This page may be helpful for non-US applicants, particularly from India.
Other pages of use are
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It is also possible that you will find out after getting into a Ph.D. program that this is not for you. There is no shame in that - you cannot have a complete idea of what it is before you get into it.
The IIMs are the best business schools in India for an MBA. A Ph.D. from either place will involve giving up 4-7 years of your prime career years. You must perform a value analysis for the comparison - what do you get and what do you give up in return. This value analysis must be on many fronts - personal/family, career and financial.
|Benefits of a US Ph.D.||Benefits of an IIM Ph.D.|
4-5 years is a really long time. It is difficult to predict what will happen
by the time you graduate.
The education industry is slightly counter-cyclical. That is because many people take the opportunity to get higher education when the economy softens. Of course, if it stays soft for long then the education industry is also affected. For business schools the executive MBA programs are the first to feel the pinch, but the full-time MBA programs see an increase in applicants. This indirectly determines whether any specific business school wants to expand or not.
In addition, you can consider looking at the profiles of successful graduates from a school to decide if there is a match. However, since there are so few graduates per year, this is extremely difficult and 'noisy'.
Here is a short list of some schools' web sites for your reference. Remember,
any school that puts in resources to maintain a Ph.D. program should be a candidate
in your list.
|University of California at Berkeley||Haas School of Business|
|University of California at Los Angeles||Anderson School of Management|
|Carnegie Mellon University||Graduate School of Industrial Administration|
|University of Chicago||Graduate School of Business|
|Columbia University||Columbia Business School|
|Cornell University||Johnson Graduate School of Management|
|Dartmouth College||Tuck School of Business|
|Duke University||Fuqua School of Business|
||Goizueta Business School|
|Georgetown University||McDonough School of Business|
|Georgia Institute of Technology||DuPree College of Management|
|Harvard University||Harvard Business School|
|Indiana University||Kelley School of Business|
|University of Maryland||Smith School of Business|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||Sloan School of Management|
|University of Michigan||Business School|
|New York University||Stern School of Business|
|University of North Carolina||Kenan-Flagler Business School|
|Northwestern University||Kellogg School of Management|
|University of Pennsylvania||Wharton School of Business|
|Purdue University||Krannert Graduate School of Management|
|University of Rochester||Simon Graduate School of Business Administration|
|University of Southern California||Marshall School|
|Stanford University||Graduate School of Business|
|University of Texas at Austin||McCombs School of Business|
|Vanderbilt University||Owen Graduate School of Management|
|University of Virginia||Darden Graduate School of Business Administration|
|University of Washington at Seattle||Business School|
|Washington University||Olin School of Business|
|Yale||School of Management|
There are many more schools with good business Ph.D. programs. I personally believe that any good school that focusses on all the functional areas in business should be on your radar. Within these areas difference schools are known for different strengths.
One way to select schools is to take any business school MBA program ranking, and look at all the top 50-75 schools which offer Ph.D. programs in your filed of interest. You can then narrow it down depending on which specific areas and topics the professors there are interested in. Once again, any school which offers a Ph.D. program is worth looking at, simply because Ph.D. students cost the school valuable professor time and resources. All they get in return is the reputation that flows from their successful students - they are as interested in your success as you are.
There are far more areas than I can easily list and maintain, even for Operations Management. I do not intend to start on that vast task! However, your research interests should come out of topics that have interested you (by definition?). Do not pick a "hot" topic lightly; by the time you finish your Ph.D. it may not be "hot" any more!
For OM, look up the INFORMS web site, and go to conferences. Take the latest fall (November) conference, and search for presentations - you will get a one paragraph abstract (there are about a thousand presentations each year, so search intelligently). But more importantly, you will get contact information for the professors researching that topic. This can be the starting point for potential topics. That will also help you find the schools where you may want to apply, instead of looking up some irrelevant ranking allowing that to bias your application pool.
For other areas, find out if similar resources exist, and find out which conference is the largest or the most prestigious one. Then dig into that.
No - you cannot find useful rankings of doctoral programs in anything. The whole concept of ordering is useless for research institutions. What will you use as data? Graduation rates? Class size? Incoming GMAT scores? All of these are not at all predictive of anything meaningful in a Ph.D. program. A much better way to decide is to look up the faculty and their research at each school, and then decide where they may match your interest. This is not only time consuming, it is essential. The net result is that each applicant comes up with his/her own "ranking".
I think that many other criteria are more important - research interests comes immediately to mind. If you want to, you must consider how many students graduate in OM from the Ph.D. program each year. Clearly, a program may have many graduates, but only a handful in OM. Even then, each year there may be only one or two, or none at all who graduate.
In any case, the numbers are so small that you can get only the most general comparisons form these students. Your own determination, research interests and relations with professors is far more important to your own success than any past data.
Having said all that, a large number of graduates may mean an ongoing program with committed professors. However, any school which offers a Ph.D. program has committed professors - it is very expensive in terms of time and effort (for the professors). From your point of view, however, fewer doctoral students may mean more choices (professors to work with) for you!
(About comparing the number of past graduates numbers are VERY misleading. How does two graduates currently teaching in top 25 schools compare with 1 graduate in a top 5 school? You cannot say, because you do not know why they are there. Professors go to different schools for many reasons. Most schools pay similar salaries - it has more to do with colleagues, family life, children's schools, weather, and many other factors.)
