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The Marketing Specialisation

What is marketing?

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 Marketing specialisation of the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations is part of the Marketing PhD pathway. It is divided into three broad areas: marketing strategy, marketing modelling, and consumer behaviour.

  • Marketing strategy research views the firm's interaction with its customers (and external stakeholders more generally) from the perspective of the firm's managers. Chiefly through quantitative analysis of empirical data, researchers in marketing strategy address questions linking the actions of the firm and its managers vis-à-vis external stakeholders with the firm's performance.
  • Marketing modelling research involves economic analysis of the interactions among firms and consumers. Researchers in marketing modelling address their research questions by means of analytical modelling with a game theory approach, econometric analysis of empirical data, or experimental economics methods.
  • Consumer behaviour research investigates the psychology of how consumers think, feel, reason, and select between different marketplace alternatives. Researchers in consumer behaviour draw heavily upon the theories and methodologies of experimental psychology, particularly experimental social psychology.

Learn more about our supervising faculty's research interests

Ahmed Khwaja On the substantive side, Ahmed has investigated topics related to experience spillovers in market entry, retail chain expansion and size dynamics, long run and short run effects of collaboration in pharmaceutical innovation, effect of employee engagement on customer satisfaction, and moral hazard & adverse selection in health care markets.
Dominique Lauga Dominique's research interests are in marketing strategy and behavioural economics. In particular, her research focuses on analytical modelling of strategic decisions by firms, such as new product development and advertising.
Shasha Lu Shasha's research interests mainly lie in developing quantitative tools that combine state-of-the-art video analytics and machine learning techniques from computer science with current marketing models to improve business practices in areas such as retailing, advertising, fashion and entertainment marketing, among others.
Vincent Mak Vincent's research lies in how people and firms make strategic decisions as they interact with each other, and what economic and psychological factors influence those decisions. The topics of his research include pricing, search behaviour, decisions in networks, and competitive strategies. He typically employs the insights and methods of experimental economics, game theory, and psychology to investigate his research questions.
Jaideep Prabhu Jaideep's research interests are in marketing, innovation, strategy and international business. In particular, he studies various cross-national issues concerning the antecedents and consequences of innovation. His current research is mainly on innovation in emerging markets and innovation by, for or with low income communities worldwide.
Eden Yin Eden's research interests include innnovation and new product growth in technology industries, and internationalisation strategies for firms from emerging markets.

The modules

The default modules for the Marketing specialisation of the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations include:

Econometrics I

This is the first module in the sequence of Econometrics modules designed for Research MPhil students at Cambridge Judge Business School who intend to use econometric methods in their PhD research. It is taught in the Michaelmas Term.

This introductory module develops your capability in using linear regression and associated statistical techniques to examine causal relationships from primarily cross-sectional, observational data. By the end of the module you are to specify, estimate, test, interpret, and critically evaluate single equation regression models, with applications in subject areas of management, finance, and business economics.

The module is followed in the Lent Term by Econometrics II, training you in methods and applications of Micro-econometrics. A further module on Time Series Econometrics is offered as an elective in the Easter Term.

Econometrics II

To carry out empirical research that has the potential to make original contributions to knowledge, it is necessary to exploit the richness and structure of cross-sectional as well as longitudinal data. It is necessary to become enabled in an array of micro-econometric techniques that help researchers to build into the design of their studies, a variety of complexities (in decision-making, for example) and also compensate for partial observability that is inherent in research data.

This module introduces you to core econometric methods that are useful in management, finance and business economics research. It provides the background required to confidently choose techniques and methods suited to different types of data-sources and models. The focus is on how techniques relate to theory, on the insights that can be drawn from their application, and critical interpretation and appraisal of results.

Students must have taken the Econometrics I course to take this course. A further module on Time Series Econometrics is offered as an elective in the Easter Term.

Fundamentals of Competitive Markets

You are introduced to the foundations necessary to conduct research in the three areas of marketing, operations & technology management, and finance, with a view to developing your own skills as researchers in these areas and in business in general. This course covers standard models of:

  • individual choice under certainty and uncertainty
  • production theory
  • general equilibrium
  • monopoly pricing, price discrimination
  • information economics
  • behavioural economics

The course gives you some fundamental knowledge of competitive markets, enabling you to leverage your course knowledge to do original research and write papers in your chosen field of research in a business school.

