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Michigan Ross Strategy PhD Students Awarded Prestigious Will Mitchell Dissertation Research Grant to Enhance Their Research Capabilities

Exterior of Michigan Ross building with graphics of the grant name and logo

Since 2011, several students from the strategy doctoral program at the Ross School of Business have received the prestigious Will Mitchell Dissertation Research Grant, which provides funds to directly support their dissertation research expenses. 

The grant supports elements of doctoral students’ research that enhance the quality, expand the scope, augment the research design, or in some other way enrich their dissertation projects.

Susie Choe, a rising fifth-year strategy PhD student, is the most recent recipient from Michigan Ross.

Choe’s dissertation, “Identity-based Competition: How Identities Shape Producers’ Market Opportunities and Constraints,” examines how consumers evaluate the offerings of organizations and entrepreneurs. Specifically, she studies how producers’ social identities shape their competitive positioning and market outcomes. One aspect of her research looks at how the Yelp reviews of Japanese restaurants are influenced by the ethnicity of the restaurants’ owners. Capturing these nuances is just the first step toward comprehending the complex way in which businesses occupy their social frameworks. 

With this grant, Choe will be able to pursue her research to the fullest extent. “For a more rigorous test of my core theoretical framework, I recognized a need for a mixed-method approach using experiments, which can be quite costly to implement,” said Choe.

Yue Maggie Zhou, associate professor of strategy at Michigan Ross and strategy department PhD coordinator, believes the award provides an essential resource for PhD research. 

“The grant provides a critical source of funding for students who have developed creative ideas for their dissertations, but would otherwise be discouraged from pursuing such ideas because of the high cost of running experiments or purchasing large datasets to empirically test their ideas,” said Zhou. 

Beyond the financial benefits, the students receive access to a collection of career-building resources that, according to Choe, “immerses recipients in a network of colleagues and leading scholars who provide 1:1 developmental feedback, mentorship, and career advice.”

Choe joins a history of scholars from Ross who have been awarded the grant. Current strategy PhD student Hyuck David Chung received it in 2021 for his dissertation, “The Theory of the Firm in the Platform Economy.” Chung noted that the grant has “​​high standards on both theoretical rigor and sophisticated methodology,” and he feels what sets the Michigan Ross program apart is “the supportive and nurturing relationship with advisors that further empowers students to combine different theories and develop novel and innovative dissertations.” 

The grant has also assisted with the research of Diana Jue-Rajasingh, PhD '23, assistant professor at Rice University, and Reuben Hurst, PhD '24, assistant professor at the University of Maryland. Previous grant recipients from Ross include Sun Hyun Park, PhD ’12, professor of strategy and international management at Seoul National University, and Sara Ryoo, PhD ’18, lecturer in knowledge management and organizational learning at the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, City University of New York.

The Will Mitchell Dissertation Research Grant is presented by the Strategy Research Foundation of the Strategic Management Society, a program that aims to support doctoral student dissertation research in the field of strategic management. 

Featured Faculty
Associate Professor of Strategy
Strategy Faculty Doctoral Coordinator