Doctoral Programs

The Strategic Management Concentration

Philosophy and Objectives

The fundamental question that drives strategic management is: Why do some firms outperform others? Though it includes subjects of primary concern to senior management, it is of interest to anyone seeking reasons for success and failure among organizations. Given the variety of possible reasons for organizational success and failure, the Ph.D. in Strategic Management at the Isenberg School is designed to be an integrative discipline that draws extensively from such fields as organizational theory, organizational behavior, and industrial organization economics. Major topics within the field include strategic resource allocation, innovation, diversification, strategic decision processes and competitive strategy.

The Ph.D. program in Strategic Management is designed for individuals who are committed to scholarly research and have the intellectual capacity to contribute to literature on strategic management theory and practice. Thus, the Ph.D. degree is not for part-time students. It is not a "turbo-charged M.B.A.," nor is it designed for people pursuing careers as consultants or managers. The Ph.D. is for students who want an academic research career. Accordingly, the primary goal of doctoral candidates in Strategic Management is be to make scholarly contributions to the field through research.

To ensure the success of the student, the doctoral program emphasizes development through mentor-apprenticeship research relationships that begin upon entering the program and continue throughout the program. Upon entering the program, the Strategy Ph.D. Coordinator assigns students as research assistants to faculty based on shared interests and opportunities for learning needed skills. Those interested in applying to the program should learn about faculty research interests to see how they align with their own.

In addition to the mentoring relationships, the Ph.D. in Strategic Management at the Isenberg School offers a variety of seminars to equip students with current thinking and research in the field and give them the intellectual tools to investigate accompanying questions in meaningful and nuanced ways. In order to gain breadth of knowledge, students are required to take seminars in organizational theory and organizational behavior, as well as a variety of statistics and methods courses. To increase their depth of knowledge, students are required to take four strategy seminars. The seminars are integrated so that the student develops a deep understanding of the field. As such, they address a variety of topics central to the discipline, such as competitive advantage, diversification, corporate governance, the innovation process, and strategic decision making. Finally, students also take three electives for the purpose of complementing their developing area of research interest. The result is exceptional preparation for conducting path-breaking research.