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PhD in marketing Profile evaluation


Tod
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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

I’m planning to apply to Marketing CB Ph.D. programs and I’m a bit worried that I might come up short. I'm hoping you guys can give me some honest opinions on my profile and what range of schools I should aim for. But any comment is appriciated! Thank you in advance!

Test Scores (GMAT/GRE): (Note: It often helps a lot more if you list the percentiles each of your raw/composite scores are associated with)

GMAT: 700 (88%) Q51(97%)  V33 (68%)

Undegrad GPA: 3.76/4.00

Graduate GPA: None

Research Experience: spent 2 years wroking in a psychology lab working on topics related to social memory. Working on an independent project on the topic of health decision making and licensing effect. Working on honors project on the topic of prosocial behavior and decision making. 

Teaching Experience: TA for one class for one semester. 

Work Experience: None

Concentration Applying to: Ph.D. in marketing consumer behaviors track (Interested topics include things like decision-making, motivation, prosocial behavior and emotions.

Number of programs planned to apply to: 12-15

Dream Schools: Harvard, Pittsuburg, Northwestern

LOR: 2 marketing professors that I am currently working with, 1 business professor that I TAed for.

Other Questions:

Really not sure how I stand in the applicant pool. I don't have a good understanding of how competitive my profile is, I guess. I do not have any published work yet and I am not quite sure what range of schools I should aim for. 

What made you want to pursue a PhD?

The biggest reason is to do research. I am interesting in understanding the reasons behind people's behaviors, especially the decision-making process. There are so many nuances that can make a difference on the final descision, understanding them better is my biggest motivation. 

 

Questions or concerns you have about your profile?

The biggest concern is my GMAT is not very high, and I don't have any publications. 

Thank you!

 

 

 

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Not many people left here, and it may take some time until any of us check how things are going here. 

You GMAT is not very high, but it's not low. It should be enough for many programs, and then they will worry about the other parts of your application. 

I'm in Marketing, but not CB so it's a little harder for me to judge your profile. But I think it looks quite strong. 

Of course if you target the top of the top, it's always hard to tell no matter how strong you are. As people here often say, top 20 are a crapshoot. But if you target a more reasonable range (e.g., top 50), I think your chances are very good. 

Selecting the right schools that are a good match for you will make a big difference. And your research interests and goals seem to be still vague and all over the place. Like, "people's behaviors, especially the decision-making process" probably describes almost the whole field of CB and almost every CB applicant. It's not something that will show a good match or give you a competitive advantage. As you said, "there are so many nuances that can make a difference on the final decision." So, which nuances you're really motivated to study? Which nuances you can explain your motivation in a convincing way? And which schools have the experts, or the resources, or something else to research that nuance?

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1 hour ago, BrazilianPhD said:

Not many people left here, and it may take some time until any of us check how things are going here. 

You GMAT is not very high, but it's not low. It should be enough for many programs, and then they will worry about the other parts of your application. 

I'm in Marketing, but not CB so it's a little harder for me to judge your profile. But I think it looks quite strong. 

Of course if you target the top of the top, it's always hard to tell no matter how strong you are. As people here often say, top 20 are a crapshoot. But if you target a more reasonable range (e.g., top 50), I think your chances are very good. 

Selecting the right schools that are a good match for you will make a big difference. And your research interests and goals seem to be still vague and all over the place. Like, "people's behaviors, especially the decision-making process" probably describes almost the whole field of CB and almost every CB applicant. It's not something that will show a good match or give you a competitive advantage. As you said, "there are so many nuances that can make a difference on the final decision." So, which nuances you're really motivated to study? Which nuances you can explain your motivation in a convincing way? And which schools have the experts, or the resources, or something else to research that nuance?

Thank you for getting back to me and thank you for answering me questions. I have posted elsewhere before and usually no response for a long time. So I was surprised when I received a comment. Thank you for your time and help!

I wanted to ask you a follow up question, if that is ok, on my research interest and goals. I do understand your point that presenting a clear goal would be benifitial to the school and me. Just to make sure I understand you. For instance, since my interest is in decision-making, would listing "decision-makingin the context of charitable donation" be a more specific and more appropriate topic and research interest? Or is that still too vague? I started using phrases like "decision-making" or "prosocial behavior" after I read through some schools' websites and their professors' CVs. I found that these are the type of language they are using. Would it be a negative to use the same language? Or should I try to use the same language but also mention more specific contexts of for example,  "decision-making"?

