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Thread: Profile Evaluation - Ph.D. in Business (possibly Marketing (OB))

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    Question Profile Evaluation - Ph.D. in Business (possibly Marketing (OB))

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    Hi all,

    I plan to apply for Ph.D. programs in Business - Marketing Fall 2021. I still have several months to prepare my applications before the new application round starts.
    I would be appreciated if you could throw in any advice or suggestions to improve my applications.

    Below is my profile:

    - Test Scores
    (GRE): 168Q, 158V, 4.5W


    - Undegrad GPA
    : 3.71/4.0, Bachelor of International Business Administration

    - Graduate GPA:
    4.0/4.0 , Master of Business Administration
    and 4.0/4.0, Master of Science in Management Science Business Analytics

    - Research Experience:
    Research assistant during my first Master's program.
    One journal publication, the published paper is about Behavioral effects in supply chain contract .

    - Teaching Experience:
    Teaching Assistant for Statistics and Decision Modeling during my second Master's program

    - Work Experience:
    3 years of industry working experience as a customer service staff

    - Concentration Applying to: Marketing (consumer behavior), Strategic Management or Economics (experimental/behavioral economics - this is the field that I researched during my first Master's program)

    - Number of programs planned to apply to:
    around 10

    - Dream Schools:
    Georgia Tech, UF, Purdue

    Other Questions:

    What made you want to pursue a PhD?

    I want to have a career in academia.

    Questions or concerns you have about your profile?
    I am not sure if my profile is strong enough for Marketing. I did not have a strong academic background in Marketing or any research experience in this field.

    Any additional specific questions you may have:
    What are the chances that I will get into one of the top 100 Ph.D. business program?
    What can I do until the next application round to improve my profile?

    Thank you and I look forward to any advice that you may have!

    Regards



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    Re: Profile Evaluation - Ph.D. in Business (possibly Marketing (OB))

    1 - "Number of programs planned to apply to: around 10" - It seems a low number to me. Not too low, but competition for PhD programs in marketing can be fierce, and you probably can find more than 10 schools that would be a good fit.

    2 - "I want to have a career in academia." - Well, this is like stating the obvious. If you don't want to have a career in academia, you probably shouldn't be applying to a PhD in business anyway. This tells us nothing about your motivation. I know this is just a post here, but be sure that you have a much better answer for that question when you write your Statement of Purpose. Faculty want to see strong, specific reasons.

    3 - There is a lot of things that look quantitative stuff in your profile ("168Q", "Business Analytics", "Statistics and Decision Modeling", "Economics"). You may be asked, or faculty may wonder, why you are applying to Consumer Behavior, and not Quantitative Marketing, for example. So, you'd better be ready to explain that too.

    4 - "I did not have a strong academic background in Marketing or any research experience in this field." - For marketing PhD, I think it's actually rare to see people who have a background in marketing. For Consumer Behavior, you see people with a background in fields like psychology, and sociology. For Quantitative Marketing, you see things like economic, and engineering. But there is room in Marketing PhD programs for philosophy, arts, chemistry, journalism, architecture, computer science, among other fields. So, lack of background in marketing is not an issue. For Consumer Behavior, I think it's actually better a background in Psychology than in Marketing, for example.

    5 - "What are the chances that I will get into one of the top 100 Ph.D. business program?" - Your profile seems to be quite strong to me. Not a bad GRE and GPA. Research, teaching, and work experience. Even a paper published. You have a lot more than many applicants. I'm actually kinda surprised to see you asking about top 100, and not top 50, for example.


    6 - "What can I do until the next application round to improve my profile?" - Your profile seems strong, but unfocused, vague. This makes it hard to see what you should do. I don't even know your topic of interest. At least that's the feeling I got. If you didn't tell me that you intend to Consumer Behavior, I don't think I would ever guess it. So, I'm not sure what you have to show schools that you are really a Consumer Behavior applicant, that CB is really your thing, that you are passionate, motivated, and certain about it. If you have those things, you should highlight them, because right now we need to look hard to find something. At very least, you should work on your strategy. to make you look you are the right person, in the right concentration, for the right advisor, in the right program.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation - Ph.D. in Business (possibly Marketing (OB))

    You’ll definitely get in somewhere for either Marketing or Strategy if you apply broadly enough. Your GPAs are fine and GRE scores are right around the median for the schools you listed. The work experience and RA experience were helpful for my profile and will be for yours. So it just mostly will come down to a numbers game at that point and “fit”. I was admitted to a lower tier R1 in Strategy with full funding with a worse profile. I would suggest contacting the PhD coordinator for the programs you are interested in applying if possible to try and get on their radar, especially if it is a smaller program. It went a long way in establishing rapport with the program I was accepted to and signals your interest early on if you can convey that to a decision maker.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation - Ph.D. in Business (possibly Marketing (OB))

    Quote Originally Posted by BrazilianPhD View Post
    1 - "Number of programs planned to apply to: around 10" - It seems a low number to me. Not too low, but competition for PhD programs in marketing can be fierce, and you probably can find more than 10 schools that would be a good fit.

    ----> Yeah, thank you for pointing it out. I will apply for more than 10 programs, maybe 15...

    2 - "I want to have a career in academia." - Well, this is like stating the obvious. If you don't want to have a career in academia, you probably shouldn't be applying to a PhD in business anyway. This tells us nothing about your motivation. I know this is just a post here, but be sure that you have a much better answer for that question when you write your Statement of Purpose. Faculty want to see strong, specific reasons.

