School of Business and Law

Inspiring journeys to work

Laura Maechling

Business student lands PhD prize

A former University of Brighton student has won a PhD-level prize for her paper on how artists can be canny business people in the digital age.

Laura Maechling studied a double degree in International Business with a major in Entrepreneurship and BSc International Business Management in her one-year foreign exchange from the Ecole Superieure de Commerce school in Paris.

Laura Maechling

Laura Maechling, winner of the Best PhD Paper and Presentation award at the European Conference for Social Media


She beat competition from PhD students to land the Best PhD Paper and Presentation award at the European Conference for Social Media.

Her winning paper, entitled Creation and Crowdfunding: The Marketing of Arts received a first-class honours from the University of Brighton. Laura cut it down by 5,000 words before presenting it in the PhD Colloquium sub-section of the conference.

Laura’s essay uses the Theory of Reasoned Action marketing strategy to outline how artists can promote themselves in a world of booming e-commerce and crowdfunding.

She said: “There were only two of us doing MA presentations among all the rest doing PhD presentations. I was competing with people who had been working on their projects for two, three years, so it was great to win.”

Laura was attracted to the University of Brighton because of the reputation of its Business School. When it came to choosing a destination for her one-year exchange, Brighton was an ideal candidate.

She said: “I really wanted to study in the UK and I heard Brighton was a really nice city. I had heard that the programme and the business school were really fitting for what I wanted to do – I had specialised in entrepreneurship and there was a great entrepreneurship course at the University. I picked Brighton and fell in love with the city. Everyone was really nice.”

Laura singled out her tutor Andrea Benn, Principal Lecturer in the Brighton Business School, for special praise. “She helped me so much with everything.”

It was Andrea who suggested Laura deliver practical advice to artists in her paper rather than merely highlighting “problems without any answers”. Laura tied together her interest in the arts and marketing in her study – with a little help from the Theory of Reasoned Action.

She said: “I found that (the TRA) was quite fitting to my topic. I started researching how artists could use it. It is one of the earliest marketing strategies – it can benefit every situation. It gives advice on how you can word things on social media, for instance, or how you can effectively network.

“Artists aren’t supposed to be anything other than artists. The most famous ones have PR people and agents, but if you’re just starting to make art in your own room you don’t have that kind of help.”

Laura is currently working in a Sales Representative role for an IT company in London and said she was undecided about whether she would carry on her work to PhD level. She added, however, that she would be thrilled to return to the University of Brighton if she was to return to academia.

“I never thought about doing a PhD but now that I’ve been told it’s an option, why not? Maybe the University could take me back!”

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Clare Prust • July 12, 2018

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