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Thread: Doing a PhD in Europe

  1. #1
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    Doing a PhD in Europe

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    Hi everyone,

    I was recently talking to a professor at a top European school (they'd previously been at a top 10 US program) & they were commenting on how fast European business schools have developed in the last 5-10 years - which was part of the reason they decided to make the move back to Europe.

    Searching through this forum, I see a decent number of posts on European schools, but they all seem to be a bit dated (especially keeping in mind the above -- where things seem to be changing pretty quickly). So with that: I wanted start a bit of a "general" thread about doing a PhD in Europe.

    If you look at the top, say 2 or 3 schools in country in Europe (let's call it: UK, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Finland ... sorry if I left any out please mention), they have very competitive placement records, with the better schools in that lot placing fairly regularly within the US, and others placing at top schools around the world.

    -How do you think that the 10 best in Europe compare to the US (= to the top 25? 50? 75?)

    -What is everyone's experience? Perception? Thoughts?

    -Anyone want to chime in on specific tracks such as finance/accounting/management etc.

  2. #2
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    Re: Doing a PhD in Europe

    I'll kick off the conversation if no one else wants to start

    I'll go over some of the top European schools, so that we can try to curate a list of the top 2 or 3 from each country (I think information is easily accessible on good US schools but harder to find aggregated info on schools in Europe). I think any school on this list is comparable to a ~top 50-75 institution in the US (some I would even go with top 10-25). I'll include some notes in parenthesis for what I know or have heard in whispers around academia.

    United Kingdom1) London Business School (competitive with top 10-25 institutions in the US)
    2) Cambridge (Judge)
    3) Warwick
    4) City University London (Cass)
    Honorable mention: Oxford (Said), Imperial College

    Denmark

    1) Copenhagen Business School

    Norway

    1) BI Norwegian Business School (Research output is a bit lower but PhD placements have been strong)
    Honorable Mention: NHH Norwegian School of Economics (Excellent university but only holds EQUIS accreditation, not AACSB)

    Sweden

    1) Stockholm School of Economics (Again not AACSB accredited but has great placements globally including in the US)

    France

    1) INSEAD (top 5 in the world)
    2) HEC Paris (competitive with top 10-25 institutions in the US)
    Honorable mention: ESSEC, EM Lyon (starting a joint-PhD program with a top 50 US school soon), EDHEC

    Germany

    1) Frankfurt School of Finance & Management (Just opened a new campus with a 110 million euro investment and have hired several international professors)
    2) European School of Management & Technology (ESMT) (Very good financial backing from corporate founders)
    3) Mannheim

    Switzerland

    1) St Gallen
    2) University of Zurich

    Italy

    1) Bocconi

    Netherlands

    1) Tilburg (competitive with top 25 in the US)
    2) Erasmus University (RSM) (competitive with top 25 in the US)
    Honorable mention: Maastricht University, University of Groningen,

    Spain

    1) IESE
    2) IE
    Honorable mention: Carlos III

    Finland
    1) Aalto
    Austria
    1) WU Vienna

    So there are 30 schools on this list here. I can't swear that it is comprehensive but I tried too do the best I could. I think all of them offer a quality education. If I was going to create a rough top 15 from there, based on research output, growth potential, etc. -- places where I'd feel good about getting a PhD from, it'd be the following:

    1) INSEAD (France)
    2) London Business School (UK)
    3) Erasmus - RSM (Netherlands)
    4) Tilburg (Netherlands)
    5) HEC Paris (France)
    6) Cambridge (UK)
    7) Bocconi (Italy)
    8) Warwick (UK)
    9) City University London (UK)
    10) Copenhagen Business School (Denmark)
    11) Frankfurt School of Finance & Management (Germany)
    12) IESE (Spain)
    13) Imperial College (UK)
    14) BI Norwegian Business School (Norway)
    15) Aalto (Finland)

    Any thoughts?

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    Re: Doing a PhD in Europe

    Sorry for the double post

    Best schools is something that is very subject and depends on a number of things (like what you are interested in studying), but just to put a general list together using: research output, professor quality, upside/trend & accreditation (AACSB/EQUUS)


    Hope this helps people looking to apply in Europe. These rankings are very rough, and could swing wildly depending on the specific track you are looking at, but I hope I can spark some conversation
    Last edited by StrategicMGMT; 10-30-2017 at 06:35 AM. Reason: double post

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    Re: Doing a PhD in Europe

    London School of Economics is something most people forget as it is not classified as a business school. But, the research productivity is excellent and academic quality is very high.

    As you have mentioned, rankings (especially based on journals) are very subject specific. If you take Strategy, SDA Bocconi is top 10 (even top 5?) in the world, and definitely top in Europe. If you take Information Systems, Warwick would be the top school in Europe. In finance, even Oxford Said does very well. In my opinion, University College London School of Management will do very well in the near future as they have hired star professors from top business schools such as Harvard and Stanford. Research outputs take time to show, but should soon produce the desired results. I personally researched Jindal UT Dallas journal rankings to get an idea of schools I should apply to.
    Last edited by PobleNou; 10-30-2017 at 09:29 AM.

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    Re: Doing a PhD in Europe

    You're right. An interesting thing I would mention too related to Bocconi: They really rose to prominence by hiring Italians that were working abroad at top US universities. This is the exact same strategy being used by some other schools in Europe (it sounds like UCL is doing this, as well as Frankfurt School of Finance & Management & BI Norwegian Business School)

    UT Dallas Rankings are a great resource. I think it's good to compare 5 years / 3 years / most recent year of research output (and visit individual departments to see upcoming journals), to see how schools are trending. A school might be at a certain output level now but if its trending upwards by the time you do your PhD it may look different.

    Quote Originally Posted by PobleNou View Post
    London School of Economics is something most people forget as it is not classified as a business school. But, the research productivity is excellent and academic quality is very high.

    As you have mentioned, rankings (especially based on journals) are very subject specific. If you take Strategy, SDA Bocconi is top 10 (even top 5?) in the world, and definitely top in Europe. If you take Information Systems, Warwick would be the top school in Europe. In finance, even Oxford Said does very well. In my opinion, University College London School of Management will do very well in the near future as they have hired star professors from top business schools such as Harvard and Stanford. Research outputs take time to show, but should soon produce the desired results. I personally researched Jindal UT Dallas journal rankings to get an idea of schools I should apply to.

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