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PhD Profile Evaluation : Interested in PhD in Marketing (CB)

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PhD Profile Evaluation : Interested in PhD in Marketing (CB)  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 04 Feb 2019, 14:56
Hi everyone,

Hi, I'm a working male professional, Engineering + MBA, from India. I wish to pursue a PhD in Marketing (Consumer Behavior) from a top 20 university in the US. I will also keep a few options from 21-50 while applying.

What am I looking for?

Can people with experience in PhD applications or those who've helped PhD aspirants review my profile and help me understand how to move from here to securing a seat at a top tier US b-school. I would like to understand:
- strengths/areas of doubt in my profile
- GMAT target scores
- colleges to aim for
- what else should I do to present a well rounded profile

Here's a brief outline of my profile:

Educational Qualification:

MBA from MICA, Ahmedabad (Class of 2014, GPA 3.15/4)
Major: Digital Communication Management

B.Tech from IIT Dhanbad (Class of 2012, GPA 7.5/10)
Major: Mineral Processing Engineering

12th : 95%
10th : 96%

Work Experience:

I will have a total post-MBA work experience of 5 years as of April 2019.
I have worked as a research analyst in a management consulting firm in the marketing and communications function; then worked in digital marketing and advertising for a while, and for the last couple of years I have worked as a product marketing manager for a couple of SaaS startups. While the job roles may appear to be quite unrelated, marketing and communication has been at the core of all of these, and the key skills that I have developed are user behaviour research, market research, and marketing and communication strategy design.[/i]

Why PhD?

I have always been leaning towards a career that involves critical thinking, research, and 'knowledge production'. While my current career progression has been fulfilling, it has been a bit tactical, and I want to move towards a deeper, more cognitive immersion into the study of marketing, and want to be creating new knowledge in the field, instead of merely using existing theories and models. I am looking to develop an expertise, both theoretical and practical, that lies at the intersection of marketing and psychology. A PhD seems to be the only way to go about it.

My broad interest areas include - Consumer behaviour, consumer identity, consumer decision making.

My timelines and current status - I am looking to apply for Fall 2020. I recently gave a Manhattan Diagnostic CAT and scored a 680 (Q42, V40). Plan to take the GMAT in April, target score range 730-750.

A huge thanks in advance, looking forward to every word of constructive feedback! :)

Originally posted by variantguy on 03 Feb 2019, 03:13.
Last edited by billionaire on 04 Feb 2019, 14:56, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: PhD Profile Evaluation : Interested in PhD in Marketing (CB)  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Feb 2019, 09:59
1
variantguy wrote:
Hi everyone,

My name is Varun Tyagi, and I come from India. I wish to pursue a PhD in Marketing from a top tier university in the US.

What am I looking for?

Can people with experience in PhD applications or those who've helped PhD aspirants review my profile and help me understand how to move from here to securing a seat at a top tier US b-school. I would like to understand:
- strengths/areas of doubt in my profile
- GMAT target scores
- colleges to aim for
- what else should I do to present a well rounded profile

Here's a brief outline of my profile:

Educational Qualification:

MBA from MICA, Ahmedabad (Class of 2014, GPA 3.15/4)
Major: Digital Communication Management

B.Tech from IIT Dhanbad (Class of 2008, GPA 7.5/10)
Major: Mineral Processing Engineering

12th : 95%
10th : 96%

Work Experience:

I will have a total post-MBA work experience of 5 years as of April 2019.
I started worked as a research analyst in a marketing consulting firm, then worked in digital marketing and advertising for a while, and for the last couple of years I have worked as a product marketing manager for a leading SaaS startup in India. While the job roles may appear to be quite unrelated, marketing has been at the core of all of these, and the key skills that I have developed are user behaviour research, market research, and marketing and communication strategy design.

Why PhD?

I have always been leaning towards a career that involves critical thinking, research, and 'knowledge gathering'. While my current career progression has been fulfilling, it has been a bit tactical, and I want to move towards a deeper, more cognitive immersion into the study of marketing. I am looking to develop an expertise, both theoretical and practical, that lies at the intersection of marketing and psychology. A PhD seems to be the only way to go about it.