Last question, from my past understanding, I though how I match with a school is primerily determented by whether the school have professors that conduct research on topics that interests me. But from your answer there seems to be a lot more elements than just that. Would you talk a little more on what are some other factors that an applicant should consider when considering whether a program is a good fit to them or not. 

Thanks again!

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About the research interests and goals, certainly it's very hard to know how specific they should be.

Sometimes you need to be vague because not many schools research what you want to study. For example, there was one applicant here whose interest was sports marketing. That's vague, but narrowing it down doesn't make much sense because experts on sports marketing are already rare. Saying "sports marketing" is probably enough to show a good match for a program that researches sports marketing, as there aren't many around. 

But that's not the case for something like decision-making, when virtually every CB program does research about that. If any program looks good, then no program looks the best. It becomes very hard for the school to evaluate if its program is the best for you or other program would be better. 

My personal preference is to show the research interests using some examples of research questions that you would like to address. It's much easier to understand what are the research interests when we see the questions, and it also shows that you think and communicate as a researcher. Research topics are rarely interesting by themselves. But good research questions can pique the interest of professors, especially when you really have a good match. They would be curious to know more about your ideas. 

For example, saying your interest is "prosocial behavior and decision making" sounds vague and not so interesting to me. But if you tell me that you want to study "how exposure to stressful experiences affects people's willingness to donate money to charity", then I'm much more curious to know about what you have in mind. In this example, manipulating stress during experiments can be a challenge because of ethical concerns, and I would want to see what's your proposed solution for that. Thus, I would be more tempted to interview you so we could discuss your ideas. 

But that's my own way of thinking, certainly that's not the only way to show your research interests. 

About matching with a school, I believe there are several elements. Research topic is certainly one, and probably the most important. But I don't think that's the only one.

A few others that come to my mind are research methodology (e.g., a program which uses biological data and experiments to understand CB), access to data or laboratories (this was a big part of my PhD interview), partnerships with industry (maybe less relevant for CB), culture of the university and department (e.g., competitive or collaborative environment), job placement (you want programs that will lead to the job opportunities that you want), city (some people have a hard time living in a city they don't like because the city is too cold/hot, too small/big, etc.), personality and style of the potential advisor (e.g., very hands-on or hands-off), faculty's networking (sometimes you are also interested in their connections). 

And sometimes a good match is not doing the same thing, but complementary things. For example, maybe the program is not a good match for the topic. But maybe you are already good enough regarding that, and so you are actually searching for someone who can help you with the methodology, not the topic. Then, you contribute with your expertise about the topic, and the program contributes with its expertise about the methodology. It can still be a good match. 

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2 hours ago, BrazilianPhD said:

About the research interests and goals, certainly it's very hard to know how specific they should be.

Sometimes you need to be vague because not many schools research what you want to study. For example, there was one applicant here whose interest was sports marketing. That's vague, but narrowing it down doesn't make much sense because experts on sports marketing are already rare. Saying "sports marketing" is probably enough to show a good match for a program that researches sports marketing, as there aren't many around. 

But that's not the case for something like decision-making, when virtually every CB program does research about that. If any program looks good, then no program looks the best. It becomes very hard for the school to evaluate if its program is the best for you or other program would be better. 

My personal preference is to show the research interests using some examples of research questions that you would like to address. It's much easier to understand what are the research interests when we see the questions, and it also shows that you think and communicate as a researcher. Research topics are rarely interesting by themselves. But good research questions can pique the interest of professors, especially when you really have a good match. They would be curious to know more about your ideas. 

For example, saying your interest is "prosocial behavior and decision making" sounds vague and not so interesting to me. But if you tell me that you want to study "how exposure to stressful experiences affects people's willingness to donate money to charity", then I'm much more curious to know about what you have in mind. In this example, manipulating stress during experiments can be a challenge because of ethical concerns, and I would want to see what's your proposed solution for that. Thus, I would be more tempted to interview you so we could discuss your ideas. 

