The study of how businesses use social media to market products and engage with customers is a well-worn path. Atthaphon “Peep” Mumi, the first-ever graduate of the Manning School of Business’ fledgling Ph.D. in entrepreneurship program, wanted to blaze a new trail.

His dissertation, “Social Media and Entrepreneurial Process: An Effectuation Perspective,” examined how entrepreneurs use social media platforms to identify business ideas and opportunities. 
“My study is the first to collect actual data that links social media and individual entrepreneurs,” says Mumi, who surveyed nearly 200 working artists at Lowell’s Western Avenue Studios on how they used social media to spark business opportunities. Mumi also surveyed students taking part in the university’s DifferenceMaker program.

“I found there’s a very significant relationship between social media usage and how the artists come up with opportunities,” says Mumi, who notes that Facebook and Twitter were the most popular platforms used by entrepreneurs.

After successfully defending his dissertation in June, Mumi returned to his native Thailand to continue working as a tenured lecturer in management and entrepreneurship at Mahasarakham University – which sponsored his four years in the Ph.D. program as well as his MBA from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan.

“I definitely feel a sense of pride being the first to earn my Ph.D.” in entrepreneurship, says Mumi, who “definitely” plans to make the 24-hour trip back to Lowell in May 2018 to receive his doctorate at Commencement.

Mumi says he appreciates the personal attention he received from faculty, including his committee co-chairs – Assoc. Prof. Yi Yang and Asst. Prof. Michael Ciuchta – as well as Assoc. Prof. Kim Merriman and Asst. Prof. Michael Obal.

Thanks to their guidance and support, Mumi presented his research at several academic conferences, including the Academy of Management, the Eastern Academy of Management, the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (twice) and the American Accounting Association.

Mumi looks forward to continuing his research in Thailand. “This is just the start. Now I can use my Ph.D. to explore further and contribute knowledge to the field.

“I can apply the knowledge to help startups and small businesses in my country, and help people live better lives.”