SETU’s School of Business was delighted to welcome Alina Both of Aarhus University Denmark to the Cork Road Campus this semester as an International PhD Scholar

During her time here, she studied omnichannel marketing and brand stories as part of her PhD studies. Supported by the RIKON research group, and mentored by Dr Órla Hayes and Prof Felicity Kelliher, Alina joined the SETU PhD community in January 2023.

In welcoming Alina to the School, Dr. Patricia Bowe, Head of Department of Management & Organisation highlighted the value of international scholars to the SETU student community: ‘we aim to be a beacon for knowledge, partnerships and ideas – welcoming international scholars like Alina will allow us to achieve that aim‘.

Interviewed by Dr Órla Hayes, Alina offers insight into her experience as an International PhD Scholar.

Researcher Profile

I am a PhD candidate at the School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark. My project broadly involves omnichannel customer experiences as well as brand stories. My most recent presentations have taken place at the Global Brand Conference in Bergamo, Italy, the Nordic Retail and Wholesale Conference in Tampere, Finland, as well as the International Conference on National Brand & Private Label Marketing in Barcelona, Spain.

PhD Research Study

Broadly speaking, my doctoral work is concerned with the ways in which retail brands present themselves and their narratives in an omnichannel context and how they are in turn being perceived and made sense of by consumers. To do so, I am investigating the different brand touchpoints a retail customer might encounter throughout their shopping experience.


I became interested in visiting SETU’s School of Business and the RIKON research group during Prof Felicity Kelliher’s visit to Aarhus University in 2022. Felicity, the SETU Dean of School, Dr Tom O Toole and Head of Department, Dr Patricia Bowe, supported my request to visit Ireland for a Semester as part of my studies. We agreed that I would travel to Waterford from January to May 2023.

The SETU Graduate Studies Office facilitated my visit, and the team provided me with all I needed to embed myself in SETU, including my own desk within the research graduate space in the Cork Road campus library. This allowed me to immerse myself in the SETU research student community.

My SETU experience

Felicity highlighted the value of working with Dr Órla Hayes, a specialist in my research area, as my research liaison. During my time in Ireland, I further developed my methodological- and  data analysis skills with Órla’s help. Since Órla had, under Felicity’s supervision, focused on the subject of omnichannel marketing in her own doctoral study, she was an ideal academic sparring partner and my most crucial contact person for all things SETU.

I have been continuing work on my own PhD project on omnichannel experiences, which involves ethnographic and diary data, as well as interviews. Since Felicity is an experienced qualitative researcher with specific expertise in conducting diary studies, I was able to get some great input and further hone my skills during my time here. Most of all, however, it was Órla who, in her role as research liaison, supported me in my academic work at SETU, guiding my methodological approaches and exchanging knowledge about carrying out omnichannel research.

She helped me connect with a wider variety of scholars at SETU from the day I arrived and introduced me to relevant academic events throughout my stay, such as the Economy & Society Summer School, a collaboration between SETU and University College Cork, which proved to be a highly enriching experience. Finally, I also had the pleasure of guest-lecturing at Waterford and Carlow Campuses during my stay, once again set in motion with the help of Dr. Hayes.

Career Path

I started out with a Bachelor of Arts at Friedrich-Schiller-University in Jena, Germany, where I majored in English language and literature complemented by the study of Intercultural Business Communication. In 2016, I decided to move to Sweden, where I obtained my M.Sc. in Service Management from Lund University. I then decided to follow my partner to Denmark, where I started working with Workshop, the Consumer Experience Agency, first as a Google- and then as a Chromebook Experience Manager for the region of Jutland.

Never having lost an interest in academia, however, I seized the opportunity of applying for a PhD position at Aarhus BSS when I heard of their project concerning retail experiences in an omnichannel context, which provides a great fit with my previous academic- as well as practical background.

You can read about Alina's research and research group below: