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The Marketing PhD pathway

Marketing is the study of how organisations interact with customers (and vice versa). As such, it focuses on how organisations create value for customers and capture value from customers in return. The academic discipline of Marketing is divided into three broad areas or sub-fields: marketing strategy, marketing modelling and consumer behaviour:

Research in the marketing strategy field considers a firm's interactions with its customers (and external stakeholders more generally) from the perspective of the firm's managers. Through the quantitative analysis of empirical data, researchers in this sub-field address questions that link a firm's performance with its actions and those of its managers vis-à-vis external stakeholders.

The marketing modelling sub-field involves economically analysing the interactions between firms and consumers. Researchers in this field use analytical modelling with a game theory approach, the econometric analysis of empirical data and experimental economics methods to address their research questions.

Research into consumer behaviour considers the psychology of how consumers think, feel and reason as well as choose between different marketplace alternatives. Here, researchers draw heavily upon the theories and methodologies of experimental psychology and experimental social psychology in particular.

In the Marketing Group you'll find scholars from each of these sub-fields, including Jaideep Prabhu and Eden Yin (marketing strategy), Dominique Lauga, Shasha Lu and Vincent Mak (marketing modelling and consumer behaviour) and Eric Levy (consumer behaviour). Our group members publish in leading international journals in areas such as marketing in emerging markets, experimental economics, game theory, behavioural decision-making, industrial organisation, innovation, pricing, and social identity and consumption behaviour.

As such, the context for study within the Marketing pathway is broad. To give you more of a taste, the phenomena and research questions currently being investigated by our faculty and PhD students include:

  • The marketing practices of micro-entrepreneurs in low-income economies
  • The extent to which consumers are able to wait strategically for future price markdowns and how this is affected by product scarcity
  • How moral identity impact preferences for donating time vs money to charity

What you can expect from the PhD pathway in Marketing

You will be seen not as a student but as a junior colleague - you will be an apprentice in the best sense of the word. The Marketing Group will work with you and train you to become an independent researcher with an exciting research programme and portfolio of academic papers that will help you succeed in the job market and gain a junior faculty position following your PhD. You will work with faculty members on joint research projects for publication in leading academic journals. In addition to a series of courses focused on research methodology and the foundations of the discipline, you will take more advanced research seminars, where you will learn to critique papers and shape and position your own work as a significant contribution to the academic literature in Marketing. In particular, we will work with you to develop a coherent and innovative research programme that is relevant for solving real-world problems. In some cases, your research may require you to engage with external organisations directly. This engagement will help you gain access to unique data, which in turn will help you shed new light on ongoing academic debates. Alternatively, you may focus on collecting data in laboratory settings and work with student subjects.

What we expect from our PhD students

We welcome applicants from highly regarded universities that have earned a bachelors (and in some cases a masters degree) and performed within the top five per cent of their class; please see the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations or Master of Research (MRes) academic requirements for more detail.

We expect our students to demonstrate a high level of commitment to an academic career in a business school as well as a desire to engage with external organisations. While many of our students have first degrees in economics, mathematics, psychology, engineering or the sciences, students with a humanities degree will also be considered.

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. Practical management experience is welcome but not essential.

The Marketing group consists of scholars in marketing strategy, modelling and consumer behaviour. Group members publish in leading international journals across areas as diverse as emerging markets, experimental economics, game theory, industrial organisation, innovation, and social identity and consumption behaviour.

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