorous training.– Jill Perry-Smith

"Tech's organizational behavior faculty is strongly committed to developing doctoral students and helping them do well. It well prepared me to obtain an assistant professor position upon graduation."

Perry-Smith began her career in civil engineering after earning her bachelor's degree from Syracuse University in 1989. During six years working for Exxon, overseeing large refinery projects across the United States, she earned her MBA part-time from Pepperdine University.

Her MBA classes on organizational behavior intrigued her, motivating her to pursue her PhD. "My experience working in a large corporation led to organizational questions that puzzled me and situations I wanted to understand," she says.

Perry-Smith says she was drawn to Georgia Tech for her doctoral studies by the high quality of the faculty. "I was impressed by the research they were doing and the strong mentoring relationships they seemed to have with doctoral students," she says.

She's glad her professional proximity to Georgia Tech facilitates her continued ties with the school. She regularly collaborates on creativity research with her former advisor Christina Shalley, professor of organizational behavior, while Georgia Tech PhD students regularly sit in on her seminars at Emory.

Perry-Smith has published studies in such prestigious journals as the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. In addition to creativity in the workplace, she also focuses her research on the impact of work-life initiatives on firm and individual performance.

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