The PhD Program in Management & Organizations trains scholars for careers as researchers and teachers at premier academic institutions throughout the world.

PhD students at Michigan have the opportunity to work closely with social scientists spanning a broad range of research areas and have access to unparalleled resources for pursuing diverse scholarly interests.

The deadline for applications is December 15, 2018.

Admission decisions will be communicated to applicants by January 18, 2019.

Admitted applicants will be invited to visit Michigan Ross from January 31-February 2, 2019.

APPLY

COURSES

During the first two years of coursework, students take multiple courses which serve as a foundation for research as well as appeal to individual research interests.

Foundational courses include a sequence of four departmental theory seminars on organizations. They also include statistics and research methods courses, two of which must be quantitative while others may be qualitative. Together, these courses provide students with a strong foundation in both "micro" and "macro" aspects of the field.

Students take additional graduate courses in their areas of interest including at least two in related disciplines such as Sociology or Psychology. MO students routinely take courses in strategy, psychology, sociology, and anthropology, as well as political science, complex systems, education, and linguistics. For a representative list of courses taken by MO students in the past, see here.

First-year students also enroll in an independent study on professional development. Co-taught by several faculty, each session covers a different topic, including "finding your topic of passion," "developing professional relationships," and "developing strong theory."

More details on course structure can be found here.

RESEARCH AND MENTORSHIP

Faculty mentoring begins in the first year, soon after students enter the program.

In their first year, students are assigned to a faculty member for a research assistantship based on their research interests. Students often work informally on other projects with faculty – either self- initiated projects or projects faculty already have underway. In their second year, students rotate to work with another faculty member so they get exposure to other research topics and approaches.

Students work collaboratively with faculty and each other. From developing an initial plan to working out the details of the research, the faculty and student meet systematically to discuss the research question, theoretical development and methodological approach.

Take a look at the faculty who have recently guided MO PhD students on their dissertations.

INDEPENDENT EMPIRICAL RESEARCH PROJECT

Purpose and Scope

The IERP is an empirical project designed and conducted by the student under the guidance of two MO faculty members. The project provides hands-on experience in every stage of independent research aimed at publication, including reviewing the literature, designing a study, collecting and analyzing data, and writing up the results. The result is expected to be a study suitable for submission to the Academy of Management annual meetings. The IERP may not be submitted as a deliverable for another course -- either for MO 899s or other courses.

Timing

Year One

Because the scope of the project is substantial, students are encouraged to choose a topic area in the first year. Students should select an advisor during the winter semester of the first year and begin work on the design at this point.

Summer: Data collection should begin during the summer between the first and second year.

Year Two

January 15: A draft of the sections up to and including the methods section is due.

February 15: Based on feedback from the advisor, a revised draft of the prior sections and a draft of the results section is due.

March 15: Final completed paper is due.

Evaluation

The study is to be evaluated by a committee comprised of the advisor and a second reader chosen from among the MO faculty by the student. The paper is acceptable if the faculty committee judges it to be highly likely to be accepted for presentation at the Academy of Management annual meetings. Students are given one opportunity to revise the paper to meet the standards of the committee.

Presentation

Students are expected to present their study to the MO department students and faculty in the brown bag in April of their second year.

PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION AND CANDIDACY

The preliminary exam, covering organizational behavior, organizational theory and research methods, takes place in the summer of the second year.

The exam tests a student’s synthesis of course material and assesses readiness to undertake independent research. Students work closely with others in their cohort to prepare for their prelims. In the remainder of the program, students enter a period of independent dissertation research with an advisor and dissertation committee.

TEACHING

Ross places a unique emphasis on developing students' teaching and classroom skills during their time in the program.

As opposed to the typical practice of TA-ing for a smattering of discussion sections throughout their time in the program, Ross students teach a full course as sole instructors for one semester.  This has the advantage of concentrating teaching effort to one semester, and more importantly gives students the critical experience and skills needed to differentiate themselves on the job market and succeed in the classroom as assistant professors.

In the fall of their third year, MO students teach one section of MO 300, the required Organization Behavior Course for undergraduate business students. Typically, students teach and are totally responsible (including grading) for one section (70-80 BBA juniors) of the multi-section class with other sections taught by full-time faculty members. Students learn to teach in a supportive environment with weekly mentorship and guidance from the teaching team while also experiencing the autonomy and responsibility that comes with being the sole instructor for their section.

