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Thread: Profile Evaluation_PhD in Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Strategic Mgmt

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    Profile Evaluation_PhD in Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Strategic Mgmt

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    Hi All,

    I am looking for profile evaluation and some advice about pursuing Phd program. I am a working professional in technology industry with expertise in Fintech and retail Sector. Currently working in US for a well known organization at a management position. I am planning to make a move from a corporate world to Academic research and hence evaluating whether I can be a good fit for PhD program.

    Test Scores (GMAT/GRE): I have yet to give one. The 1st GMAT score is expired.
    Undergrad:
    Done Bachelors in Computer Engineering in 2003 - Mumbai University (Top Engineering school).
    Undegrad GPA: 3.75

    Masters degree:
    Recently completed MBA - One of Top 5 University.
    Areas of interest in Innovation Strategy & Marketing - Consumer Behavior


    Research Experience: No experience
    Teaching Experience: No experience
    Work Experience: 15 years in Technology Industry. Currently at Management positions


    Concentration Applying to:
    Number of programs planned to apply to: 5-6 universities
    Dream Schools:

    Kellogg, MIT, Havard, Booth, Stanford, Berkeley


    Other Questions:

    What made you want to pursue a PhD?
    Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management.
    On Marketing - Digital Marketing and Analytics.


    Questions or concerns you have about your profile?
    I am in my late 30s and planning to apply for PhD programs starting in 2020. For me my biggest concern is my age. University prefer PhD candidates in their late 20s and early 30s. Will this be any disadvantage for my profile.


    Any additional specific questions you may have:
    As I am applying for 2020 program, would it would be any help if I work with professor to gain academic research experience to solidify my profile.
    Due to industry experience, I am aware of few research topics that I am personally passionate about. Should I start exploring on those topics as well?

  2. #2
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    Re: Profile Evaluation_PhD in Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Strategic

    About your age concern.

    I'm 45 years old, and I'm not the oldest PhD student at my school. I also read a lot about age preference before applying to a PhD, and I was afraid of that. But now that I'm a PhD student, I really don't think that age is usually a problem. Of course there should be some schools that are like that, but generally speaking I don't think age should be a concern.

    The problem is often related to other factors, that have some correlation with age. For example, it will be harder for you to explain why you would give up on a successful career in industry to become a PhD student. You are probably used to standards in life that are quite better when compared to PhD students'.

    Like, it is harder to convince someone I'm passionate about research at 45. After all, they may think: "If he likes academic research that much, why did he wait until he is 45 years old to apply? Maybe he is just thinking doing a PhD is easier than getting a job. Maybe he just wants to move to the US". So, in this case, they are not worried about age, they are worried about my motivations to do a PhD.

    So, to me, age is not the problem. But age is related to experience, motivation, and other factors that can be a problem if you can't explain them, or if they do not make sense to schools. Given your profile, your motivation should be different from what schools hear from those in the 20s, So, your strategy should also be different. If an applicant is in the 20s, has no teaching experience, and no research experience, they can still convince schools that they just didn't have time for that yet, but that´s something that they are changing now. But you are in the late 30s. You had time for that kind of thing if you really wanted to. But, somehow, you never did any teaching or academic research, and now you want to convince someone you are willing to give up a good job in industry to live the hard life of a PhD student, doing something you've never done before, and committing yourself to do that for the rest of your career. It's not an easy sell, right?

    If you work on those other factors, age shouldn't be a concern.


    About your other concerns you mentioned.

    You wrote that you just recently completed your MBA. It looks like you already may have missed an opportunity there, since it's often easier to get involved somehow with research during a PhD than now. Yeah, it can help a lot if you work with a professor to get some academic research experience. And I see students getting closer to professors during MBAs to do exactly that, improving their chances of getting accepted to a PhD later (due to different factors, like some research experience to show, some research paper to attach to the application, a stronger letter of recommendation).

    Your profile so far seems a little weird to me too. Maybe it's ok, and I just don't have the information. But I think you need to do some work about what you want, what are your goals, how you are presenting yourself. Some examples:
    - You wrote that one of your areas of interest is Marketing - Consumer Behavior. When I see someone applying to Consumer Behavior, a common expectation I have is to see things related to fields like psychology or sociology. And I don't see anything that shows why Consumer Behavior would be your research area.
    - Every time I see a list of schools like yours (Harvard, MIT, Stanford, etc.), I get the feeling that not much work has been done on school selection. Research fit, for example, is usually one of the most important things to take into consideration when choosing schools, and we don't expect Harvard, MIT, and Stanford to have the same kind of research fit. If you fit very well in one of them, you probably do not fit well in at least some other one. This looks like a list of famous schools, not a list of schools that follows a good strategy to apply.
    - You didn't even really answer what made you pursue a PhD. You just mentioned some topics of interest, but not what you made you pursue a PhD.
    - Planning to apply to only 5-6 universities? That seems very low for PhD applications. I usually see at least 10, often around 15.
    - You wrote that you are "aware" of a few research topics. You sure need to be more than just "aware". You should ideally know what those topics are, how those topics are covered in academic research, who are some of the main professors and universities that work on that topic, what are the challenges people face regarding that topic, what are the methods used, how can you expect to make a contribution. You don't need to know everything, of course. But right now it sounds like you have no idea what you are getting into.