But that's my own way of thinking, certainly that's not the only way to show your research interests. 

About matching with a school, I believe there are several elements. Research topic is certainly one, and probably the most important. But I don't think that's the only one.

A few others that come to my mind are research methodology (e.g., a program which uses biological data and experiments to understand CB), access to data or laboratories (this was a big part of my PhD interview), partnerships with industry (maybe less relevant for CB), culture of the university and department (e.g., competitive or collaborative environment), job placement (you want programs that will lead to the job opportunities that you want), city (some people have a hard time living in a city they don't like because the city is too cold/hot, too small/big, etc.), personality and style of the potential advisor (e.g., very hands-on or hands-off), faculty's networking (sometimes you are also interested in their connections). 

And sometimes a good match is not doing the same thing, but complementary things. For example, maybe the program is not a good match for the topic. But maybe you are already good enough regarding that, and so you are actually searching for someone who can help you with the methodology, not the topic. Then, you contribute with your expertise about the topic, and the program contributes with its expertise about the methodology. It can still be a good match. 

Thank you for your advise! Your explaination about how to make my research interests more interresting does make a lot of sense! I agree and I will work on it to talk about my research interests in a more specific way! Thank you for your help!

But I guess this causes another issue in my opinion. Since a typical student apply to somewhere around 12 schools, does this mean I should have about 12 very specific research topics in order to apply to the 12 schools? Based on my past experience, I did find that my interest is broad and if I tried to narrow down to one or two specific topics, I would only be left with 3 or 4 schools to apply to. For example, based on my past experience, I developed an interest in how consumers make sequential choices, this is a topic that not many researchers work on. Most of them, as far as I know, narrow down to one decision. So I was unable to find too many schools that have faculty work on this type of research. What I have been doing so far is to read the work of one or two professors at a school then in my SOP I would discuss how I can add value to their work. For example, what are my ideas to expand their findings or test theory with alternative explinations if the paper did not discuss an explination to the effect. Would you consider this to be a good way to show that I am interested in their faculty's work and I would be a good fit for them? 

Thank you explaining to me what the elements are in finding a school that matches with me. Some of these elements I have never heard of. So thank you for the information! Could I also ask you a question about one of those elements? You mentioned access to data and laboratories, could you expand on that a little? Does this just mean wether the school has a good participant pool or Mturk fundings? I am not sure that I understand this part and you said this was a big part of your interview. 

Thank you again for taking your time to responde to me! I really appreciate your help! 

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I think it's a balance. Too generic is bad, but too specific is also bad. Remember, you should be able to provide convincing reasons that explain your motivation behind a research interest. Why exactly that research interest fits your purpose? Usually, it's already hard to do that with a few research interests, so it would be much harder to do for 12 of them. 

That also applies to that idea of expanding the findings of professors. It helps to show that you checked their work, but that by itself doesn't show you are motivated to do that. Also, discussing the professors' research puts you on disadvantage because certainly the professors know much more about their research than you do. If your alternative explanations don't make sense or the professors don't like them, you can get into a big discussion that you probably have no chance of winning. I was prepared to talk about that during the interview, for example, but I didn't use that in my applications. 

At least for me, my motivation and my purpose were not driven by my advisor's research. Sure, I saw some ways that I could expand on the research he does, but that doesn't explain my motivation to do research. I can do that even for papers that I have absolutely no interest. 

About data and laboratories, imagine that having a laboratory like this would be exactly what you need to do the research of your dreams: https://kelley.iu.edu/faculty-research/departments/marketing/research/labs/customer-interface-lab.html

If your research needs a laboratory like this, and the university has a laboratory like this, then it's only natural to conclude that you may be a good match for the university. And that's quite specific, it's not every university that has this kind of laboratory. 

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I think it's a balance. Too generic is bad, but too specific is also bad. Remember, you should be able to provide convincing reasons that explain your motivation behind a research interest. Why exactly that research interest fits your purpose? Usually, it's already hard to do that with a few research interests, so it would be much harder to do for 12 of them. 

That also applies to that idea of expanding the findings of professors. It helps to show that you checked their work, but that by itself doesn't show you are motivated to do that. Also, discussing the professors' research puts you on disadvantage because certainly the professors know much more about their research than you do. If your alternative explanations don't make sense or the professors don't like them, you can get into a big discussion that you probably have no chance of winning. I was prepared to talk about that during the interview, for example, but I didn't use that in my applications. 

At least for me, my motivation and my purpose were not driven by my advisor's research. Sure, I saw some ways that I could expand on the research he does, but that doesn't explain my motivation to do research. I can do that even for papers that I have absolutely no interest. 

About data and laboratories, imagine that having a laboratory like this would be exactly what you need to do the research of your dreams: https://kelley.iu.edu/faculty-research/departments/marketing/research/labs/customer-interface-lab.html

If your research needs a laboratory like this, and the university has a laboratory like this, then it's only natural to conclude that you may be a good match for the university. And that's quite specific, it's not every university that has this kind of laboratory. 

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6 hours ago, BrazilianPhD said:

I think it's a balance. Too generic is bad, but too specific is also bad. Remember, you should be able to provide convincing reasons that explain your motivation behind a research interest. Why exactly that research interest fits your purpose? Usually, it's already hard to do that with a few research interests, so it would be much harder to do for 12 of them. 

That also applies to that idea of expanding the findings of professors. It helps to show that you checked their work, but that by itself doesn't show you are motivated to do that. Also, discussing the professors' research puts you on disadvantage because certainly the professors know much more about their research than you do. If your alternative explanations don't make sense or the professors don't like them, you can get into a big discussion that you probably have no chance of winning. I was prepared to talk about that during the interview, for example, but I didn't use that in my applications. 

At least for me, my motivation and my purpose were not driven by my advisor's research. Sure, I saw some ways that I could expand on the research he does, but that doesn't explain my motivation to do research. I can do that even for papers that I have absolutely no interest. 

About data and laboratories, imagine that having a laboratory like this would be exactly what you need to do the research of your dreams: https://kelley.iu.edu/faculty-research/departments/marketing/research/labs/customer-interface-lab.html

If your research needs a laboratory like this, and the university has a laboratory like this, then it's only natural to conclude that you may be a good match for the university. And that's quite specific, it's not every university that has this kind of laboratory. 

Thank you for the clearification! and thank you for taking the time to find an example, it did help me to understand your point!

I understand your point of view of finding a research/program fit. I think you arguement makes a lot of sense. I do see how it can benifit the student as well as the school. However, I think your approach wouldn't be a good fit for me. I am not sure if this puts me into a disadvantage. But I think at my age (21) there is too much that I don't know about marketing and the world. So I don't think I am in the position to argue that I have a very specific interest or a problem I want to solve. But one thing I do know is my love for research. I enjoy the process, the thinking involoved, and the findings. This might sound geniric, but I just want to understand the world and people around me through research. At first, I thought psychology would be the way to go, then later I found that I don't enjoy the type of abstract thinking that's involved in psychology research and marketing (CB) provides a context to the effects we study, which helps me think much more clearly. For that reason, when I heard that there is a possibility of doing research for a living, I pursued that opportunity immediately. Put it in another way, I guess I am not pursing a phd degree to solve a problem, I am pursing this education to gain the skillset to conduct good research and have the qulification to do research for a living. After hearing from you, I understand now that this probably will put me at a disadvantage to some people. But I guess the best thing I can do is to communicate myslef better in my application (by being more specific, talking about my interest by listing a problem to make the topic more engaging, and avoiding "arguing with the professors" ) and keep my fingers crossed. 

Lol If I apply to your school and you are making the admission decisions, you probably wouldn't accept me. But I hope some schools will. 

Thank you for your advice and your help! You have provided me with informations and views that I have never thought of, so I really aprreciate you taking your time and sharing your wisdom with me. I will certainly think more about school fit going forward, especially on the elements you mentioned, and again thank you for your time! I really appreciate it. 

 

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In that case, I would go back to the big picture. In the end, schools are asking the question: "why should I extend an offer to you instead of another applicant?"

Research fit tends to be a big part of that. Wanting to do research is a given, nobody should apply to do a PhD if they don't want to do research. If you say you don't know about marketing and the world because you're young, schools probably will conclude that you're then too young to do a PhD because you don't know yet what you want to do. They may conclude you're not ready for a PhD, even if you love research. Be careful about that. 