Leading up to the teaching semester, students take part in a series of seminars training them in the theory and practice as part of the Ross' Faculty in Training program. The hands-on training consists of instruction on lesson planning, classroom management, instructional methods as well as practice teaching sessions with live feedback.

Students typically find their teaching experience to be enriching and positive, and by the end of their teaching semester, feel well-prepared to teach successfully as an assistant professor.

INTERDISCIPLINARY OPPORTUNITIES

The Ross MO PhD is truly interdisciplinary.

There are very low barriers for MO students to take classes from a range of departments across campus. MO students routinely take courses in strategy, psychology, sociology, and anthropology, as well as political science, complex systems, education, and linguistics. Likewise, students from strategy, sociology, public health, and sometimes, nursing, education, and information sciences are a familiar sight in MO classes. Friendships and learning partnerships flourish across departmental boundaries. For a representative list of courses taken by MO students in the past, see here.

True to the spirit of interdisciplinary scholarship, students enjoy the benefit of getting advice on their research from faculty in a variety of departments. In addition to MO faculty, graduating students in the last ten years have had faculty from strategy, operations, sociology, organizational studies, marketing, psychology, and even anthropology, and medicine on their dissertation committees.

ICOS, or the Interdisciplinary Committee on Organizational Studies, is a Michigan institution going back over two decades with the single goal of enhancing the University of Michigan's strength as a world center for interdisciplinary research and scholarship on organizations. During the school year, ICOS organizes weekly seminars at Ross that host organizational scholars from various disciplines such as business, psychology, sociology, public health, history, information, and so on.

Ross is also home to the Center for Positive Organizations, a research community dedicated to inspiring and enabling leaders to build high-performing organizations that bring out the best in people.

METHODS TRAINING AND SUPPORT

MO PhD students have access to numerous best-in-class research and methods support resources on the University of Michigan campus.

  • CSCAR - Consulting for Statistics, Computing and Analytics Research (CSCAR) provides consulting services and training opportunities in statistics, data science, and advanced research computation to researchers across campus, regardless of skill level or academic background. Many MO PhD students have taken advantage of free CSCAR consultations for advice on research design and analytic strategies for both survey and experimental data (e.g., R and Stata) as well as computational and big data (using Python/Numpy).

The consulting that CSCAR provides was critical for the completion of my IERP. I learned several new methodologies (e.g., survival analysis, logit models, sentiment analysis). In the first 6 months of the project, I spend a total of 18 hours with their statistics consultants. I came in with both conceptual questions (e.g., How can I figure out if I am meeting the non-informative censoring assumption of my model?) as well as more tactical issues (coding errors), and in each case, CSCAR was always able to assist me. They offer scheduled appointments if you want to meet with someone who specializes in the software or model you have a question about, as well as walk-in consulting for in-the-moment statistics crises. They are great!

- Laura Sonday, Doctoral Candidate, MO

  • ICPSR - The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) headquartered in University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, is a powerhouse of data and methods support for social and behavioral sciences. ICPSR's data archive provides students with access to over 250,000 files of research. MO students particularly enjoy ICPSR's Summer Institute which hold 4-week intensive summer workshops on research design, statistics, and data analysis. Find a list of recommended ICPSR modules from current students here.
  • Big Data Camp - The ICOS Big Data Camp is the latest in the series of cutting-edge methods training available to MO PhD students. Hosted by the Ross School of Business, the Big Data Camp is a free-of-cost week long program for students and researchers at the University that teaching them to tap into the web-mediated social world for massive data sets. Almost all current MO students have taken the camp at some point during their time in the program and have gone from not knowing Python and SQL to using APIs and NLTK in their research.
  • UROP - The Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) affords PhD students access to additional research assistance.  UROP matches undergraduate students interested gaining research experience to faculty and doctoral students looking for research assistance and willing to mentor students. Every once in a while, MO students take part in UROP gaining competent research assistants alongside learning to mentor students.

COMMUNITY

The MO department is a tight-knit community with a supportive culture.

