Zam Suan Mung

Zam Suan Mung

Doctor of Philosophy candidate

For his PhD research he is focusing on the integration of ethics into financial product innovation, says Zam Suan Mung who came to AUT from Myanmar to study a PhD in management, supported by an AUT Doctoral Scholarship.

“As a former banker who has worked in the non-governmental organisation (NGO) sector, I wanted to bridge financial product innovation with ethical considerations to contribute meaningfully to both the financial sector and broader society. I believe incorporating ethics into financial product innovation could ultimately promote financial inclusion and sustainable development.

“I chose my PhD research topic based on my background in banking, where I witnessed firsthand the ethical dilemmas and challenges faced by financial institutions in developing and offering new products and services. Additionally, my experience working in a non-governmental organisation highlighted the importance of ethical considerations in addressing social and economic issues, particularly in the realm of financial inclusion and consumer protection.”

He says his research – which is supervised by Associate Professor Peter McGhee – has potential implications for regulatory bodies, policymakers and industry stakeholders seeking to promote responsible finance and sustainable development.

“By providing evidence-based insights and practical recommendations, my research can inform policy decisions, industry standards and best practices in the financial sector; ultimately contributing to a more ethical, resilient and inclusive financial system.”

Choosing AUT
Zam says he did quite a lot of research when he decided to pursue his PhD in New Zealand.

“One of the factors that influenced me was the location as I wanted to be in Auckland, New Zealand’s economic hub. Through conversation with friends and colleagues, I also discovered that AUT is renowned for its inclusivity, its modern approach to teaching and learning, and the extensive student support. Most importantly, my personal experience with the Graduate Research School was excellent. I received a thorough explanation of the programme requirements, guidance on the steps to enrol in the PhD programme and ongoing support. That was exceptionally positive.”

He is enjoying the academic community he has found at AUT.

“AUT provides a welcoming and supportive environment where students from diverse backgrounds come together to learn, collaborate and grow. I've had the opportunity to engage with very passionate and knowledgeable supervisors who are dedicated to fostering critical thinking, creativity and innovation. Their mentorship has been invaluable in shaping my research journey and pushing me to explore new ideas and approaches.

“I’d highly recommend AUT’s doctoral programme to anyone looking to sharpen their expertise and advance their academic or professional career. The programme offers a supportive and inclusive learning environment with academic staff who are dedicated to guiding students through their research journey. Additionally, AUT provides access to a wide range of resources, support services and networking opportunities, helping students to excel in their studies and achieve their goals.”

Advice for other students
Expecting to complete his PhD in 2027, Zam has some great advice for other students considering doctoral study.

“My advice to other students would be to seek support when needed, both academically and personally. Pursuing a doctoral degree can be challenging, and it's essential to find a balance between your studies, personal life and your wellbeing. Don't hesitate to reach out to your supervisors, mentors or support services at the university if you encounter any challenges or need guidance.”

Break your PhD down into smaller steps, he adds.

“Stay organised, set realistic goals and break down your research tasks into manageable steps. And most importantly, believe that you can do it – progress is made incrementally and every small step counts.”