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Thread: guys, is international business/strategy math heavy?

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    guys, is international business/strategy math heavy?

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    hey guys,

    i been admitted to an international business/business strategy program. i plan to do research on how the environment affects firms.

    i am a little worried to be honest, i have no institutional access to journals currently. my math is quite bad and my background is in political science, i do mostly qualitative work.

    will i be able to publish well with qualitative methods or basic ols regression in the field of international business?

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    Re: guys, is international business/strategy math heavy?

    Strategy can be math heavy. But there is a lot of work you can do that is qualitative too (although publishing within 4-5 years of a PhD with qualitative work is ...ambitious).

    Strategy borrows from lots of fields, I particularly like this paper "THE EXPANDING DOMAIN OF STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT RESEARCH AND THE QUEST FOR INTEGRATION" for a good overview of the field. Strategy borrows from econ, sociology, psychology, etc. Edit: heres a link to the article: The expanding domain of strategic... (PDF Download Available)

    All that said: learning things like diff in diff, propensity score matching, etc. may sound intimidating, but I think econometrics/data analysis is just explained poorly and can be quite intuitive (I mean, you don't have to calculate anything by hand, the computer does it for you ... you just need to identify how the data should be analyzed ...). There are some good videos on YouTube by "Doug McKee" and a book "Mostly Harmless Econometrics" that may help you.

    You'll be fine, every doubts their abilities. But you were accepted so the school believes you have what it takes.

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    Re: guys, is international business/strategy math heavy?

    Quote Originally Posted by StrategicMGMT View Post
    you were accepted so the school believes you have what it takes.
    I'm not in strategy, but I can emphasize this point. Because business PhDs admit such small classes, they really don't admit people that aren't qualified.

    Also, the statistical techniques aren't as intimidating as you may think. You need to understand what you are doing, but once you understand the assumptions that you are making and how you are identifying an effect, there isn't a lot of technical work left to do.

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    Re: guys, is international business/strategy math heavy?

    I don't have access to any journals (left school).

    I think International Business is not too math heavy right? The math used is mostly Basic OLS regression most of the time? And some work is qualitative case studies/semi structured interviews/Likert-scale surveys?

    Although I think some Economists are coming in with more Math heavy fancy stuff when they publish their work on capital flows etc. I can do basic OLS regression up to Logistic Regression...but I cannot compete with the Economists on their math of course...

    But still Likert-scale surveys and case studies do get published in A journals ya? My uni admitted like 20 ish people (4 for each discipline?) this year lol........

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    Re: guys, is international business/strategy math heavy?

    I just would like to add that math may be required not only for your research but also coursework.

    I'm in Marketing. I have to learn some heavy math, of course, because I'm into Quantitative Marketing. But the students who are into Consumer Behavior also have to take some courses that are pretty heavy in math (e.g., multivariate methods), even if they don't plan to use that kind of thing for their research and are more focused on psychology and sociology, instead of economics and math.

    Even OLS can be very hard during coursework, particularly if you don't remember things like matrices and derivatives. For research, usually it's a lot easier to do a regression because you use a software to do the hard work for you. But for coursework, you often need to at least understand how that hard work is done. You said you can do OLS regression, for example. But do you know how to do it (and understand what you are doing) without a software helping you, for example? If you can, your math is not as bad as you said.

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    Re: guys, is international business/strategy math heavy?

    Quote Originally Posted by StrategicMGMT View Post
    Strategy can be math heavy. But there is a lot of work you can do that is qualitative too (although publishing within 4-5 years of a PhD with qualitative work is ...ambitious).

    Strategy borrows from lots of fields, I particularly like this paper "THE EXPANDING DOMAIN OF STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT RESEARCH AND THE QUEST FOR INTEGRATION" for a good overview of the field. Strategy borrows from econ, sociology, psychology, etc. Edit: heres a link to the article: The expanding domain of strategic... (PDF Download Available)

    All that said: learning things like diff in diff, propensity score matching, etc. may sound intimidating, but I think econometrics/data analysis is just explained poorly and can be quite intuitive (I mean, you don't have to calculate anything by hand, the computer does it for you ... you just need to identify how the data should be analyzed ...). There are some good videos on YouTube by "Doug McKee" and a book "Mostly Harmless Econometrics" that may help you.