If you don't know now, it's not easy to believe that you will know after you get accepted. It's not like the school can make you turn 30 years old and make you understand marketing like magic. My coursework barely included marketing, I can't say the program taught me much about marketing. If you get accepted and the professor asks you to present a list of research proposals, what are you going to do if you don't even know your research interests? A PhD is not like undergrad or masters, where professors tell you what to do. My advisor approved and advised me on my research proposals, but I had to think of them first. I had to make a list with many research proposals, he shot down most of them, and then I worked on the proposals that survived. 

So, with your answer, you're giving reasons for the school to not accept you. Because you're almost saying you're not ready for it because you're too young. Then you need to find something else that would be compelling argument in your favor, and not against you. If you haven't done so yet, I recommend talking to the professors who are going to write your recommendations, to develop an application strategy. Find a good answer to give when schools ask "why should we accept you and not someone else?" You want to do research, but that's also the case for the other applicants, so that can't be the answer. 

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1 hour ago, BrazilianPhD said:

In that case, I would go back to the big picture. In the end, schools are asking the question: "why should I extend an offer to you instead of another applicant?"

Research fit tends to be a big part of that. Wanting to do research is a given, nobody should apply to do a PhD if they don't want to do research. If you say you don't know about marketing and the world because you're young, schools probably will conclude that you're then too young to do a PhD because you don't know yet what you want to do. They may conclude you're not ready for a PhD, even if you love research. Be careful about that. 

If you don't know now, it's not easy to believe that you will know after you get accepted. It's not like the school can make you turn 30 years old and make you understand marketing like magic. My coursework barely included marketing, I can't say the program taught me much about marketing. If you get accepted and the professor asks you to present a list of research proposals, what are you going to do if you don't even know your research interests? A PhD is not like undergrad or masters, where professors tell you what to do. My advisor approved and advised me on my research proposals, but I had to think of them first. I had to make a list with many research proposals, he shot down most of them, and then I worked on the proposals that survived. 

So, with your answer, you're giving reasons for the school to not accept you. Because you're almost saying you're not ready for it because you're too young. Then you need to find something else that would be compelling argument in your favor, and not against you. If you haven't done so yet, I recommend talking to the professors who are going to write your recommendations, to develop an application strategy. Find a good answer to give when schools ask "why should we accept you and not someone else?" You want to do research, but that's also the case for the other applicants, so that can't be the answer. 

Interesting. I never thought of sharing my story can hurt me in this way, thank you for pointing that out! I will think more about how to present this and not hurt me in the end. Thank you again!

I did talk to my advisors, my application strategy right now is to show the schools I can do research and I can think like a researcher. To do that I have been focusing on the fact that I had some research experience. Not only as an assitant but also developing my own ideas and conducting my own research. On top of that, for each school that I think is a good fit for me, I would talk about one or two of their professors' work, ususally recent work. Then come up with relavent research ideas to show that I can also think like a researcher and I am interested in the work their professors are doing. 

I understand this is not necessarily your approach. My approach started with me then goes to each school. My understanding of your approach is more school oriented and more interest/topic specific. Could you give me some advice on my current strategy?

Knowing my situation, if you were me, how would you change the strategy to fit "your approach"? Given that I don't have industrial experience and can't reference to seeing a problem in real life and become motivated to find out why. I worry that if I say things like " I am interested in researching on how motivation can change people's donation behavior, because I see when people have different motivations they behave differently and I want to know why," this wouldn't be a strong argument. Because it sounds more like an answer for google rather than the driver for going through a 5 years program. Or maybe I completely misunderstood you, please correct me if I did. 

Thank you for yout kind responses and your time. You helped me to realize my problems. I really appreciate that!

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Well, the strategy you mentioned now sounds a lot closer to my own strategy: "developing my own ideas and conducting my own research" and "come up with relevant research ideas to show that I can also think like a researcher." If you think like a researcher, you should be able to talk in terms of research questions, like I recommended. If you think like a researcher, you should pay attention to laboratories and things that matter to get research done, like I recommended. If you think like a researcher, you don't speak in generic terms, you are very precise about what you want to accomplish. 

