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Thread: Profile Evaluation: PhD in Marketing

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    Profile Evaluation: PhD in Marketing

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    GRE: Verbal 165 (95%), Quant 159 (74%) *this was a long time out of school and I have studied and will retake
    Undegrad GPA: 3.51
    Undergrad Degree: Design (merit scholarships)
    Graduate GPA: 3.82
    Graduate Degree: MS Marketing (merit scholarships)
    Research Experience: I have a thesis paper for my MS degree
    Teaching Experience: I was a TA 1 year for a Java Programming course
    Work Experience: Significant work experience (10 years) up to director level in marketing (specifically in design management)

    Concentration applying to: Marketing (Innovation, New Products)
    Number of programs planned to apply to: 15-20
    Dream schools: NYU, Columbia, Duke

    WhyPhD:
    I became extraordinarily interested in creativity and innovation during my career and masters studies. I have researched and written a great deal on marketing tech and design thinking but nothing published. It has really spurred me and I could see myself spending a career in the field.

    My Questions:

    1. I am retaking GRE after months of studying so my scores should improve. Will great GRE score help me possibly get into a Top 10 or Top 30 school?

    2. If I can apply to 15-20 schools how many top schools if any should I put in my list?

    3. Also I am a little confused about ranking. Is everyone here referring to the UT-Dallas list or the US News MBA list or something else when classifying schools by rank?

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    Re: Profile Evaluation: PhD in Marketing

    1 -
    Great GRE scores will help with the initial evaluation of your application, a good first impression. But even a perfect GRE will not get you into a top 10 school, if that's all you have to show. Top 10 and top 30 schools are extremely competitive, it's hard even for very strong applicants. I don't think top 10 schools will have much trouble getting applicants with 170Q GRE for Quantitative Marketing.

    2 -
    First, we don't have much information about you (you still don't have the final GRE score, we don't know the strength of your recommendations, etc.). But, from what you wrote, your profile doesn't sound particularly strong to me. The only part that is really above average is work experience, but work experience carry very little weight for PhD applications. I really think you should apply widely, instead of focusing on top 10 or top 30.

    Second, research fit is more important than rank. Applying to a lower ranked school with excellent fit is better than applying to a top school with awful fit. And I don't know how many of the top schools are a good research fit for you, that's something you need to investigate by yourself. If 10 out of top 10 are a perfect fit (not going to happen, for the sake of the argument), then I see no problem in applying to all of them. If none of the top 10 are a perfect fit (not going to happen either), then it's probably a bad idea to apply to those schools.

    3 - Solving that confusion is part of the process. MBA rankings are worth little, if anything. UT-Dallas is probably the best that we have, but still far from perfect. In the end, the best way is to develop your own ranking system. No general ranking system can tell how good is the research fit that I mentioned, for example. UT-Dallas also do not take into consideration many important aspects to be taken into consideration, like the quality of placement.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation: PhD in Marketing

    Re 2: I applied to about 12 schools. Something like 4 in top 10, about 4 in top 30, 3 in top 50, 1 in top 100. Bit of a shotgun approach but it worked for me. I was a bit of a nontraditional applicant (10 years work experience, no real experience in my field) and didn't have very recent, relevant research (eg, wasn't coming with recent research and a letter of recommendation from top faculty in my field) so I wasn't sure how it would play out for me.

    Re 3: Of course name recognition and UT-Dallas are heuristics, but the biggest things for me were research fit (ie, which specific faculty would I want to work with? Who is publishing research relevant to my interests) and faculty placements. Every school should tell you where they've placed graduates in the past ten years or so. Plenty of "top 50" schools have really strong placement records with every graduate landing a Top 50 Tenure Track appointment. If a Top 30 school is sending a handful of graduates to TT in Top 10 schools with everyone else landing in Top 30...that's a great sign. If the school is sending everyone to post-docs at mediocre places or 75%+ to industry, then you should be concerned (unless that's what you want to do).

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    Re: Profile Evaluation: PhD in Marketing

    Thanks so much for the explanations, that really helped me understand this processs more!

    I ended up getting GRE scores 169V 164Q on my retest but it sounds like that still might not be enough to impress the top schools.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation: PhD in Marketing

    I scored 166V/164Q and got into Michigan, got to phone/skype interviews at Harvard and Cornell (but ultimately didn't get offers). GRE isn't everything. With your unique background, if you write a compelling SOP, they could definitely be interested in you. It's worth a shot.

    That said, if you're dead set on doing a PhD (I was...) apply widely. Nothing is guaranteed, because of how important fit is. Eg, in marketing, they might not be looking for consumer behavior candidates this year, etc.

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