My broad interest areas include - Consumer behaviour, consumer identity, consumer decision making.

My timelines and current status - I am looking to apply for Fall 2020. I recently gave a Manhattan Diagnostic CAT and scored a 680 (Q42, V40).

A huge thanks in advance, looking forward to every word of constructive feedback! :)



Hello variantguy


Top tier university in US is a little bit vague description, but if we are talking about top 10-15, you will probably need higher GMAT score than 680.

Your previous education background and GPA is good.

Your working experience is very relevant to what you want to pursue.

Intersection of marketing and psychology sound interesting, though I don't believe there is really marketing that is not psychology based.


If you are shooting for top US schools GMAT would need to be around 720 or higher.

You can find all those specific information on websites of schools you want to apply.


Good news is that Manhattan test is usually perceived as little bit harder than real test, so you are on right track.


Good Luck with application :geek: :cool:
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Re: PhD Profile Evaluation : Interested in PhD in Marketing (CB)  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Feb 2019, 00:48
Hi billionaire,

Thanks for your detailed response. :)

My bad, I should have been more specific with the schools I'm looking at. But yes, I'm looking at the top 15 b-schools, I haven't yet filtered them into buckets on the basis of priority and backup.

You are right that most, if not all, marketing has a basis in psychology. I think what I meant to convey was that I want to move deeper into the theoretical and qualitative immersion of this intersection, with an epistemological pursuit like a PhD, since I've already spent time in industry and understood the practical aspect of it, post an MBA. I'm keeping my options open on whether I'll want to pursue a career in academia after the PhD, or would like to come back to industry with a stronger theoretical foundation than now.

It's good to hear that my profile and diagnostic scores aren't a complete trash! :P

I am only beginning to prepare for GMAT now, I aim planning to sit the test in April, and keeping a target score range of 730-750. But I'll take your advice and do my research on the scores for the schools I'm looking at.

Also, could you help me understand if having published papers is a make or break factor in getting an admit from the top 10 schools? As it is, I have done a lot of research work in my jobs, though not as a structured publication. I am, however, planning to use the time from now until September 2019 to do a short research paper under a professor from the b-school I've attended. I see this exercise as both a pilot to gauge my aptitude for long-term research, and if do end up doing a decent job I could mention it in my application as well?
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New post 04 Feb 2019, 09:25
1
variantguy wrote:
Hi billionaire,

Thanks for your detailed response. :)

My bad, I should have been more specific with the schools I'm looking at. But yes, I'm looking at the top 15 b-schools, I haven't yet filtered them into buckets on the basis of priority and backup.

You are right that most, if not all, marketing has a basis in psychology. I think what I meant to convey was that I want to move deeper into the theoretical and qualitative immersion of this intersection, with an epistemological pursuit like a PhD, since I've already spent time in industry and understood the practical aspect of it, post an MBA. I'm keeping my options open on whether I'll want to pursue a career in academia after the PhD, or would like to come back to industry with a stronger theoretical foundation than now.

It's good to hear that my profile and diagnostic scores aren't a complete trash! :P

I am only beginning to prepare for GMAT now, I aim planning to sit the test in April, and keeping a target score range of 730-750. But I'll take your advice and do my research on the scores for the schools I'm looking at.

Also, could you help me understand if having published papers is a make or break factor in getting an admit from the top 10 schools? As it is, I have done a lot of research work in my jobs, though not as a structured publication. I am, however, planning to use the time from now until September 2019 to do a short research paper under a professor from the b-school I've attended. I see this exercise as both a pilot to gauge my aptitude for long-term research, and if do end up doing a decent job I could mention it in my application as well?



Hi variantguy

Yes, you should keep your options open.

5 years is long period of time and a lot of can change in your personal and professional life.

What is certain you will not be the same person as you are now, you will evolve.

Regarding top 15, I think you should structure you application list, something like this :

2-3 dream schools
4-5 fit
2 safety

One caveat is that reputation of overall university brand doesn't always translates to every single department, in this case marketing department.