The only thing is that, if you have relevant research ideas, but the school can't help you with those ideas (because they don't have a good advisor, the right resources, etc.), then your ideas are still useless for the school. You can think like a researcher, but that doesn't mean you are the researcher that the school wants. 

My overall approach is based on being good match. So, I try to explain what is my purpose (in research, career, life, etc.) and why the school is a great fit for my purpose. Anything the helps to show we're a good match for each other. So, I don't know enough about you to give you a specific answer. But, if I didn't have industry experience, I would use any kind of experience or knowledge that can help to show a good match. Even with industry experience, I use anything that can help to show a good match. 

Regardless of having industry experience or not, we make decisions all the time. We see people making decisions all the time. We are discussing how to decide a strategy for application right now. So, no industry experience doesn't mean no exposure to the challenges of decision-making. 

Regardless of having industry experience or not, we are consumers and were are exposed to marketing actions all the time. It's impossible to be really unaware of marketing.

Most PhDs don't have industry experience, and they are still getting new ideas all the time. They are still able to see the problems, and be motivated to solve them. Having no industry experience is no excuse to not have a clear purpose. 

Especially for CB, the problems of the real world are not typically the concern. CB researchers are very theoretical, a lot of what they do is based on gaps in the literature, not problems faced by professionals in industry. Things are changing, CB is becoming more worried about industry, but it still the research track in marketing that is most distant from industry. If you were really focused on industry experience or problems of the real world in marketing, I would not recommend CB. 

Let me try to give you even another example of the things I might do in your place. Maybe I saw Wikipedia constantly begging for donations, and then I became curious about the customer behavior when customers see something like that. How do they decide if they would donate or not? If they decide to donate, how do they decide the amount? What is the psychological phenomenon that drives people to donate to Wikipedia? Do they do that because they are thankful for all the help Wikipedia provided? Do they do that because they are afraid of losing Wikipedia? Do they do that to have a feeling that they are doing something good? What experiments I could run to investigate that? What scales would I use? How would I control for all the alternative explanations? I'm sure I could get several research proposals just based on something small like this. No industry experience necessary for that, and I'm not even a CB person. 

Then, I could explain my motivation to research something like that, as someone who grew up poor in a third world country, living in a small city that didn't even have a library. So, I would have a personal motivation to help organizations like Wikipedia. And then maybe the professor is an expert on donations. And maybe the university has a laboratory where I can create simulated versions of Wikipedia, manipulating how Wikipedia asks for donations. And maybe the university is where one of the founders of Wikipedia was a PhD student. And maybe the university is located in a city with a strong community of Brazilians like me. And maybe the history of job placement looks perfect for someone like me, who is more into a balanced type of school instead of R1 universities. So on and so forth. 

Like I said, anything that helps to show I'm a good fit. I keep piling them up. It can be related to work experience, research experience, personal experience. It can be something I read. It can be something that happened with someone I know. It can be a hobby. This is just a quick example that I created since your research interests and methodologies are so different from mine. But it should give you an idea about how I market myself. And in my opinion it is much more convincing than saying you want to do research, even though that's not my type of thing. You should be able to come up with something much better.

I'm now in my last year, and I followed the same strategy while applying for jobs. I got a job at a university, and a brief experience I had in another field 20 years ago was much more critical to get a job than my industry experience in marketing. 

We are marketers. We are expected to know about this. How to sell an idea? What are the needs and wants of our customers? How do schools make a decision? What's my segmentation strategy? How am I positioning myself to have a competitive advantage, and stay ahead of other applicants?

For example, when you say you are young. Is that what schools want? Is that going to give you a competitive advantage? If not, that's not a good selling point for your application. I know I'm repeating myself over and over again at this point, but it's all about giving the schools convincing reasons to why they should accept you, and not one of the other hundred applicants they have in line. As long as your strategy leads to that, I think it's great. 

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7 hours ago, BrazilianPhD said:

Well, the strategy you mentioned now sounds a lot closer to my own strategy: "developing my own ideas and conducting my own research" and "come up with relevant research ideas to show that I can also think like a researcher." If you think like a researcher, you should be able to talk in terms of research questions, like I recommended. If you think like a researcher, you should pay attention to laboratories and things that matter to get research done, like I recommended. If you think like a researcher, you don't speak in generic terms, you are very precise about what you want to accomplish. 