    So, right now things don't look good. Coming from industry. Applying to few schools, just top ones, probably without a good research fit. No research experience. No clear motivation. No mention about the quality of your letters of recommendation. No GMAT yet. A lot of writing about work experience, that often doesn't matter that much for PhD applications.

    But you still have time, you are not applying now. If you really want to go for a PhD, you work hard to improve your profile, and then things should look a lot better.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation_PhD in Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Strategic

    Quote Originally Posted by sgotpagar View Post
    Hi All,

    I am looking for profile evaluation and some advice about pursuing Phd program. I am a working professional in technology industry with expertise in Fintech and retail Sector. Currently working in US for a well known organization at a management position. I am planning to make a move from a corporate world to Academic research and hence evaluating whether I can be a good fit for PhD program.

    Test Scores (GMAT/GRE): I have yet to give one. The 1st GMAT score is expired.
    Undergrad:
    Done Bachelors in Computer Engineering in 2003 - Mumbai University (Top Engineering school).
    Undegrad GPA: 3.75

    Masters degree:
    Recently completed MBA - One of Top 5 University.
    Areas of interest in Innovation Strategy & Marketing - Consumer Behavior


    Research Experience: No experience
    Teaching Experience: No experience
    Work Experience: 15 years in Technology Industry. Currently at Management positions


    Concentration Applying to:
    Number of programs planned to apply to: 5-6 universities
    Dream Schools:

    Kellogg, MIT, Havard, Booth, Stanford, Berkeley


    Other Questions:

    What made you want to pursue a PhD?
    Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management.
    On Marketing - Digital Marketing and Analytics.


    Questions or concerns you have about your profile?
    I am in my late 30s and planning to apply for PhD programs starting in 2020. For me my biggest concern is my age. University prefer PhD candidates in their late 20s and early 30s. Will this be any disadvantage for my profile.


    Any additional specific questions you may have:
    As I am applying for 2020 program, would it would be any help if I work with professor to gain academic research experience to solidify my profile.
    Due to industry experience, I am aware of few research topics that I am personally passionate about. Should I start exploring on those topics as well?
    Without a GMAT score or more information about your profile, it is hard to evaluate your chances at the schools you've listed. I think a GMAT score in the 750 range will put you in the range of these universities (700 will put you in top 50 range). However, it is important to note that these schools are reaches for anyone. Programs may accept only 2 or 3 applicants a year which puts you out of the running if there are just 2 or 3 students who are evaluated more favorably than you.
    Age will not be too much of an issue. While there will be some schools (minority for sure) who won't consider you, there will be others who may prefer a candidate such as yourself. Don't discount your level of work experience - this is something that is going to make you a more competitive applicant in many ways. I would build upon this in your essays and be sure to tie how your work experience is going to inform your research and contribute to your research pipeline. Do you have any work ties that may lead to data collection opportunities later on? Do you have easy access to mangers who can provide qualitative information about some of the phenomenon you are interested in studying? How has your management experience contributed to the way you solve problems and develop solutions? Those are the kind of things that will give you an advantage over students who are fresh out of undergrad/MBA.
    I echo BrazilianPhD's suggestion of applying to more than 5 or 6 schools - particularly if you are targeting top ten programs. While the top ten will always be the top ten, you should also target schools that have strong research in your area of interest. I don't know marketing programs, so can't be of much help there. You may find that the best researchers in your area of interest aren't at schools like Harvard or Stanford.

    Yes, you should absolutely try to gain some academic work experience and you should also further explore any topics that are of particular interest to you. However, don't stress too much about having your research pipeline clearly laid out in time for your PhD applications. Oftentimes, the things we think we want to study when we come into the program quickly fall by the wayside once we learn more about the field and begin working with faculty and other students. Thinking back to my research statements that I submitted with my PhD applications, I cringe at the thought of how uninformed I was about the field I thought I wanted to study.

    While I appreciate BrazilianPhD's advice about needing to know more about the topics you are interested in studying, I don't think your knowledge needs to be quite as detailed as they suggest. While this level of knowledge is absolutely where you need to be to take your comprehensive exams after a year or two of study, it not exactly where you need to be to gain admission into a PhD program. And you likely wouldn't be expected to know or understand a lot of these things until you've had a decent amount of research experience.

    Also, is there any particular reason why you're primarily interested in marketing programs? I think your interests would also be well suited for a management PhD as well. Entrepreneurship is pretty hot right now and several management programs are seeking out students with these interests. I think your work experience would also be helpful in this case as well.

    Good luck!

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    Re: Profile Evaluation_PhD in Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Strategic

    Just to clarify some points. Parts of my answer were based on the assumption that this is an application for Marketing - Consumer Behavior.

    Can you use things like work experience and access to data / managers to strengthen your application? Yes. But usually, the Marketing researchers who give more value to that kind of thing are not the ones from Consumer Behavior.