While not a formal teaching seminar, each week, the MO department meets for a brown bag seminar. We use this meeting time to build community, share good news, and learn from each other. Sessions include faculty research presentations, student research presentations (including IERPs and practice job talks), departmental job talks, research tutorials, panel discussions on topics like the job search or choosing a dissertation topics, etc. 

In addition, students in the department meet for weekly lunches to polish each other's half-baked, evolving ideas and to learn from each other's area of expertise. Students also get together a few times a year outside of school for social events like potlucks, picnics, and kayaking.

RESOURCES AND FUNDING

Michigan Ross provides full funding to all students admitted to our doctoral program.

We do not require an additional application for financial aid. We provide five years of funding, which includes a full tuition waiver, health insurance, and a generous stipend package that combines both fellowship funding and a graduate assistantship. Students also receive funding for travel to conferences, have access to several thousand dollars in research money from Ross and Rackham, and can avail of subsidy for child care. Additionally, students may receive bonuses if they achieve early candidacy by the start of their third year and if they defend their dissertation proposal by the beginning of their fifth year.

LIFE IN ANN ARBOR

Ann Arbor offers all the energy and opportunity of a large metropolis, while still maintaining a high quality of life and an affordable cost of living making it one of the best places to live in America.
 

 

Click here to learn more about living in Ann Arbor.

Detroit is located just 40 miles from Ann Arbor and has a burgeoning entrepreneurial sector, a vibrant local food scene, a scenic riverfront, music, and one of the best art collections in the country. Click here to learn more about attractions in Detroit.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is there a typical MO PhD Student?

No. We have a wide variety of backgrounds and interests, which makes our PhD program so vibrant. One student was a physician before coming to Michigan, others have relevant Master’s degrees, some have a decade of work experience, and a few have no formal work experience. What unites the students is their passion for high quality, impactful research and their genuine interest in contributing to the research community in the department.

What do MO PhD students do in their free time? Do they have free time?

The first two years of the program are extremely time consuming, but our students make time for hobbies and interests from day one to keep balanced. A couple of students are regulars at yoga, one is an avid tennis player, another is a swimmer, and one enjoys basketball. Additionally, students participate in various musical activities, knitting, and hiking.  There is a PhD Student government in Michigan Ross (The PhD Forum) which puts on various social activities for students throughout the year. These activities include kayaking, bowling, karaoke and happy hours. The Ann Arbor community has all sorts of cultural events and eateries as well. Some of our students are also regular attendees at UM football games.  Go Blue!

Where do MO PhD students live in Ann Arbor?

Our students live all over Ann Arbor.  Some opt for off-campus housing downtown or on the outskirts of Ann Arbor, while others choose on-campus housing.  When it comes to housing in Ann Arbor, you can find anything you would like.  Some students joke that in the first two years they live in Ross, but we encourage all students to spend some time away from the school.

Is it difficult to get financial support for my own research?

We are very fortunate at Michigan Ross to have several funding sources to support doctoral student research as well as collaborative research with faculty members.  Our students regularly apply for and receive small and large grants to conduct their work.  Additionally, the University of Michigan has many mechanisms in place to support our research.

Are there any interactions with the MBA program at Ross?

Most of our students do not interact regularly with the MBA students, but occasionally they take classes together and we see each other in the Seigle Café daily. The MBA students have many clubs and activities which some of our students participate in as well.  These interactions range from sports clubs to professional development groups and the Wolverine Wine Club.  The MBA student body has been quite welcoming to our students.

Do you have any advice for increasing my chances of admission?

The expectations for the qualifications of our applicants are quite high.  We regularly receive more than 100 applications for two-three slots in the program. However, one way to really stand out in the application process is to explain why you want to pursue a PhD in the department of Management and Organizations at Ross. We put a premium on fit with our department, in terms of both related research as well as our collaborative culture.  An understanding of how you fit with our department will emerge from learning about our students and faculty.

What types of jobs do the graduates of the program land?

As you can see from our recent graduate page, students go on to careers in business schools around the world following the completion of our program.  Some doctoral programs send their alumni to consulting firms and think tanks – our program generally does not prepare our students for these kinds of careers.  We are looking for applicants who are dedicated to long-term careers in business academia.

Are there certain faculty members who are better at mentoring doctoral students than others?

