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Thread: PhD questions

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Sep 2010
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    PhD questions

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    Hi everyone,

    I have a couple of question which I believe are relevant to Business PhD in general and Finance specifically.

    1) When applying to PhD program, should one look at the research rankings only (UT Dallas or ASU's) or should one also look at MBA rankings or perception in general? Like Maryland's MBA program might be somewhere between 30-35 but the doctoral program is top 20 or Utah's or ASU's research ranking may be higher than that of Vanderbilt or even Cornell but the latter's perception and B school ranking is relatively much higher.

    2) Is contacting a faculty at a particular doctoral program before the admission stage helpful or should one avoid it?


  2. #2
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    1. Ignore MBA rankings and take PhD rankings with a grain of salt. There are a lot of way to look at rankings. I would encourage you to look at the other forum posts that address this issue since it has been pretty well covered. I would simply add here that just because a school is highly ranked, doesn't mean you should go there. Rank is only one of many considerations for a phd.

    2. Avoid contacting faculty. With over 200 applicants applying each year, you are only going to present yourself as a pest to adcoms. This advice comes from a lot of conversations with faculty.

  3. #3
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    May 2010
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    I second the above sentiments

  4. #4
    Within my grasp!
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    Respectfully Disagree with a caveat

    At the end of the day you need to have someone at the school who both likes you and wants to work with you. The key is having a good reason to contact a professor if there is some way you can be of benefit to their research.

    That is exactly what I did. I reached out and contacted a professor who's research is just what I wanted to do.

    To make a long story short, in my case it did help.

    One of the reasons I contacted him was to ask the question, "If I am not admitted to your program, what other programs should I be trying to go to."

    Another tip, is it makes more sense to contact someone if you can via a referral. For example, "I was speaking to Sally Jones recently, and she suggested I get in touch with you regardy XYZ."

    This way it is a warm call vs. a cold call.


  5. #5
    Current marketing student
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    Contacting professors is a potentially risky move, but if you do it in the right way, it can pay dividends. I contacted professors while I was applying, and many of them replied. I'm not sure how it impacted my application at the various programs, but I don't think it hurt. If you do it in the right way, and the professors realize that you're informed, excited, and intelligent, it might help you quite a bit.

    Good luck!

  6. #6
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    Oct 2010
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    I recently contacted the head of a PhD program at a local university. I just sent him a quick e-mail, telling him I was interested in the program, was hoping to get some advice from him, and wanted to stop by for 15 minutes to introduce myself and get his point of view. He responded very quickly and granted me some of his time. I stopped by and chatted for a few minutes. He told me that he admired my ambition and enthusiasm in contacting him. I sent him a very short thank you letter, literally two sentences long. He was quick to respond, and I will remain in brief touch with him. Hopefully when it comes time to apply, he'll remember me!

    While my sales experience after college doesn't do much for my PhD resume, it did teach me the importance of building relationships. I don't think there is anything wrong with contacting faculty, as long as you humble yourself and be VERY respectful of their time.

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