    ---> Sure, I will be more specific in my SOP.
    3 - There is a lot of things that look quantitative stuff in your profile ("168Q", "Business Analytics", "Statistics and Decision Modeling", "Economics"). You may be asked, or faculty may wonder, why you are applying to Consumer Behavior, and not Quantitative Marketing, for example. So, you'd better be ready to explain that too.

    ---> I never thought about this. Actually, I did not take many math-related courses in my bachelors' and masters' programs even though the program names may seem to involve a lot of math. Anyway, I will prepare myself for such a question.


    4 - "I did not have a strong academic background in Marketing or any research experience in this field." - For marketing PhD, I think it's actually rare to see people who have a background in marketing. For Consumer Behavior, you see people with a background in fields like psychology, and sociology. For Quantitative Marketing, you see things like economic, and engineering. But there is room in Marketing PhD programs for philosophy, arts, chemistry, journalism, architecture, computer science, among other fields. So, lack of background in marketing is not an issue. For Consumer Behavior, I think it's actually better a background in Psychology than in Marketing, for example.
    ---> I see your point. I checked several PhD in Marketing programs and did find that most of the students in the Consumer Behavior tract have a background in Psychology or Sociology. This somehow makes me feel less competitive as an applicant for PhD in Marketing - CB.

    5 - "What are the chances that I will get into one of the top 100 Ph.D. business program?" - Your profile seems to be quite strong to me. Not a bad GRE and GPA. Research, teaching, and work experience. Even a paper published. You have a lot more than many applicants. I'm actually kinda surprised to see you asking about top 100, and not top 50, for example.
    --> Thank you. It does make me feel more confident

    6 - "What can I do until the next application round to improve my profile?" - Your profile seems strong, but unfocused, vague. This makes it hard to see what you should do. I don't even know your topic of interest. At least that's the feeling I got. If you didn't tell me that you intend to Consumer Behavior, I don't think I would ever guess it. So, I'm not sure what you have to show schools that you are really a Consumer Behavior applicant, that CB is really your thing, that you are passionate, motivated, and certain about it. If you have those things, you should highlight them, because right now we need to look hard to find something. At very least, you should work on your strategy. to make you look you are the right person, in the right concentration, for the right advisor, in the right program.

    ---> You are absolutely right. I guess my biggest weakness is not knowing what I am really interested in. I guess what I can do until the next application round are researching programs (professors) and finalizing my interested research area(s).


    Thank you again for spending your time giving detailed and helpful feedback.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation - Ph.D. in Business (possibly Marketing (OB))

    Quote Originally Posted by phd2017 View Post
    You’ll definitely get in somewhere for either Marketing or Strategy if you apply broadly enough. Your GPAs are fine and GRE scores are right around the median for the schools you listed. The work experience and RA experience were helpful for my profile and will be for yours. So it just mostly will come down to a numbers game at that point and “fit”. I was admitted to a lower tier R1 in Strategy with full funding with a worse profile. I would suggest contacting the PhD coordinator for the programs you are interested in applying if possible to try and get on their radar, especially if it is a smaller program. It went a long way in establishing rapport with the program I was accepted to and signals your interest early on if you can convey that to a decision maker.
    Hi, thank you! Your advice not only encourages me but it also helps me a lot.
    I feel discouraged sometimes thinking that I am not good enough to get into a PhD program.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation - Ph.D. in Business (possibly Marketing (OB))

    1 - I never thought about this. Actually, I did not take many math-related courses in my bachelors' and masters' programs even though the program names may seem to involve a lot of math. Anyway, I will prepare myself for such a question.

    --->
    Don't wait for them to ask that question. Try to develop your application is a way that people will not wonder too much about it, and if they do, you already provided an answer (in your Statement of Purpose, for example).


    2 - I see your point. I checked several PhD in Marketing programs and did find that most of the students in the Consumer Behavior tract have a background in Psychology or Sociology. This somehow makes me feel less competitive as an applicant for PhD in Marketing - CB.

    --->
    Sorry if I'm going to say something that you already know. And what I'm going to write is a simplified version, things are not so black and white.

    Different tracks in Marketing research have different roles. So, understanding what is the role of CB for Marketing research can be very important for your application strategy.

    Compared to other types of marketing research (e.g, pure quantitative marketing, empirical modelling, marketing strategy), CB's strongest suit is probably its capacity to explain why things happen, the theoretical underpinnings for something.

    For example, as an empirical modelling researcher, I can use data to show that more consumer loyalty leads to more sales. But it's harder for me to explain why that happens, and provide evidence for my explanation. So, I rely on CB research to get those explanations.

    In order to explain why consumer loyalty is related to sales, we need to understand the psychology or the sociology of consumers. What they think, and feel? How social aspects influence those thoughts and feelings?

    That's why you see a lot of people with psychology and sociology backgrounds among CB researchers. The explanations are not from marketing, but from psychology and sociology.

    So, yeah, you are less competitive as an applicant for CB because you don't have that. I'm not saying you can't get accepted, or anything like that. Your profile is strong, being less competitive doesn't mean you are not competitive. But it is something to think about, to see how you can convince schools that you can handle that, even without the typical background.

    I'm a Quant Marketing student. When I applied, I also had some weaknesses, things that quant applicants usually have, and I didn't. I was asked about them during my interview, and I had an answer for that. To try to show that I was aware of that weakness, that I was already taking steps to take care of it.

    You have your weakness, almost all applicant have some important weaknesses. That's ok. But your attitude towards that weakness matters a lot during applications. So, after you decide your topics of interests, I recommend you to try to really understand the major psychology and sociology theories related to that topic. The vocabulary, the concepts, the frameworks. They can be very hard to grasp if you are new to it, and it can take some time. So you can talk to a professor during an interview, for example, and sound more like a CB applicant, with the proper words, and concepts, for example.

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