    You'll be fine, every doubts their abilities. But you were accepted so the school believes you have what it takes.
    hey thanks. the work doesnt look to be math heavy at all.

    i am just wondering, how is the tenure track job market like for an australian G8 phd in international business? also what industry options are there as backup?

    i am guessing business analyst, consulting (very competitive), what else? strategic planning....?

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    Re: guys, is international business/strategy math heavy?

    Quote Originally Posted by iwonder View Post
    can do basic OLS regression up to Logistic Regression...but I cannot compete with the Economists on their math of course...
    You will learn things during the program. Accounting is one of the more quantitative business fields and I can't compete with the economists either, but I have been able to understand the assumptions behind a bunch of different techniques and derive some stuff during the classes. I understand that you are nervous, but you will be ok. Ask current students what to do to prepare over the summer.

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    Re: guys, is international business/strategy math heavy?

    Keep in mind that you learn things in steps. Some of the more advanced economics approaches may seem daunting, but you won't be learning them your first week of class; you'll have to learn the basics first. As Brazilian stated, you already understand some basic regression analyses, and even that seems daunting to some people. Most things seem more difficult than they are, and when we approach them with the mindset that we can't do it, they will seem all the more difficult.

    As for access to journals, I would go on Google Scholar and see what you can access there. There are plenty of articles that may be accessible from the author or publisher. You could also access key books in the field from a local community library.

    Also - if you are in strategy and looking to do research on how the environment affects firms, I'm thinking that you won't be doing much with Likert scales. This depends on how micro your interests are; maybe you'll distribute some surveys to top management teams, but you'll likely be using a lot of proxy measures through public data to answer your questions. Yes, qualitative research is published at top journals, but can take a really long time to complete and get published, which is why StrategicMGMT said it was an ambitious goal. You may end up finding that using mixed methods is a better approach to ensure you are productive enough for publication and tenure. As for Likert scales...I've maybe seen a few articles in top journals using that type of survey of CEOs or TMTs, but as I stated, proxies and public data is more common because it's difficult to get a good response from TMTs on surveys, and they may have an agenda to not report certain things that could otherwise be determined through observational and public data sources.

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    Re: guys, is international business/strategy math heavy?

    Quote Originally Posted by iwonder View Post
    I don't have access to any journals (left school).

    I think International Business is not too math heavy right? The math used is mostly Basic OLS regression most of the time? And some work is qualitative case studies/semi structured interviews/Likert-scale surveys?

    Although I think some Economists are coming in with more Math heavy fancy stuff when they publish their work on capital flows etc. I can do basic OLS regression up to Logistic Regression...but I cannot compete with the Economists on their math of course...

    But still Likert-scale surveys and case studies do get published in A journals ya? My uni admitted like 20 ish people (4 for each discipline?) this year lol........
    I don't often see Likert scales being used in strategy, except for some micro topics that may involve administering surveys to CEOs or TMTs. Strategy researchers often use proxies based on public data since survey responses for CEOs and TMTs are usually quite low, and such info could be measured in other (perhaps less biased) ways. However, those that do use Likert scales and qualitative research such as case studies can be published in A journals. But keep in mind that qualitative research can take a long time to do (a few months to several years, depending on the project) and all papers take a long time to publish (maybe a minimum of 6 months, which is rare, or as long as 2-4+ years depending on the number of revisions and any additional data requests), which is why StrategicMGMT said it was an ambitious goal. You may struggle to publish qualitative research before getting your PhD, and struggle to publish enough qualitative articles in top journals to gain tenure. So I do not suggest relying on case studies (or Likert scales) only because they're comfortable for you. This will stunt your growth and success as a researcher.

    Keep in mind that everything is learned in steps. Some of the more advanced math may seem difficult now, but to a lot of people, regression seems difficult, too, and you've already learned that. You will learn the basics necessary in your courses to help you develop additional skills over time. And not all strategy researchers use complicated economics approaches. I suggest keeping an open and curious mind and try out many different techniques once you get through your foundational courses. You will want to build some competitive advantage by having expertise in areas that not everyone is using (everyone is familiar with regression).

    I suggest searching online for articles. Many authors and publishers provide full-text copies that you can access for free. You might not get the exact article you want, but should be able to find some that are in your general area of interest and see what kind of methods they use. Also, check if your undergraduate institution offers an alumni account with the library. You might be able to use their databases.

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    Re: guys, is international business/strategy math heavy?

    Sorry for the double post - I thought the first one didn't go through, but it just took some time to get approved.

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