Strategy's doctoral program is a research-oriented program designed to prepare students for careers in academia.

The program emphasizes:

  1. rigorous coursework that prepares students to conduct all aspects of strategic management research from theory building to sophisticated empirical research;
     
  2. close collaboration with faculty on research projects, beginning early in the program and continuing to graduation and beyond;
     
  3. socialization of students into a career of academic research and teaching, including regular participation in research colloquia and informal interaction with and mentoring from faculty.
     

APPLY

COURSEWORK

Coursework

Coursework typically takes about four semesters to complete and involves approximately four (4) courses per semester.

1. STRATEGY CORE AND TOPIC CLASSES.

Students are expected to take all of the following classes over a two (2) year period. The core classes are offered every year, while electives are offered every other year. At least one strategy class is offered every semester.

Core

Theoretical Perspectives in Strategy

Empirical Research in Strategy

Topic

Technology and Strategy

Theory of the Firm

Sociological Approaches to Strategy

Incentives and Corporate Governance

2. ALLIED AREA CLASSES

Organization Theory

Industrial Organization

3. DISCIPLINE CLASSES

Students are encouraged to select one discipline for specialization. The disciplines typically chosen by strategy doctoral students are economics, political science, psychology, or sociology. Students are expected to take four to five courses in this discipline and enjoy considerable flexibility in tailoring the curriculum to suit their interests. Below are representative courses students have taken in the past. 

Economics

Mathematics for Economics (Econ 600)

Microeconomics (Econ 601-604)

Sociology

Sociology (Soc 515)

Theories and Practices of Sociology (Soc 505-506)

4. METHODS CLASSES

Students are expected to take the research methods class offered in the Ross Business School and, in addition, take appropriate statistical methods classes offered in any of the disciplines above. Methods classes that students often take are:

Econometrics (Econ 671, 672 & 675)

Statistics Courses in Other Departments (e.g., PolSci 599/699, Soc 510/610)

Example Course Schedules

Academic Requirements and Benchmarks - Strategy, Economics Track
  FALL WINTER
  Note that some courses are half-semesters and others are full-semester length.
YEAR 1 Strat 897: Empirical Research in Strategy Strat 897: Strategy Doctoral Seminar
  Strat 898: Theoretical Perspectives in Strategy Strat 898: Strategy Doctoral Seminar
  Econ 600: Math for Economists BA 875: Applied Industrial Economics
  Econ 601: Microeconomic Theory I Econ 602: Microeconomic Theory II
  Econ 603: Microeconomic Theory III* Econ 604: Microeconomic Theory IV
  Polsci 599: Intro to Empirical Methods or
Econ: Econometric Analysis I
Polsci 699: Statistical Methods, Part II or
Econ 672: Econometric Analysis II
  *Required for Industrial Organization and Labor Economics  
  FALL WINTER
  Note that some courses are half-semesters and others are full-semester length.
Also, 2nd-year paper proposals must be approved by August 31 prior to the second year.
YEAR 2 BA 850: Empirical Research Methodology Strat 897: Strategy Doctoral Seminar
  Econ 675: Empirical Econometrics (w/Prof. Smith) or
Polsci 787 (w/Prof. Titiunik)
Strat 898: Strategy Doctoral Seminar
  MO 899: Doctoral Seminar in Organizational Theory CSCS 511: Theory of Complex Systems and/or
Econ 631: Industrial Organization & Public Policy and/or
Econ 621: Labor Economics I
  CSCS 511: Theory of Complex Systems and/or
Econ 631: Industrial Organization & Public Policy and/or
Econ 621: Labor Economics I
Another full-semester elective or two half-semester electives.
  FALL WINTER
  Note that some courses are half-semesters and others are full-semester length.
Also, 2nd-year papers must be approved by August 31 prior to the 3rd year. Students advance to candidacy by early September.
YEAR 3 Strat 995: Dissertation Candidacy Electives as deemed suitable
  BA 831: Teaching Practicum  
  Teach 1 section of core strategy to non-BBA's  
Academic Requirements and Benchmarks - Strategy, Sociology Track
  FALL WINTER
  Note that some courses are half-semesters and others are full-semester length.
YEAR 1 Strat 897: Empirical Research in Strategy Strat 897: Strategy Doctoral Seminar
  Strat 898: Theoretical Perspectives in Strategy Strat 898: Strategy Doctoral Seminar
  Soc 515: Economic Sociology Soc 610: Sociological Methods
  Soc 505: Theory & Practice Soc 506: Theory & Practice
  Polsci 599: Intro to Empirical Methods or
Econ: Econometric Analysis I
Polsci 699: Statistical Methods, Part II or
Econ 672: Econometric Analysis II
  A programming elective (e.g. R, Python)  
  *Required for Industrial Organization and Labor Economics  
  FALL WINTER
  Note that some courses are half-semesters and others are full-semester length.
Also, 2nd-year paper proposals must be approved by August 31 prior to the second year.
YEAR 2 BA 850: Empirical Research Methodology Strat 897: Strategy Doctoral Seminar
  Psych 682: Advanced Social Psycholgy Strat 898: Strategy Doctoral Seminar
  MO 899: Doctoral Seminar in Organizational Theory Methods electives in Sociology, Psychology, Political Science, or Economics
  Econ 601: Microeconomics Theory I or
CSCS 511: Theory of Complex Systems
 