What I am trying to say is you should read Marketing journals, find a research that interest you, that you already mention above, and I am pretty sure you will discover some awesome professors/departments that may belong to top 30 overall from university brand recognition standpoint, but in Marketing they are in top 10.

This is true for any specialization in academia.

Therefore, you should construct your application list carefully, not just take usual suspects replica.

You should come up with application list that is optimized as best for you and you only, that cannot be applied to anybody else. :idea:

Well in general, having published paper is not make or break factor to get admitted, beware however that top 10 are extremely competitive and there would be a applicants who will have published paper on their CV.

That being said, that will not make them necessary better candidates than you, admission committee will look very carefully at your application and evaluate it holistically.

You will also have interview if they are seriously interested, where you can address any point/issue.

Yes, be sure to mention all research experience in your personal essay.


Once again good luck with application :geek: :cool:
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Re: PhD Profile Evaluation : Interested in PhD in Marketing (CB)  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Feb 2019, 12:16
Hi billionaire, thank you for taking time to respond!

(Sorry for not being able to quote your response, apparently I'm supposed to be at least 5 days old in this forum to be able to post links) :/

What you said above regarding my application list structure makes absolute sense. I actually realised that my earlier blanket response of 'Top 15' didn't make sense.

At the time of your last response, I was in the middle of running a more comprehensive analysis of schools (based on both strength of the marketing dept. as well as overall college brand reputation).

What I have currently is this shortlist : imgur(dot)com/gallery/EF4OYHy

I hope you're able to see this. A bit on my methodology for the list:

- I've relied on publications in reputed marketing journals in recent years as the primary factor (used UTD and FT for this), followed by accounting for overall college rankings from the 2 of the big 5 lists, and an additional P&Q list because of their comprehensive ranking methodology.

If you were able to see the image, I have a few questions:

- Do you think my methodology makes sense? I'm treating this as a first cut exercise, I will further filter the 'dream', 'fit', and 'safety' shortlists based on a deeper analysis of the faculty profile, areas of active research, stipend, funding etc.

- I feel there's a steep drop in overall college quality between my 'fit' and 'safety' (in the latter, most colleges rank in the late 30s and 40s overall), so wondering if I should choose the lower ranked colleges in my 'fit' category as 'safety' instead. (Excuse my naivety if I'm assuming anything beyond Top 30-35 to not be worth an investment).

This has also given me an idea of the target score - looks like I need to work for a 730+ to feel confident about my 'dream' options and comfortable about my 'safety' options.
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PhD Profile Evaluation : Interested in PhD in Marketing (CB)  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Feb 2019, 04:29
1
variantguy wrote:
Hi billionaire, thank you for taking time to respond!

(Sorry for not being able to quote your response, apparently I'm supposed to be at least 5 days old in this forum to be able to post links) :/

What you said above regarding my application list structure makes absolute sense. I actually realised that my earlier blanket response of 'Top 15' didn't make sense.

At the time of your last response, I was in the middle of running a more comprehensive analysis of schools (based on both strength of the marketing dept. as well as overall college brand reputation).

What I have currently is this shortlist : imgur(dot)com/gallery/EF4OYHy

I hope you're able to see this. A bit on my methodology for the list:

- I've relied on publications in reputed marketing journals in recent years as the primary factor (used UTD and FT for this), followed by accounting for overall college rankings from the 2 of the big 5 lists, and an additional P&Q list because of their comprehensive ranking methodology.

If you were able to see the image, I have a few questions:

- Do you think my methodology makes sense? I'm treating this as a first cut exercise, I will further filter the 'dream', 'fit', and 'safety' shortlists based on a deeper analysis of the faculty profile, areas of active research, stipend, funding etc.

- I feel there's a steep drop in overall college quality between my 'fit' and 'safety' (in the latter, most colleges rank in the late 30s and 40s overall), so wondering if I should choose the lower ranked colleges in my 'fit' category as 'safety' instead. (Excuse my naivety if I'm assuming anything beyond Top 30-35 to not be worth an investment).

