Sam Appleton

PhD in Entrepreneurship

Postgraduate student Sam Appleton, chose to study an MSc Enterprise at Leeds. Sam intends to focus his studies on ’family business’ - his own family run a personal training and boxing gym.

Sam says his Masters degree helped him apply the practical aspects of the programme to the family business. Coursework included budgeting, forecasting, sales, management. It also provided a solid understanding of the theoretical aspects of entrepreneurship, which Sam found interesting and rewarding.

He has now begun a PhD in Entrepreneurship at the University, inspired by the global reputation of the Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies (CEES) and the support offered by its team of academics and enterprise ambassadors.  He intends to apply knowledge gained from his studies at Leeds to his family-owned business. He has a longer term ambition to head up the expansion of the business alongside his father.

“I really enjoyed the independent research involved in my MSc Enterprise,” he said. “And I’m now looking forward to the longer, more in-depth research period of my PhD. Focusing on entrepreneurship through my Masters was the main inspiration to getting more involved in the family business and it helps enormously that I have such a strong interest in my research area.”

Sam’s PhD research explores the issues in family business growth. He is examining  the positive and negative impacts of combining family and business.

Supported by CEES Sam has been encouraged to access teaching modules and take on teaching responsibilities to supplement his learning and add a practical element to his academic studies. These skills, opportunities and experiences provide a base for postgraduates to leave the programme as excellent researchers who are well rounded and fully equipped for full time employment in academia. 

Sam will now disseminate his academic knowledge and practical experience of family business to current undergraduate and Masters students. He says he’s proud to be a member of the dynamic, growing student enterprise community at Leeds: 

“I have been gaining some great hands-on experience and I’ve found the classroom to be a stimulating environment to develop my research and teaching skills. I’ve also been able to use my own connections in the boxing community to help nurture the students’ learning - I put one group of undergraduates in touch with the White Rose Boxing Club, in Wakefield which was formed nearly 70 years ago. The club experiences genuine challenges, faced by many social enterprises, and the students have been able to use this business as a real-life case study so they can look at innovative ways to help create economic and social value.”