Further Econometrics: Time Series

The Time Series Econometrics module is intended to provide applicable, if introductory knowledge of time series analysis methods. An increasing number of empirical contexts in Finance and Management now have data in the form of time series. The statistics and modelling of time series data will be very useful in any researcher's toolkit.

Individual Research Project

This module is designed for you to conduct individual research under the supervision of SMO faculty members. Research projects can consist of a thorough literature review related to a specific research question, an in-depth critique of published papers, or a specific application of a research methodology (such as a pilot study on the basis of limited data). Our goal is to familiarise you with the faculty members' current research and bring you closer to the frontier of knowledge. The module can prepare you for the individual research that you will undertake in PhD studies, and can indeed become the starting point of future PhD research.

Marketing Strategy

This course is a survey of three distinct yet related areas: marketing, innovation and emerging economies. Marketing is the study of the interaction between organisations and markets. Innovation is the study of the commercial exploitation by organisations of new ideas. Emerging economies, such as India and China, are the big economic phenomenon of the contemporary global scene and the theatre in which new opportunities for marketing and innovation are unfolding in real time. This course takes a strategic perspective on these topics, viewing them all from the perspective of the firm and its performance.

Organisational Research Methods (biennial content)

This course helps you understand a variety of quantitative research methods, as well as their embeddedness within various research designs. Upon completion of the course, you'll have a good understanding of various quantitative methods commonly used in management research, and will have applied this knowledge to your own research project. Specifically, the course covers the following content areas: 

  • Research design
  • Experimental & quasi-experimental design
  • Survey design & analysis
  • Mediation & moderation
  • Multilevel analysis
  • Social network analysis
  • Meta-analysis

The objectives of this course are to increase your understanding of organisational research method and your sensitivity to the practical problems in conducting organisational research, as well as to apply organisational research methods to your own research projects and interests.

one of the following two courses, depending on year:

Quantitative Marketing Models (2019/20)

This seminar-based course is an overview of quantitative modelling approaches to research on marketing problems. Three major areas are covered:

  • empirical modelling (econometrics)
  • analytical modelling (game theory/industrial organisation)
  • experimental economics/behavioural game theory

In each session you're required to read, analyse and comment on selected papers surrounding the key themes of that session. At least half of every session will be devoted to student presentations and group discussion. Having completed the course, you'll possess some basic knowledge of quantitative modelling in marketing. You'll also be able to leverage your course experience to develop an in-depth understanding of relevant topics of interest that'll help you pursue a research career in a business school.

Consumer Behaviour (2020/21)

This seminar-based course is an overview of issues related to consumer behaviour research in marketing. The course includes readings on marketing research as well as cognate home disciplines such as psychology and behavioural economics. Two major areas are covered:

  • The information processing perspective
  • The behavioural decision perspective

In each session you're required to read, analyse and comment on selected papers surrounding the key themes of that session. At least half of every session will be devoted to student presentations and group discussion. Having completed the course, you'll possess some basic knowledge that will help you appreciate and conduct consumer behaviour research. You'll also be able to leverage your course experience to develop an understanding of relevant topics for a research career at a business school.

one of the following two courses, depending on year:

Seminar in Strategy Content (2019/20)

This course provides a foundational survey of the key theories and empirical works that shape research on the content of strategic management - the relationship between the different strategies and resource and capability bundles firms develop, strategic positions they create, and their financial performance and competitive advantage. Building on strategic management, economics-based, and organisational theories, this course covers substantive research on the antecedents and consequences of competitive and corporate strategies undertaken by firms in connection with the changes and disruptions in the environment. The course involves active student participation in group discussions and critiques of the seminal classic contributions as well as latest research in various topics on the content of strategic management. It also involves you developing your own research ideas and proposals that build on some of the topics and theories covered.

Game Theory & Information Economics (2020/21)

This course is for students who wish to pursue a research career in a business school and consists of a mix of lectures and seminar-based sessions in which you read, analyse and comment on selected papers. Following the course, you'll be able to leverage your course knowledge to do original research and write papers in your chosen field of research.