This has also given me an idea of the target score - looks like I need to work for a 730+ to feel confident about my 'dream' options and comfortable about my 'safety' options.


Hello variantguy

Yes, I am able to see the picture.

I will upload it below, so others also can see it, can comment and help you.

I understand your ranking methodology and that is fine, except I would subtract Forbes/US News rankings from it.

We all know who best universities are based on global or US brand recognition.

Okay, if you are really really new to this game maybe that makes some sense for you, but IMO it only skews your final application list.

It would not be personal enough if you give weights to those rankings and dont worry there still would be dream schools on your list.


Okay go deeper in that direction, faculty profile, areas of active research.

Dont worry about funding, they all will give you funding for PhD ;)

Stipend will be adjusted for living costs in particular city/area...so they all are around the same, more or less.

Yes I would call absolute naivety assuming anything beyond Top 30-35 to not be worth an investment :)

It is up to you how would rank schools and move them up or down, safety school would be the one where you are fairly certain you would be accepted and you still want to go, but if you happen to be lucky to get multiple offers, compared with safety school on your list you would rather go to fit one or dream.

Thats the definition.


However, you cannot really decide where to put them compared to your profile, since you dont have your final GMAT score.

So lets say we pick GMAT score 710, compared to that from your list schools that have 650-670 average GMAT are good candidates for safety choice.


I must tell you CMU and Cornell are absolutely top schools, so they should not be in your safety(yellow) category :)




Good Luck :geek: :cool:
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schools list .png
schools list .png [ 184.18 KiB | Viewed 108 times ]


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Re: PhD Profile Evaluation : Interested in PhD in Marketing (CB)  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Feb 2019, 02:35
billionaire wrote:

Hello variantguy

Yes, I am able to see the picture.

I will upload it below, so others also can see it, can comment and help you.

I understand your ranking methodology and that is fine, except I would subtract Forbes/US News rankings from it.

We all know who best universities are based on global or US brand recognition.

Okay, if you are really really new to this game maybe that makes some sense for you, but IMO it only skews your final application list.

It would not be personal enough if you give weights to those rankings and dont worry there still would be dream schools on your list.


Okay go deeper in that direction, faculty profile, areas of active research.

Dont worry about funding, they all will give you funding for PhD ;)

Stipend will be adjusted for living costs in particular city/area...so they all are around the same, more or less.

Yes I would call absolute naivety assuming anything beyond Top 30-35 to not be worth an investment :)

It is up to you how would rank schools and move them up or down, safety school would be the one where you are fairly certain you would be accepted and you still want to go, but if you happen to be lucky to get multiple offers, compared with safety school on your list you would rather go to fit one or dream.

Thats the definition.


However, you cannot really decide where to put them compared to your profile, since you don't have your final GMAT score.

So lets say we pick GMAT score 710, compared to that from your list schools that have 650-670 average GMAT are good candidates for safety choice.


I must tell you CMU and Cornell are absolutely top schools, so they should not be in your safety(yellow) category :)




Good Luck :geek: :cool:


Hi billionaire

Ranking Methodology - I think most of what you said makes sense.

I was trying to come up with a weighted ranking score, personalised for my scenario, but I observed that the US News/Forbes rankings were skewing the data.

I've taken those out, and additionally, I am considering US News. Psychology dept. rankings as well for each university, since research would be fairly cross-departmental between mktg, and psych. (should have done this from the start, DUH!)

Weightage - 70% Mktg. research rank (average of UTD and FT ranks) and 30% to US News Psychology rank. (I tried a 50,30,20 formula as well prior to this, 20% being for overall college rank).

Attached is the image and what the list looks like. GMAT scores in gray are the ones that are confirmed for PhD (Marketing), the rest are average MBA scores. I am seeing a 15-30 point hike between MBA and PhD scores, I think this is because of the extremely low intake for PhD which means more competition.

Keeping this in mind to readjust my target MBA score (730-750).