  Econ 675: Empirical Econometrics (w/Prof. Smith) or
Polsci 787 (w/Prof. Titiunik)
 
  FALL WINTER
  Note that some courses are half-semesters and others are full-semester length.
Also, 2nd-year papers must be approved by August 31 prior to the 3rd year. Students advance to candidacy by early September.
YEAR 3 Strat 995: Dissertation Candidacy Electives as deemed suitable
  BA 831: Teaching Practicum  
  Teach 1 section of core strategy to non-BBA's  

Qualifying Exam

Qualifying Examination

The primary purpose of the qualifying exam is to ensure that the Ross doctoral student is a discerning consumer of research in strategy. 

Discerning consumption involves developing a parsimonious intellectual map of research in the strategy field and being able to position research questions, theories, and perspectives within this overall map. This ability is critical to productive scholarship.

Students are required to take their written qualifying exam (open book) to advance to candidacy at the end of the second year of the PhD program, generally in early June. Preparation for the qualifying exam builds on previously taken strategy classes. This involves significant additional reading beyond coursework to add depth of understanding in the main research areas of strategy.

A qualifying exam committee composed of four to six (4-6) faculty design exam questions. Students are afforded three to five (3-5) days to answer all questions.

 

SECOND YEAR RESEARCH PAPER

Second Year Research Paper

The purpose of the second year paper is to prepare students to become not only discerning consumers of strategy research but, also, sophisticated producers of such work. 
 

To that end, the second year paper enables students to accomplish the following:

  • develop capabilities to conceive and to execute an independent research project

  • establish an independent research stream

  • prepare for the dissertation

  • produce research that is clearly on a trajectory to be presented at a top strategy conference (e.g., Academy of Management or Strategic Management Society) and published in a top strategy journal

Prior to advancing to the dissertation stage, students are required to conduct an empirical research project with the aspiration of publishing a paper from the project in a top strategy journal. The project will be completed under the supervision of two faculty members, one of whom serves as a primary reader (typically the student's adviser), and the other as a secondary reader. The student is expected to undertake wholly individual and autonomous research for this project.  The project will typically have an empirical and/or modeling component (exceptions require the approval of the Faculty Ph.D. Co-coordinators).  


The student must get approval from two faculty readers by August 31 after their first year on a 3-5 page proposal.  The actual paper must be approved by two faculty readers by the end of August just prior to the start of the student's third year in the Doctoral Program.  Also, the paper from the project is expected to be presented to students and faculty in the brown bag seminar series by the end of October of the student's third year in the Doctoral Program.  Extensions to the above deadlines can only be obtained with approval of both the Strategy department chairperson and the Strategy doctoral program coordinator(s).  While publication in a top journal is an aspiration of the project, publication is not required for successful completion of the project.

Department Research Presentations

Department Research Presentations

Each first-year student will be expected to present for a half hour in the department brown bag series.   In the second year of the doctoral program, students will be expected to present for an hour in the department brown bag series.   First-year and second-year students are expected to confer with their adviser on what would be appropriate to present.   Then, in subsequent years of the doctoral program, students will be expected to present for an hour each year.

 

DISSERTATION

Dissertation Proposal and Final Defense

The Dissertation Proposal, normally taken at the end of winter term of the fourth year, is devoted to the defense of the candidate’s written dissertation proposal and is taken after the Qualifying Examination is passed. 

The Dissertation Final Defense is normally taken at the end of winter term of the fifth year. The student is expected to present his/her thesis to the dissertation committee and any other interested parties. Upon successful completion of the defense, the student is awarded the doctoral degree.

For detailed information, please consult Rackham Graduate School dissertation handbook (https://www.rackham.umich.edu/downloads/oard-dissertation-handbook.pdf) and guidelines (https://rackham.umich.edu/faculty-and-staff/dissertation-committees/guidelines-for-dissertation-committee-service/).

 

Co-Coordinator: Yue Maggie Zhou

  • Associate Professor of Strategy
Maggie's research focuses on the theory of the firm, competitive strategy, organization structure and institutions. Her recent studies...

Co-Coordinator: Christopher Rider

  • Thomas C. Kinnear Professor and Associate Professor of Strategy
Chris Rider is the Thomas C. Kinnear Professor and Associate Professor of Strategy at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business...

Graduates of the Strategy Doctoral Program hold tenure-track or tenured professorships at top-tier research universities worldwide, including Cornell University, Harvard Business School, INSEAD, London Business School, and The Wharton School.

GRADUATES

Year Name Initial Placement
2018 Casidhe Horan London Business School
2018 Gareth Keeves Started a company and teaches at the University of Michigan
2018 Sara Ryoo SUNY Binghamton
2017 Guy Shani Michigan State
2016 Heewon Chae Arizona State
2014 Heeyon Kim National University of Singapore
 2013 John Chen University of Florida
2013 Na-Eun Cho Clarkson University
2012 Pranav Garg Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
2012 Sun Hyun Park University of Southern California
2011 Bo Kyung Kim Southern Methodist University
2011 Vivek Tandon National University of Singapore
2010 David Benson Brigham Young University