Operations and technology management
A company's Chief Operating Officer (COO) is responsible for 'getting things done' - for organising the firm's people and resources to achieve organisational goals. Firms that excel at getting desirable things done quickly, efficiently and effectively, while responding to developing technology, changing customer needs and shifts in the competitive and regulatory landscape take a leading position in their industry.
To achieve operational excellence, companies need reliable internal processes, they need partners and they need to generate and leverage good ideas. These fundamental and interrelated building blocks of the field are also called process management, supply chain management and innovation management. In a nutshell, the academic discipline Operations and Technology Management (OTM) is concerned with the study of the fundamental principles that underlie the effective and efficient design and management of organisational processes, reliable partnerships and intra- and inter-organisational innovation capabilities.
The field is diverse and inherently multi-disciplinary, drawing on and applying fundamental insights from economics, industrial engineering, psychology and human behaviour. In addition, OTM requires a solid understanding of other organisational functions, especially strategy, marketing and some aspects of finance.
Within the wider academic OTM community, CJBS has a leading reputation in three areas, in which we recruit, train and place our PhD students:
- innovation management and new product development
- healthcare operations,
- managing risk, uncertainty and complexity
Our faculty have a broad range of methodological expertise which we apply in our research and in which we train our PhD students, including mathematical modelling, data analytics and econometrics, and behavioural laboratory and field experiments.
As an integral part of their research, our faculty members and PhD students leverage long-standing relationships with other departments at the University of Cambridge, with academic partners and PhD students at other universities around the world, as well as with a wide range of organisations in the private and public sectors, including in healthcare, life sciences, insurance and financial services industries. You can find more information on the research in the group on the faculty webpages of the Operations subject group.
What you can expect from the PhD pathway in Operations & Technology Management
During your PhD you will build personal and academic relationships with faculty and fellow PhD students that will last a lifetime. To begin with, the term PhD students is a misnomer. We do not regard you as a student but as a junior colleague - you will be an apprentice in the best sense of the word. A group of OTM faculty (your advisory team) will work with you and train you to become an independent researcher with an exciting research programme and a developing portfolio of academic papers that will help you succeed in the job market and gain a junior faculty position in a leading business school after your PhD.
You will take a series of courses focused on research methodology and the foundations of the discipline as well as more advanced research seminars, where you will learn to critique recent publications and current working papers. This will enable you to shape and position your own work as a significant contribution to the academic literature. This coursework component will be complemented with practical research training, where you will develop and execute research projects jointly with faculty members.
We will work with you to develop a coherent and innovative research programme that will form the basis for an interesting and influential academic career. While we expect you to engage with rigorous methods and theoretical arguments at the highest level, we are not interested in ivory tower research but instead expect your research programme to address highly relevant real-world problems and societal challenges. To this end, we will help you engage with organisations directly, for example through summer internships, or by accompanying one of your advisors in their partner organisations. This engagement can lead to teaching case studies on a phenomenon of interest, which open the door to more focused and in-depth academic research and may give you access to unique data, helping you shed new light on ongoing academic debates while, at the same time, gaining a deep understanding of the practical context and relevance of your academic work.
What we expect from our PhD students
We expect applicants to show a high level of commitment to an academic career in a business school as well as the desire to engage with external organisations. You will need to have a bachelors degree from a highly regarded university and have performed within the top five per cent of your class. A masters degree is welcome but not essential. Please see the Master of Research (MRes) or MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations academic requirements for more detail. Most of our students have first degrees in economics, engineering, the sciences or other quantitatively orientated subjects.
We will need to see evidence of excellent writing skills and strong evidence of your quantitative ability, either through results in statistics and calculus courses at university level or through GRE results.
We very much welcome a few years of practical experience following your first degree.