Jacky Mueller, PhD Researcher

Jacqueline Mueller, from Germany, is studying for her PhD under our Institute for Sport Business. She has recently graduated from Loughborough University London with an MSc in Sport Business Innovation. Prior to her studies at London, Jacqueline graduated with a BSc in Sport and Event Management from Business Information and Technology School (BiTS), Germany.

What country are you from?


Under which institute are you studying your PhD?

Institute for Sport Business.

What is the full title of your PhD?

Implicit Leadership – A phenomenographic study within a sporting context

Please give a brief synopsis of what you are researching and why.

I will be researching implicit leadership theories (ILT) to establish to which extent lay theories are idiosyncratic or if there is a possibility to group them in meaningful categories. The purpose is to introduce a new approach to understand leadership in a sporting context and enhance leadership as well as followership training in the future. This is a new approach since ILTs have not been researched in a sporting context.

Who are your academic supervisors?

Main Supervisor: Professor James Skinner

Co Supervisor: Dr Steve Swanson

External Supervisor: Professor Jon Billsberry, Deakin University, Australia

Why did you choose Loughborough University London to undertake your PhD?

Ranking – Sport University of the Year

Location – London

PhD Studentship


Tell us about your academic background.

MSc Sport Business and Innovation, Loughborough University London

BSc Sport and Event Management, BiTS Iserlohn, Germany

Semester Abroad: San Diego State University, America

What attracted you to your chosen research field?

I always have been interested in sport management. During my Masters here at Loughborough University London I became more attracted to Leadership Studies and gained an inside into principles and theories around the subject and their application to a sporting context in my first module. A second module then introduced the social construction side to leadership, which totally fascinated me. The visiting Professor, Jon Billsberry, then pitched the idea of conducting a PhD studying ILTs to me and I was really eager to pursue this opportunity

If applicable, what research have you completed so far?

Master Dissertation: Women, Media and Sport – Challenging Gendered Language and Discourse of Leadership.

Describe a day in the life of a PhD student.

I get to campus around 9am every morning, but can’t start the day without getting a coffee first! Then I usually take care of some admin stuff and start reading before I have my lunch break at 12pm. During your first year as a PhD student you will spend most of your day reading, making notes, mind mapping and identifying your research question. I usually stay on campus until 6pm before I go for a drink at the canal side with some fellow researchers.

What do you like to do in your free time?

London is a great place to go shopping, experience different food, and meet friends for a drink. I also enjoy staying active and go to the gym when I get the chance.

How would you describe the research community on campus?

We have a really small community so far, which is constantly growing. This means we get to know each other really well and everyone is really approachable and willing to help out.

What advice would you give to prospective PhD students looking to study at Loughborough University London?

Try to get in touch with your potential supervisors as soon as possible and make sure your research interests align with theirs. Once you have agreed on a topic, try to establish if you and your supervisor are on the same page with things and can work well with each other, at the end of the day you going spent the next 3 years ‘together’! London is an amazing city, but incredibly expensive as well; so try to sort out you living situation as soon as possible to have a clear head to focus on your PhD. I would recommend living close to campus (Stratford) in your first year, because in my opinion you can really profit from being on campus nearly every day.

Did you previously graduate from Loughborough University?

Yes from the London Campus in 2016. I studied my MSc in Sport Business Innovation.