No, no - the coursework is definitely different. However, you can certainly work in the strategy area along with OM after you have finished your coursework, as long as you can find a sympathetic advisor and committee!
All the following need time and must be completed before you can consider your application complete. Remember that the earliest application deadlines may be December 31.
|July||2001||Send out pre-applications (these are one page requests for application
forms - a letter/e-mail may suffice) (50 schools)
Talk to professors about recommendations
|August||Start preparations for ETS tests|
|September||Take GMAT, TOEFL
Resend pre-applications to universities that have not replied
|October||Give forms to evaluators|
|November||Decide on schools to apply to
Get transcripts from your colleges
|December||Arrange application packages|
|January||2002||Send out applications (some schools many have Dec 31 deadlines - don't miss them!)|
|March-May||Wait for offers|
|July||Apply for visa|
|August||Say goodbye to friends, family and places you love in your home country - you may not see them for a year|
|September||Join the program!|
This is possibly one of the more useful things that you can do. With e-mail,
this is not as prohibitively expensive as it may have been earlier, when you
had to call.
Do your research before you write to professors, and be clear in your mind why you are contacting them. You may contact a member of the admissions committee for questions that you could not get answers to from the regular contacts. I think the most useful contacts will be professors whose research interests match yours in some manner. All professors are very helpful in answering questions you may have. Sometimes, however, they may be out of town, or may be very busy with courses and other commitments. Be patient.
Please avoid sending the same set of questions to a whole lot of people. It is not polite. E-mail is a great thing, but do not abuse it. If that does not convince you, also consider the fact that people talk to each other, and may find out that one individual has been spamming many professors. (Not good.)
The issue is tradeoffs, as usual! If you had been applying for an Engineering
Ph.D., a recommendation from a superior makes more sense if it had been an engineering
job, and if the academic program required some focus on practical application.
If you had been applying for an MBA, a recommendation from a superior is quite
important, since any job requires initiative, teamwork and other signs for future
However, for a business Ph.D., it may be a mixed blessing. Consider this to be an experiment in expert power. You are trying to improve your position by getting an endorsement from an expert. It depends upon how credible your expert is to the person reading the recommendation, i.e. how the target business school admission committee professors view your superior. Some of them consult extensively, and may consider it positively, and at worst other professors will consider it a neutral piece of information.
The potential danger, however, is the impression that you could not get three
recommendations from professors. If your other two recommendations (from professors)
are strong, then there is a better chance that an industry recommendation will
seem to be a conscious decision, since the added benefit of a third strong academic
recommendation is less. However, if the academic recommendations are not as
strong, then who knows how folks will look at it!
Regardless of other factors, a recommendation from any person who knows you closely is better than an impersonal recommendation from someone who vaguely remembers you. It is also a positive sign if even after working for a few years you have interacted enough with your professors for them to remember you and give you good individualized recommendations.
The short answer is no, you do not need an MBA. In fact, only a small minority of business doctorates have an MBA.
Having said that, I also believe that it can be enormously helpful to have some business experience, if not an MBA. From the early days of OM research we have evolved to a point when a majority of research has some interdisciplinary flavor. For example, how do Operations Management policies interact with Marketing policies? How can financial evaluation of Operations Management projects influence the nature of investments the firm makes? These are questions that are quite important.
Any single functional area cannot answer the real problems that firms face.
Hence restricting the scope of your research is not practical if you want to
make prescriptions on real problems.
At another level, you will face questions from your colleagues in other functional areas. It helps to be able to answer these questions reasonably intelligently! For example, I have seen OM research presentations that were shown to be quite trivial because the researcher was ignorant of some basic economic principles.
Well, the short answer, again, is no - you do not need any work experience. In fact, I do know many people who did not have any work experience when they started their Ph.D.
But then, how will you find out what area you want to focus on for research? You will probably not succeed in getting admission if you say that you want to study Finance, or Marketing, or Operations, or anything as general as that. A very important part of your application is your Statement of Purpose, where you state your research interests and show how your skills and experience make you suitable for research in that field. I believe that work experience helps you in making a credible Statement of Purpose.
Even more important - work experience helps you when (after 2 years of course work) you have to find topics for research. How will you know what is a reasonable or interesting topic for research? It is possible to find out by doing internships after the first year, or by extensive study of business articles, but it is not as if you will have a lot of time left after classes and coursework. Remember, when you present your research you will be asked questions about how realistic and how applicable your results are.
Finally, when you finish your Ph.D. and become a professor, you must teach MBA students - these are people with an average of 3-5 years of work experience. It may be difficult to answer their questions if you have only a theoretical/pedantic knowledge of the subject matter.
Thus, work experience is desirable. However, if your experience is in graphic arts, for example, then that may not help you much. If indeed you do not have work experience, but have an excellent academic record and a high chance of getting into a good program my personal advice to you would be to look for opportunities (internships, projects, etc.) that will "dirty your hands".
A Ph.D. can take anything from 4 to 8 years. A microscopic number of students
finish in 4 years. Thus, count on taking at least 5 years. However, there is
no road map - if you have little idea of how to come up with a topic, then you
can take 6 or more years (even with a proper topic you may take that long).
Thus, I feel that getting about 2-3 years of job experience in business may
pay back by reducing your Ph.D. duration by 1 or 2 years. On the other hand,
it might not.
(Caveat: these time estimates are for continuous full time Ph.D. students from joining to defending, i.e. finishing completely. If your duration is 5 years or more, you may take a job a year before defending, and then come back and defend.)