Topics covered include:

  • Static games of complete information (normal form games)

    • Modelling strategic interactions
    • Iterated dominance and rationalisability
    • Nash equilibrium
    • Application: imperfect competition
    • Mixed strategies

  • Dynamic games of complete information (extensive form games)

    • Extensive form and Nash equilibrium
    • Subgame perfect equilibrium
    • Application: product differentiation
    • Repeated games and one-step deviation

  • Static games of incomplete information

    • Motivation
    • Bayesian Nash equilibrium

  • Dynamic games of incomplete information

    • Perfect Bayesian equilibrium
    • Signalling

Econometrics I

This is the first module in the sequence of Econometrics modules designed for Research MPhil students at Cambridge Judge Business School who intend to use econometric methods in their PhD research. It is taught in the Michaelmas Term.

This introductory module develops your capability in using linear regression and associated statistical techniques to examine causal relationships from primarily cross-sectional, observational data. By the end of the module you are to specify, estimate, test, interpret, and critically evaluate single equation regression models, with applications in subject areas of management, finance, and business economics.

The module is followed in the Lent Term by Econometrics II, training you in methods and applications of Micro-econometrics. A further module on Time Series Econometrics is offered as an elective in the Easter Term.

Econometrics II

To carry out empirical research that has the potential to make original contributions to knowledge, it is necessary to exploit the richness and structure of cross-sectional as well as longitudinal data. It is necessary to become enabled in an array of micro-econometric techniques that help researchers to build into the design of their studies, a variety of complexities (in decision-making, for example) and also compensate for partial observability that is inherent in research data.

This module introduces you to core econometric methods that are useful in management, finance and business economics research. It provides the background required to confidently choose techniques and methods suited to different types of data-sources and models. The focus is on how techniques relate to theory, on the insights that can be drawn from their application, and critical interpretation and appraisal of results.

Students must have taken the Econometrics I course to take this course. A further module on Time Series Econometrics is offered as an elective in the Easter Term.

Marketing Strategy

This course is a survey of three distinct yet related areas: marketing, innovation and emerging economies. Marketing is the study of the interaction between organisations and markets. Innovation is the study of the commercial exploitation by organisations of new ideas. Emerging economies, such as India and China, are the big economic phenomenon of the contemporary global scene and the theatre in which new opportunities for marketing and innovation are unfolding in real time. This course takes a strategic perspective on these topics, viewing them all from the perspective of the firm and its performance.

Organisational Research Methods (biennial content)

This course helps you understand a variety of quantitative research methods, as well as their embeddedness within various research designs. Upon completion of the course, you'll have a good understanding of various quantitative methods commonly used in management research, and will have applied this knowledge to your own research project. Specifically, the course covers the following content areas: 

  • Research design
  • Experimental & quasi-experimental design
  • Survey design & analysis
  • Mediation & moderation
  • Multilevel analysis
  • Social network analysis
  • Meta-analysis

The objectives of this course are to increase your understanding of organisational research method and your sensitivity to the practical problems in conducting organisational research, as well as to apply organisational research methods to your own research projects and interests.

Individual Research Project

This module is designed for you to conduct individual research under the supervision of SMO faculty members. Research projects can consist of a thorough literature review related to a specific research question, an in-depth critique of published papers, or a specific application of a research methodology (such as a pilot study on the basis of limited data). Our goal is to familiarise you with the faculty members' current research and bring you closer to the frontier of knowledge. The module can prepare you for the individual research that you will undertake in PhD studies, and can indeed become the starting point of future PhD research.

Information Systems, Innovation & Organisational Change

This course focuses on some key theories and central debates that help us conceptualise the relationship between information systems, innovation, and strategic change. The main texts will draw from information systems, sociology, sociology of technology, and organisation theory. The course examines three key themes:

  • The role of new information technologies in processes of innovation and strategic change within and between industries
  • The role of information systems in enabling innovative work practices and the organisational issues involved in implementing and using technological innovations
  • The relationship between information technology and processes of globalisation

one of the following two courses, depending on year:

Quantitative Marketing Models (2019/20)

This seminar-based course is an overview of quantitative modelling approaches to research on marketing problems. Three major areas are covered:

  • empirical modelling (econometrics)
  • analytical modelling (game theory/industrial organisation)
  • experimental economics/behavioural game theory

In each session you're required to read, analyse and comment on selected papers surrounding the key themes of that session. At least half of every session will be devoted to student presentations and group discussion. Having completed the course, you'll possess some basic knowledge of quantitative modelling in marketing. You'll also be able to leverage your course experience to develop an in-depth understanding of relevant topics of interest that'll help you pursue a research career in a business school.

