Dr Yi Li

Dr Yi Li

PhD 2015

Dr Yi Li is a Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of International Business at the University of Sydney Business School. Yi received his Bachelor Degree with Honours from the University of International Business and Economics in China and his PhD in International Business from CBE. 

Before joining the University of Sydney in 2017, Yi worked as an International Research Fellow in the prestigious China Europe International Business School. His research interests include internationalisation of firms in emerging economies, institutional approaches to business strategy, and dynamic evolution of control in international joint ventures. 

Yi’s work has been published in Organization StudiesRegional StudiesGlobal Strategy JournalInternational Business ReviewManagement International ReviewJournal of Business ResearchTechnovation and Asia Pacific Journal of Management. He was awarded University of Sydney Business School’s Early Career Researcher Award in 2019, and a number of national competitive research grants including the National Natural Science Foundation of China Grant. Yi currently serves as Deputy Director in the Emerging Markets Research Group, Deputy Editor for Communication for Journal of International Management, Editorial Review Board Member of Asia Pacific Journal of Management, and Associate Editor of Chinese Management Studies.

Here are Yi’s responses to some questions that may interest you.

How do you discover new research ideas and develop your research network?

Generally, my research ideas come from my readings of literature and latest industry developments across disciplines and my discussions with other researchers. Among all of these sources, an understanding of the latest literature is especially beneficial because it helps me differentiate the meaningful ideas from other sparks in my mind. My research networks were largely formed through two channels during and beyond my PhD. The first involved building upon my supervisors’ collaboration networks by contributing to their research projects. Through the second, I shared ideas and developed projects with the new research collaborators I meet at top international conferences. My advice for new researchers is to develop a knowledge base and capability that is distinctive from potential collaborators in your discipline. This allows people to easily see the value you can add to a new research project.

What are your tips for successful publications in your discipline?

Based on my experience, there is no shortcut to successful publications. I am always the last person to leave the office, even nowadays, and my life is occupied by research projects at various stages. I believe my hard working attitude sends a positive message to my collaborators so that all of us will be willing to contribute more to our research projects in order to get high quality publications.

Reflecting on your time as a PhD student, what were the three biggest challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

Finishing my first draft.

I was a new PhD student when I drafted my first paper, and my inexperience writing academic pieces showed, with me having to rewrite the content several times. This was a very frustrating process, which was made harder by not understanding my supervisor’s expectations around the paper. This experience taught me the importance of seeking guidance from my supervisors and peers around research question and hypothesis development, scientific reasoning and writing skills. While it is normal to go through several rounds of revisions or even rejections in a research publication process, it is good to remember the experience of drafting my first paper and having to continue to revise it after four rejections by different journals. 

Having research discussions with my supervisors.

As a PhD candidate, my knowledge base and literature synthesis capability were much more limited than that of my supervisor. This meant that much of my work during my first year as a PhD student fell below my supervisor’s expectations. To improve, I asked for detailed suggestions about what I produced. Their supportive guidance not only saved me a lot time, it allowed me to systematically learn and integrate new international business knowledge into my thesis.  Seeking advice from supervisors and working hard prior to prepare for meetings with them are the two key lessons I learned in facing this challenge.

Dealing with the feeling of loneliness.

This is a typical issue facing all of us in our PhD journeys. As a researcher, I had to isolate myself from most social activities so I had enough time to finish my manuscripts. While hard, developing a self-supported working style was important for me before becoming an academic, where I often work on my own.