© Nathan Mandell
Some of Kellogg's PhD faculty include (L to R) Professors
Torben Andersen, Peter Klibanoff, Keith Murnighan and
Kellogg faculty guide doctoral students
to new research frontiers
By Mary E. Morrison
professors describe students who enter the school's doctoral
program as curious, academically oriented entrepreneurs, people
who like to solve puzzles and work on their own.
apt description. The program -- five intensive years of classes,
research and teaching culminating in a doctorate degree --
produces scholars highly specialized in one of Kellogg's six
programs. Though a small number of graduates go into corporate
or government positions, the majority pursue academic research
at top universities.
for example, Emre Ozdenoren and Ramon Casadesus-Masanell,
two graduates of the class of 2000's Managerial Economics
& Strategy program.
with Kellogg faculty members including Peter Klibanoff and
Nabil Al-Najjar, Ozdenoren and Casadesus-Masanell published
papers on topics such as how decision makers approach "uncertain"
situations in which odds cannot be used to estimate success
consider PhD students have been successful if, as part of
the dissertation requirement, they're able to produce a novel
contribution to their chosen field," says Klibanoff,
associate professor of managerial economics and decision sciences,
and co-coordinator of the Managerial Economics & Strategy
and Casadesus-Masanell did just that, and both have since
landed enviable jobs -- Casadesus-Masanell at Harvard Business
School and Ozdenoren at the University of Michigan.
says the amount of attention students receive at Kellogg and
the flexibility the program affords were part of what made
his experience so positive. "Compared to other programs,
we had much more of a chance to work closely with the faculty,
which is very important," he notes. "The program
lets you do what you want to do, and if you're a self-motivated
person it's a great place to be."
25 or so new doctoral students entering Kellogg each year,
about half already have master's degrees, in fields such as
economics, natural sciences and psychology. Currently, there
are 102 students in the entire program, of which 60 percent
are international students, and 35 percent are female.
can enter one of six programs offered by various Kellogg departments:
Accounting Information and Management, Finance, Management
and Organizations, and Marketing offer individual doctoral
programs. The Management and Strategy and Managerial Economics
and Decision Sciences departments offer a joint program called
Managerial Economics and Strategy; and the Management and
Organizations Department has a joint doctoral program with
the Sociology Department in Northwestern's Weinberg College
of Arts and Sciences.
in their program of studies, students fulfill general degree
requirements. As part of these requirements, students take
qualifying exams, usually at the end of their first year.
They also take written and oral qualifying exams at the end
of their third year. During the last two years of the program,
students focus on their dissertations, and before completing
their studies, present an oral defense of their work to their
faculty dissertation committee.
program differs from the MBA program in a number of ways.
In the MBA program, the focus is on the breadth of different
disciplines of management. An MBA student will take a variety
of courses in areas such as marketing, finance and accounting.
A doctoral student, on the other hand, focuses in one area,
learning an existing body of research in their specialized
field, and then trying to expand it.
actually a large discontinuity between the MBA program and
the PhD program in the sense that there are two things we're
trying to teach someone," says Shane Greenstein, associate
professor of management and strategy. "We're trying to
teach them how to do research, and we're trying to take them
to the frontiers."
these frontiers and produce research on them, students must
shift from being consumers of knowledge to being producers
of knowledge. The "product" that doctoral students
create is a knowledge product, or new evidence about a particular
issue, explains Robert Magee, the Keith I. DeLashmutt Distinguished
Professor of Accounting Information and Management and recently
named associate dean of academic affairs. Academic researchers
must know their market -- which is generally other faculty
members -- in order to "sell" their product, he
have to know what people in the field are interested in, what
needs they have that haven't been met, and try to find some
way to address those," Magee says. "You find a hole
in the current fabric of what we know about a field and try
to fill it in."
ideal starting point
a doctoral program that is on par in size with other top business
schools, Kellogg has proven to be an ideal starting point
for those beginning the rigors of academic research.
terms of the strength, we are a very eclectic group with a
great breadth of courses," says Dipak Jain, Kellogg's
dean. "We really believe that it's important to train
our students in terms of good conceptual, analytical and methodological
skills." Students can take courses within Kellogg and
also in other departments in Northwestern, such as the economics,
psychology or mathematics department, Jain points out.
and depth of expertise between departments -- and within each
department -- provides students with the curriculum and guidance
to become leaders in their field. The marketing department,
for instance, is the most comprehensive of its kind in any
major business school, says department chair and A. Montgomery
Ward Professor of Marketing Lakshman Krishnamurthi. "The
program offers six or seven PhD seminars each year, which
is more than most other private schools can afford to do,"
he notes. "Our students get a very broad, terrific exposure
to current marketing thinking. After the second year, students
specialize, but in the first year we want them to be exposed
to a broad range of issues. That's our big strength."
key to student success is the active involvement of faculty
members in doctoral candidates' research, says Keith Murnighan,
the Harold J. Hines Jr. Distinguished Professor of Risk Management.
"What's wonderful about Kellogg and our department is
we have easily a dozen experts in what they do among the faculty,
which provides students with a wealth of human capital. The
faculty members have great research records, and they can
inculcate students into these projects."
to guiding students through research methods, Kellogg's program
gives students teaching experience. "Not many top schools
would let their PhD students teach," Jain says. "We
consider this teaching part of the education experience."
doctoral students are focused on their classes and research,
they are encouraged to take a few MBA classes to be prepared
for what they might have to teach in the future, says Torben
Andersen, professor of finance. "I think the presence
of the MBA program is important," Andersen notes. "It
gives doctoral candidates institutional and practical experience."
completing the program, students use that experience to teach,
but more important, to continue to define their fields with
groundbreaking research. What can they expect from such a
of the time, you're working on your own," Magee says.
"You have to be a person who likes to identify ideas
and then work on them. Nobody tells me what to work on in
the morning; I get to choose. I enjoy teaching my classes,
but that's just part of the job. The rest of the time, I'm
with a blank pad of paper trying to create something."