DBA Student Research

Ayesha Al Mansoori

Ayesha Al Mansoori

DBA in Strategy, Project Leadership and PMOs
Research topic: Power Distance & Centralized Vs. Decentralized Project Management Office’


Student Background

Ayesha Al Mansoori is a doctoral candidate at SBS Swiss Business School, Zurich, Switzerland. She holds a Master of Innovation and Entrepreneurship degree from The Higher Colleges of Technology, UAE. She also holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Management degree with Distinction from The Higher Technology, UAE. Ayesha is also an alumnus of Harvard Business School, Boston, USA. She holds a position as Head of Project and Portfolio Management in Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).

Professional Areas of Expertise and Career Roles

Areas of Expertise

Project and Portfolio Management, Programs and Portfolio Governance; Project Management methodologies and tools; Change Management; Stakeholder Management; Coaching and Mentoring

Previous Roles

System Analyst, Project Manager, Oracle Corporate Domain Manager, Collaboration Function Manager, Head of Project Management, Head of Project & Portfolio Management.


• 2004 – Award received from Abu Dhabi Securities Market (previous employer)
• 2007 – Abu Dhabi Industry Award received as excellence in highest GPA in major

Professional Certifications

• ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) APM Group – 2009
• Investment Foundation Certificate – CFA (Claritas) – 2013
• Leadership Development Program from The RBL Group – 2013
• Claritas® Investment Certificate from CFA Institute 2013
• Program for Leadership Development – Harvard Business School -2014
• Program For Leadership Development, PLD18 From Harvard Business School – 2014
• Certified Scrum Master – 2016
• Certified Scrum Product Owner – 2016
• Alumni from HBS – PLD Module 5 – 2017

Seminar Overview

• PMI Malta 2008
• PMI Milan 2010
• Oracle Open World Conference 2011 – San Francisco
• Oracle Open World Conference 2012 – San Francisco
• Oracle Open World Conference 2013 – San Francisco
• SharePoint Conference 2014 – Las Vegas
• Agile Project Management Conference 2015 – Finland
• PMI Spain 2016
• PMI Berlin 2018
• PMO Conference 2019

Professional Affiliations


Doctorate Research Topic

Power Distance & Centralized Vs. Decentralized Project Management Office

Doctorate Research Area

PMO can be classified into decentralized, centralized and hybrid. Studies have indicated that project managers do better in centralized PMO model (Curlee, 2008). Centralized PMO is structured in a way the project executives, managers and workers performing the project report to a managerial chain of command within the PMO. The centralized PMO is accountable for project management training, organizational processes and technology implemented by the managers (Curlee, 2008). Decentralized PMOs are more common and are accountable for managing project management methods, training, and best practices. Decentralized PMOs have no central decision-making authority because authority is either collaborative or delegated (Kerzner, 2009).

Research Proposal & Questions

Currently, no studies have been found which analyze the role of power distance on PMO structure. This research attempts to cover this gap in the literature and use Hofstede’s power distance dimension to analyze if high power distance culture accepts centralized PMO and low power distance culture accept decentralized PMO. The research also aims to analyze the impact of the culture on PMO typologies.

• How the culture influences the structure of the project management office?
• What is the role of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions on identifying the structure of the enterprise project management office?
• What is the role of the culture on PMO typologies?

My goal was always to continuing my learning journey along with my career progression. I gave a serious look into this around 2014 after having completed my master’s degree and settled well into my role of leading Project Management and PMO in my Department. With 19 years of experience in this field, I felt it is time to contribute to Project Management community in my organization (ADIA), with a research on how the power distance would impact the decision on the PMO design.

Interesting Facts About Myself:

  1. I love gardening and make things grow, it is satisfying and giving a sense of accomplishment when I see the results of my work. 
  2. Event planning is one of the things I am very passionate about, I have been the family event planner for all their weddings and parties.  I am planning to have my own business once I am done with my DBA. 
  3. Traveling has not only been something that I do, but it has been something that has become a part of me. I have this passion to travel. I have not been across the globe or to every continent; but I’ve had my share of travel and it’s only the beginning.

Why SBS/AIPMO’s DBA Program?

  • I was on the lookout for the ideal course that would propel me in my career and personal development. My search culminated in me taking up this DBA program, which perfectly aligned, to my needs and direction.  The trigger for this was my chance encounter with Dr. Robert Joslin while attending the PMO conference in London, who gave me an insightful peek into the course offering.  

I feel fortunate to be part of this program under the guidance of the top professors in the world.  Being part of this program not only enhanced my depth of knowledge and clarity in the core areas of study, but also sharpened my strategic thinking and analytical skills.  The regular interaction with the experienced faculty and fellow students from diverse background has augmented my ability to solve practical problems and bring innovation to my area of work.

I find the course engaging and value added, I look forward to the day all the effort would pay off, and I would earn my Doctorate from this esteemed organization.