The only thing is that, if you have relevant research ideas, but the school can't help you with those ideas (because they don't have a good advisor, the right resources, etc.), then your ideas are still useless for the school. You can think like a researcher, but that doesn't mean you are the researcher that the school wants. 

My overall approach is based on being good match. So, I try to explain what is my purpose (in research, career, life, etc.) and why the school is a great fit for my purpose. Anything the helps to show we're a good match for each other. So, I don't know enough about you to give you a specific answer. But, if I didn't have industry experience, I would use any kind of experience or knowledge that can help to show a good match. Even with industry experience, I use anything that can help to show a good match. 

Regardless of having industry experience or not, we make decisions all the time. We see people making decisions all the time. We are discussing how to decide a strategy for application right now. So, no industry experience doesn't mean no exposure to the challenges of decision-making. 

Regardless of having industry experience or not, we are consumers and were are exposed to marketing actions all the time. It's impossible to be really unaware of marketing.

Most PhDs don't have industry experience, and they are still getting new ideas all the time. They are still able to see the problems, and be motivated to solve them. Having no industry experience is no excuse to not have a clear purpose. 

Especially for CB, the problems of the real world are not typically the concern. CB researchers are very theoretical, a lot of what they do is based on gaps in the literature, not problems faced by professionals in industry. Things are changing, CB is becoming more worried about industry, but it still the research track in marketing that is most distant from industry. If you were really focused on industry experience or problems of the real world in marketing, I would not recommend CB. 

Let me try to give you even another example of the things I might do in your place. Maybe I saw Wikipedia constantly begging for donations, and then I became curious about the customer behavior when customers see something like that. How do they decide if they would donate or not? If they decide to donate, how do they decide the amount? What is the psychological phenomenon that drives people to donate to Wikipedia? Do they do that because they are thankful for all the help Wikipedia provided? Do they do that because they are afraid of losing Wikipedia? Do they do that to have a feeling that they are doing something good? What experiments I could run to investigate that? What scales would I use? How would I control for all the alternative explanations? I'm sure I could get several research proposals just based on something small like this. No industry experience necessary for that, and I'm not even a CB person. 

Then, I could explain my motivation to research something like that, as someone who grew up poor in a third world country, living in a small city that didn't even have a library. So, I would have a personal motivation to help organizations like Wikipedia. And then maybe the professor is an expert on donations. And maybe the university has a laboratory where I can create simulated versions of Wikipedia, manipulating how Wikipedia asks for donations. And maybe the university is where one of the founders of Wikipedia was a PhD student. And maybe the university is located in a city with a strong community of Brazilians like me. And maybe the history of job placement looks perfect for someone like me, who is more into a balanced type of school instead of R1 universities. So on and so forth. 

Like I said, anything that helps to show I'm a good fit. I keep piling them up. It can be related to work experience, research experience, personal experience. It can be something I read. It can be something that happened with someone I know. It can be a hobby. This is just a quick example that I created since your research interests and methodologies are so different from mine. But it should give you an idea about how I market myself. And in my opinion it is much more convincing than saying you want to do research, even though that's not my type of thing. You should be able to come up with something much better.

I'm now in my last year, and I followed the same strategy while applying for jobs. I got a job at a university, and a brief experience I had in another field 20 years ago was much more critical to get a job than my industry experience in marketing. 

We are marketers. We are expected to know about this. How to sell an idea? What are the needs and wants of our customers? How do schools make a decision? What's my segmentation strategy? How am I positioning myself to have a competitive advantage, and stay ahead of other applicants?

For example, when you say you are young. Is that what schools want? Is that going to give you a competitive advantage? If not, that's not a good selling point for your application. I know I'm repeating myself over and over again at this point, but it's all about giving the schools convincing reasons to why they should accept you, and not one of the other hundred applicants they have in line. As long as your strategy leads to that, I think it's great. 

Thank you for your detailed answers! It makes a lot of sense now. I will work on improving my application, thank you again for all your help!

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