Ilma Nur Chowdhury

Ilma Nur Chowdhury


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Ilma is interested in supervising research students in topics linked to the ones stated below. Ilma specialises in longitudinal and multiple case study-based qualitative research designs (utilising interviews/ focus groups/projective techniques/laddering/delphi technique).


Transformative service research (vulnerable customers, BoP customers, digital healthcare)

Corporate Digital Responsibility

Social innovation

Practices that can help meet Net-Zero targets in organisations and their suppliers

Service management in emerging markets

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Personal profile


Ilma Nur Chowdhury is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Marketing at Alliance Manchester Business School. She completed an MSc in Marketing (with Distinction) from MBS in 2008 and returned for her PhD here on a four-year MBS scholarship. Ilma also holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (Major: Marketing, Minor: Human Resources Management). She graduated as the valedictorian of her class from the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka and was awarded the M.A.Taleb Gold Medal. While at university, she was one of the six global recipients of the ‘Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship’ awarded by Zonta International in 2005.


Ilma’s previous experience includes working as a manager in the Brands and Development function of Unilever Bangladesh where she was responsible for the brand Rexona (Sure) and later Surf Excel (Surf) and Vim (Cif). On completion of her MSc, she worked as a Lecturer in Marketing at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka and as a Visiting Lecturer at North South University Business School. She has also worked as a Research Associate at North South University on the Investment Climate research project funded by International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group).

Ilma holds an International Diploma in Teaching and Training (City and Guilds, London) and she is a Chartered Marketer (MCIM, Chartered Institute of Marketing).

She was appointed as an external advisory board member at the award-winning ethical and sustainable investment firm, Castlefield Manchester in 2021 (New Member on Castlefield External Advisory Committee).

Research interests

Ilma’s research interests are focused on service management and business-to-business marketing fields. Her current research areas consist of social sustainability, vulnerable communities, and the role of service firms and service management in emerging markets. She has published in Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Operations Management, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, Business Strategy and the Environment, and Journal of Marketing Education.


Postgraduate supervision opportunities

Ilma is interested in supervising research students in topics linked to the ones stated below. Ilma specialises in longitudinal and multiple case study-based qualitative research designs (utilising interviews/ focus groups/projective techniques/laddering/delphi technique).


Transformative services (vulnerable customers, BoP customers, digital healthcare, artificially intelligent services)

Social innovation 

Practices that can help meet Net-Zero targets

Value creation at the bottom of the pyramid

Service management in emerging markets


Social responsibility

Ilma has been a divisional representative on AMBS' Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee since 2015. She helped develop the application process for the AMBS Carer Support Fund. She was the Associate Head of Division for Social Responsbility and Engagement in the Management Sciences and Marketing Division in 2020-21 and launched the first divisional SR newsletter which brings together SR-focused teaching, research and enagement activities in Management Sciences and Marketing.

Ilma is an external advisory board member at Castlefield, Manchester where she contibutes to decison-making on Environmental, Social and Govervance (ESG) issues.

Other research

Externally Funded Projects

In 2023, Ilma was co-investigator in the Port of Dover research collaboration project (ongoing)

In 2020, Ilma was co-investigator on the EPSRC seedcorn grant funded project (DEAS Network Plus Covid-19 Charity/Voluntary Sector): “Using a bricolage strategy to enhance the human touch in digitally enhanced provision for refugee service users: a response to COVID-19” (completed in 2021). 

In 2021, Ilma was co-investigator on an EPSRC funded knowledge exchange project with charity organisation, Caritas Diocese of Salford: “From the Data Modelling Journey to an On-line tool to Support On-line Educational Refugee Services”. This project involved the launching of a toolkit to humanise digital services delivered to vulnerable groups such as migrants (completed in 2022).


Internally Funded Projects

  • Designing transformative services for refugees - The objective of this project is to utilise services management theory to understand how refugee support service ecosystems can be developed in a way that empowers refugees and improves social integration. Multiple case studies will be used to explore the interactions between three levels of the current refugee support service ecosystem in the UK: the refugee level (micro), service provider level (meso) and government level (macro), using data collection methods such as interviews, observation and document analysis. This study holds important implications for multiple stakeholders including refugees, policymakers, and non-governmental and business organisations working towards the integration of refugees and can promote the design of services that reduces the vulnerability of the refugee community (completed in 2022).
  • Social Business: Its Operations, Challenges and Implications in the Bottom Of The Pyramid (completed in 2016)
  • Developing buyer and supplier capabilities for achieving social sustainability in the apparel supply chain (completed in 2015)


  • Design of marketing research instrument for Port of Dover, 2023
  • Incorporating social purpose in brand reputation measurement, 2021

    Ilma has collaborated with a leading public relations agency in Manchester, Citypress, to research and develop the Reputation Assessment Profile (RAP) framework, which indicates the power of their clients’ brands. The incorporation of Approval in RAP reflects customer expectations about social responsibility. Increasingly, brands are expected to have a higher purpose which is aligned with one or more principles of sustainability, equity, diversity and inclusion and Ilma has helped addressed this in RAP.


Ilma coordinates and delivers courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including Services Marketing/Services Marketing Management, and Digital Marketing.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Diploma in Teaching and Training, The City and Guilds of London Institute

Award Date: 29 Dec 2006

Bachelor of Science, Marketing, Human Resource Management, Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka

Doctor of Business Administration, Management Sciences and Marketing

Master in Science, MSc Marketing, Management Sciences and Marketing

External positions

External Advisory Board Member, Castlefield Investment Partners LLP

Areas of expertise

  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Social Sustainability
  • Value Co-creation
  • Transformative Services
  • B2B Services
  • Emerging Markets
  • Case Studies
  • Social Responsibility

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities


  • value creation
  • sustainability
  • emerging markets
  • service recovery
  • service networks
  • transformative services
  • service management
  • industrial marketing management
  • Base of the Pyramid


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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