Consumer Behaviour (2020/21)

This seminar-based course is an overview of issues related to consumer behaviour research in marketing. The course includes readings on marketing research as well as cognate home disciplines such as psychology and behavioural economics. Two major areas are covered:

  • The information processing perspective
  • The behavioural decision perspective

In each session you're required to read, analyse and comment on selected papers surrounding the key themes of that session. At least half of every session will be devoted to student presentations and group discussion. Having completed the course, you'll possess some basic knowledge that will help you appreciate and conduct consumer behaviour research. You'll also be able to leverage your course experience to develop an understanding of relevant topics for a research career at a business school.

one of the following two courses, depending on year:

Organisational Behaviour (2019/20)

This research seminar helps you understand a variety of cutting-edge themes and topics in organisational behaviour (OB). The overarching question we address is how these aspects relate to individual, group and organisational effectiveness. Specifically, the course covers the following content areas:

  • Making a theoretical contribution to OB
  • Personality and values
  • Emotion and moods
  • Motivation
  • Work groups and teams
  • Leadership
  • Organisational culture and climate
  • Developing a research focus

The objectives of this course are to familiarise you with classic and current articles that have shaped the field of organisational behaviour, and to prepare you to develop and conduct organisational behaviour research yourself.

Field Research in an Era of Grand Challenges (2020/21)

This course critically examines research that has been conducted in unconventional contexts and that investigates grand challenges, e.g. poverty, inequality, conflict and climate change. The major themes that are explored include gaining access to novel and unconventional research sites, field-level ethical and moral issues when investigating grand challenges, novel research methods, e.g. online/digital ethnography, the researcher-practitioner interface, theorising from data gathered from unconventional contexts, and publishing research conducted in novel and unconventional contexts and that investigates grand challenges.

one of the following two courses, depending on year:

Seminar in Strategy Content (2019/20)

This course provides a foundational survey of the key theories and empirical works that shape research on the content of strategic management - the relationship between the different strategies and resource and capability bundles firms develop, strategic positions they create, and their financial performance and competitive advantage. Building on strategic management, economics-based, and organisational theories, this course covers substantive research on the antecedents and consequences of competitive and corporate strategies undertaken by firms in connection with the changes and disruptions in the environment. The course involves active student participation in group discussions and critiques of the seminal classic contributions as well as latest research in various topics on the content of strategic management. It also involves you developing your own research ideas and proposals that build on some of the topics and theories covered.

Seminar in Strategy Process (2020/21)

This course provides a foundational survey of the key theories and empirical works that shape research on the process of strategic management - how strategic decisions are made and implemented. Building on behavioural and psychological theories, this course covers substantive research on the strategic processes such as strategic decision-making and implementation at the individual executives, groups (e.g. top management teams, middle managers) and the organisation as a whole (e.g. culture, corporate governance). The course involves active student participation in collective discussions and critiques of the seminal classic contributions as well as latest research in various topics on the content of strategic management. It also involves you developing your own research ideas and proposals that build on some of the topics and theories covered.

You are expected to determine your coursework plan at the start of the academic year, upon consultation with the programme director and the Marketing specialisation faculty. In particular, your coursework modules can deviate from the above list and can be selected from other research courses offered by CJBS or other University of Cambridge departments, upon approval by the programme director.

Applications closed

Admissions for entry in 2018/19 have now closed.

Applications for entry in October 2019 will open on 3 September 2018.

Cambridge MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations alumnus Charles Ebert explains what drew him to the programme.

Watch the video

Scholarships

There are a number of scholarships available to MPhil in SMO students, ranging from University of Cambridge and College scholarships to corporate research funding.

Find out more about scholarships