We are very fortunate to have several faculty members who regularly work with doctoral students.  They all have many things to teach our students, which is why many of our students will rotate and work with several faculty members during their time in the program.  Our faculty members enjoy their time and interactions with doctoral students, which leads to strong research productivity and high quality professional connections.

Are there any mechanisms for mentorship or development within the program?

In our department, the students have created a formal mentorship program where each incoming student is paired with a more senior student in a mentoring relationship.  These pairs meet several times a year to discuss progress in the program and all types of questions, which arise. Additionally our students meet monthly as a group to discuss different aspects of scholarship and professional development.  These meetings prepare students for the Academy of Management meetings as well as program milestones (the 2nd year paper, prelim exams, etc.).

How can I learn more about the MO PhD program?

Please explore the various aspects of our website to learn more about the program.  Specifically you can see the types of research projects our faculty are currently working on as well as our doctoral students.  You can also learn about our recent alumni and their research.  If you still have questions following your explorations, feel free to email one of our current doctoral student ambassadors or alumni ambassadors to learn more about the program.  If you are in the Ann Arbor area, you are welcome to attend one of our weekly Brown Bag seminars to meet some of the department members in person.

VISIT OUR 2018 EVENTS / TALK WITH OUR PHD OFFICERS

Visit our events and speak with PhD Officers in person.

DocNet Events:

October 8, Minneapolis, MN:  University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management, Minneapolis, MN 55455 | 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. | Details

October 9, Madison, WI:  Wisconsin School of Business, Madison, WI 53706 | 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. | Details

October 10, Dallas, TX:  University of Texas at Dallas,  Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center, Richardson, TX 75080 | 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. | Details

October 22, Stockholm, Sweden:  Stockholm School of Economics, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden | 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. | Details

October 24, Copenhagen, Denmark:  Copenhagen Business School, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark | 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. | Details

October 26, London:  London Business School, Regents Park, London NW1 4SA | 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

November 13, Salt Lake City, UT:  University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112 | 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. | Details

November 14, Evanston, IL:  Kellogg School of Management, Evanston, IL 60208 | 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. | Details

PhD Project:

November 15, Chicago:  Chicago Hyatt Regency O'Hare, Rosemont, IL 60018 | 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. | Details

MO PhD student, Alaina Segura, will be in attendance at this event to answer any questions prospective students may have about our program at Michigan Ross.

 

Please email rossphdprogram@umich.edu for additional information on any of these events.

Management & Organizations PhD Students

Recent PhD Graduates

Year Name PLACEMENT
2018 Cassandra Chambers Bocconi University
2018 Chen Zhang Tsinghua University
2017 Lyndon Garrett Boston College
2017 Ashley Hardin Washington University
2017 Yong Hyun Kim Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
2016 Maddy Ong Singapore Management University
2015 Matt Karlesky Suffolk University
2015 Suntae Kim Boston College
2015 Chris Myers Harvard University
2014 Johan Chu University of Chicago
2014 Laura Rees University of Missouri - Kansas City
2014 Kristina Workman Cornell University
2013 Jeff Bednar Brigham Young University
2013 Natalie Cotton-Nessler Bentley University
2013 Chak Fu Lam Suffolk University
2013 Samir Nurmohamed Wharton, University of Pennsylvania
2013 Ned Wellman Arizona State University
2012 Maria Farkas Imperial College, London
2011 J. Adam Cobb Wharton, University of Pennsylvania
2011 Brent Rosso Montana State University
2011 Flannery Stevens University of Utah
2010 Michelle Barton Boston University
2009 Marlys Christianson University of Toronto
2009 Kathryn Dekas Google
2009 Daniel Gruber Northwestern University
2009 Aleksandra Kacperczyk MIT

Coordinator: Andrew Hoffman

  • Professor of Management & Organizations
  • Professor of Environment and Sustainability
  • Holcim (US), Inc. Professor of Sustainable Enterprise
Andrew (Andy) Hoffman is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan; a position that...
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Gretchen Spreitzer

Research Origins

Where do research ideas come from?

Michigan Ross Professor Gretchen Spreitzer explains the genesis of her research on how employees at the middle level of an organization can feel empowered to spark change and thrive.