View Full Version : Business PhD's for development?

08-25-2007, 01:42 AM
Dear folks,

I am planning to apply to a bunch of econ phd programs this year. I will be aiming high (top 20), as I have been informed that I am almost certain to be accepted at my present school (which has a top-15 econ dept).

My chief research interest is in development economics. As a researcher, I would hope to be able to produce a personally satisfying mix of theoretic and empirical work. I am also interested in environment, institutions, IO. I would hope to end up as faculty at a research university, and hopefully consulting for places like the WB.

Given this background, my question is: Should I also consider business PhD programs? Would such a program allow me to focus on my interests?

I doubt business schools would have faculty with much interest in development. Would this be a major problem?

Any business schools in particular that you would recommend to me?

many thanks,

08-25-2007, 04:59 PM
At first this seemed like an off-the-wall idea to me. But I can see studying development as part of a business Ph.D. program if you approach it from the angle of looking at how NGOs and governments function in the development context...

08-25-2007, 05:55 PM
I'd have a hard time imagining you would find faculty with similar interests. However, perhaps it would be possible to coordinate with the econ department and include some graduate level development courses? It may be difficult to find a job, but you could be creating a niche for yourself?

It's certainly an interesting thought.

Karina 07
08-25-2007, 08:08 PM
Maybe talk with professors at some of these Business Ph.D. programs that you're thinking of applying to before actually applying, lest you go through the whole application process and start there only to find out it's no good for you.

There are parts of the WB that focus on business, I think. I'm not sure if people with MBAs tend to do the consulting, though. I would reckon that they would at least at smaller organizations, though it's not my area of expertise. Not that this would keep you out of the ballgame. Just musing.

It does seem to be a fairly weird way to go about things, though. It might be better to go through an econ program (where you are sure to find people interested in development) and just put a business focus in the program. You're likely to have to talk with numerous profs anyway, so might as well go somewhere where you are sure you'll have access to both the development people and the business people. Unless you're lucky enough to find a prof who's interested in exactly what you are, but imho those are still more likely to be housed in econ rather than business departments. But again, I don't really know, best to look hard at the specific places you're thinking of applying.

08-25-2007, 08:52 PM
Hmm. The general sense seems to be that a business phd probably isnt the ideal place for research in development (at least, on topics like health, education, etc.) Given that I am in the fortunate position of having a likely admit to a top-15 department, I probably will not bother with applying to business programs.

Thanks, everyone.

08-27-2007, 06:57 PM
I think you should check International Business programs which are offered in some business schools. See for instance the one at University of Michigan. You could probably do some development topics there.

Golden Rule
08-29-2007, 11:04 AM
best_laid_plans -- slow down there.

I would not ignore either Stanford GSB's PhD program or Harvard's Bus. Ec program.

Here's info on Stanford:
PhD Program: Stanford GSB (http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/phd/)
At the very least take advantage of their online chat session this month.

Here's Harvard's info:
Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (http://www.gsas.harvard.edu/programs_of_study/business_economics.php)

I think Harvard and Stanford have a dissertation or two that are in line with your interests.

Also, for those wondering about the World Bank's private sector initiatives, take a look at their private sector development blog.
PSD Blog - World Bank Group (http://psdblog.worldbank.org/psdblog/)

09-02-2007, 01:21 AM
Check out Vij Ramachandran at Georgetown - she is a dev economist and did business econ...

09-04-2007, 08:01 PM
Golden Rule -- thanks very much! The profiles you point to have phenomenal placements. This is very helpful.