    For example, data-driven research in marketing is often conducted by those from Quantitative Marketing, particularly empirical research. And research based on issues faced by marketing managers would usually be of major interest to researchers from Marketing Strategy. But, for CB, access to data and managers is not such a big deal.

    Among all major research areas in Marketing, CB is the strongest on the theoretical side. They want mostly theoretical contributions, their research is usually driven mainly by theory, not necessarily data or managerial issues. Of course, it's nice to have data and management issues in CB too, and JCR seems to be changing in that direction. However, for Quant Marketing and Marketing Strategy, that kind of thing is often life or death, while for CB it isn't.

    I'm a Quantitative Marketing PhD student who does empirical research. Without data, I'm really in big trouble, it's a dead end for me. It's not the same for CB. I used my work experience as an argument for my PhD application. But, as I said, I do empirical research, so that makes a lot of sense. For CB, maybe you can still use that argument, but certainly, it's not as straightforward.

    From what I've seen, CB students also get involved with research very quickly, compared to other research areas in Marketing, because their research process is quite different. Of course, research interests can change over time. But at least at my school, I think CB students are expected to have a very decent idea about their interests very early in the process. The CB student here was already making conference presentations of her paper in the second year, for example, almost a year before the comprehensive exams we have at the end of the second year.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation_PhD in Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Strategic

    Thank you for the advice BrazilianPhD and BCB. Yes I did gave my GMAT 5 years back and have score 720 but it is expired.
    I do have access to managers who can provide data. Definitely this is something that I am planning to put together in my essay along with my industry experience.

    For teaching experience, I don't have direct teaching experience, but 10 years back I was associated with an NGO for providing some educations for under privileged kids. The topics taught were not too complex hence that is not much of relevant teaching experience.
    My Marketing professor mentioned that as a teaching experience, you need to demonstrate how you arrange the syllabus on a topic, topics to cover(depending on the audience), engaged classroom experience and finally grading. The way you have to be dynamic in handling audience. My experience just cover small portion on topics coverage and classroom experience.

    I am targeting my application for year - 2020. I do have interest in Entrepreneurship as well but would need to read some research paper in this areas to get to know more about the research topics.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation_PhD in Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Strategic

    Quote Originally Posted by sgotpagar View Post

    For teaching experience, I don't have direct teaching experience, but 10 years back I was associated with an NGO for providing some educations for under privileged kids. The topics taught were not too complex hence that is not much of relevant teaching experience.
    My Marketing professor mentioned that as a teaching experience, you need to demonstrate how you arrange the syllabus on a topic, topics to cover(depending on the audience), engaged classroom experience and finally grading. The way you have to be dynamic in handling audience. My experience just cover small portion on topics coverage and classroom experience.
    Lots of applicants have no teaching experience at all. Among them, very few would be considered complex or really relevant. So, even if you have just a little teaching experience, it's more than a lot of applicants can show. That experience may also be some evidence of your interest and motivation to make a career change.

    Different universities give very different weights to teaching experience, and it's hard to know which ones prefer applicants with teaching experience. It's probably not going to be a decisive factor, but oftentimes small details can really make a difference.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation_PhD in Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Strategic

    Since BCB and Brazilian gave you some solid advice in terms of research interest-school-professor fit, GMAT score range, using your work and teaching experience to your advantage etc., I will focus on the second aspect of your question - advice on pursuing a PhD.

    I come with a very similar background as yours and have just been through the 1st semester of my PhD program. The first and most important adjustment you have to be prepared to face is on the monetary front. 15 years in the industry means that you might have a six figure salary and depending on the exact number, you have be prepared to live in 1/4th - 1/6th of your current salary. Choice of program based on interest-school-professor fit and the program's choice of you as a student means you have to be prepared to relocate. If it is a big city you move to, then managing in the stipend is something you have to be ready for and if you have a working spouse and school going children, your problems just get complicated (till your spouse can start supporting you again). Having been an 'Indian in the technology industry', I can make a fair guess of your lifestyle, and unfortunately have to say that even on this front you need to be ready to compromise. Since you completed your MBA recently, you might have lived such a life in the recent past, but remember that typical PhD duration (in strategy) is about six years.

    The journey does not end there (without financial constraints though). The academia is struggling with long publication timelines and high rejection rates in top journals. Tenure requirements mean that the grind continues for another 6-7 years after one graduates.

    I do not mean to discourage you at all but want you to know the things you have to be ready to put up with if you decide to be serious about pursuing a PhD. I was very sure I wanted to get one even though I knew it called for substantial adjustments.

    Second, this forum is very generous with solid advice, but on top of that I would suggest you look at your network, find connections who have been through this journey and speak to them just to get feelers. This exercise will force you to be somewhat clear about the field and topics you are interested in. This will lead you to some known names and their works in that field. Try to map these works to your work experience and you will see if there is an interesting phenomena you can have discussions about with those connections. When you decide that you are going to take the plunge, this will help in your SOP to a good extent.

    Third, and winding back into the advice you already received, apply widely if you are serious about making this switch. Go through previous threads and you will see year after year veterans have emphasized that the application process is a black box. So applying widely is the only wise strategy.
    Last edited by ThePhDAspirant; 01-05-2019 at 05:34 AM.

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