Also, I have only marked the dream colleges for now. :)

Shortlisting - I agree with you that without a GMAT score, this exercise is pretty much incomplete. So, I'm going to pause on this at this point. I know the larger pool of colleges and I have a fair idea of my target GMAT score. I will revisit this list post GMAT (planning to take it in first week of April), and start looking at colleges more analytically then.

GMAT Prep Update

Manhattan CAT 1 (Feb 3, 2019) : 680 (Q42, V40)
GMAC Practice Test 1 (Feb 9,2019) : 720 (Q48,V40)
Attachments

Screenshot 2019-02-11 at 3.52.53 PM.png
Screenshot 2019-02-11 at 3.52.53 PM.png [ 231.77 KiB | Viewed 74 times ]

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Re: PhD Profile Evaluation : Interested in PhD in Marketing (CB)  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Feb 2019, 08:55
2
variantguy wrote:
billionaire wrote:

Hello variantguy

Yes, I am able to see the picture.

I will upload it below, so others also can see it, can comment and help you.

I understand your ranking methodology and that is fine, except I would subtract Forbes/US News rankings from it.

We all know who best universities are based on global or US brand recognition.

Okay, if you are really really new to this game maybe that makes some sense for you, but IMO it only skews your final application list.

It would not be personal enough if you give weights to those rankings and dont worry there still would be dream schools on your list.


Okay go deeper in that direction, faculty profile, areas of active research.

Dont worry about funding, they all will give you funding for PhD ;)

Stipend will be adjusted for living costs in particular city/area...so they all are around the same, more or less.

Yes I would call absolute naivety assuming anything beyond Top 30-35 to not be worth an investment :)

It is up to you how would rank schools and move them up or down, safety school would be the one where you are fairly certain you would be accepted and you still want to go, but if you happen to be lucky to get multiple offers, compared with safety school on your list you would rather go to fit one or dream.

Thats the definition.


However, you cannot really decide where to put them compared to your profile, since you don't have your final GMAT score.

So lets say we pick GMAT score 710, compared to that from your list schools that have 650-670 average GMAT are good candidates for safety choice.


I must tell you CMU and Cornell are absolutely top schools, so they should not be in your safety(yellow) category :)




Good Luck :geek: :cool:


Hi billionaire

Ranking Methodology - I think most of what you said makes sense.

I was trying to come up with a weighted ranking score, personalised for my scenario, but I observed that the US News/Forbes rankings were skewing the data.

I've taken those out, and additionally, I am considering US News. Psychology dept. rankings as well for each university, since research would be fairly cross-departmental between mktg, and psych. (should have done this from the start, DUH!)

Weightage - 70% Mktg. research rank (average of UTD and FT ranks) and 30% to US News Psychology rank. (I tried a 50,30,20 formula as well prior to this, 20% being for overall college rank).

Attached is the image and what the list looks like. GMAT scores in gray are the ones that are confirmed for PhD (Marketing), the rest are average MBA scores. I am seeing a 15-30 point hike between MBA and PhD scores, I think this is because of the extremely low intake for PhD which means more competition.

Keeping this in mind to readjust my target MBA score (730-750).

Also, I have only marked the dream colleges for now. :)

Shortlisting - I agree with you that without a GMAT score, this exercise is pretty much incomplete. So, I'm going to pause on this at this point. I know the larger pool of colleges and I have a fair idea of my target GMAT score. I will revisit this list post GMAT (planning to take it in first week of April), and start looking at colleges more analytically then.

GMAT Prep Update

Manhattan CAT 1 (Feb 3, 2019) : 680 (Q42, V40)
GMAC Practice Test 1 (Feb 9,2019) : 720 (Q48,V40)


Hello variantguy

I agree with you, yes you should pause for now.

Yes PhD GMAT scores are indeed usually higher than for MBA at top schools.

Those MBA guys are paying for their school, PhD guys do not.

Yes competition is vastly more sharp at PhD level, mostly due to fact, department can accept only two highly qualified people that year on none if they are not happy with application pool.

The most I heard they are willing to accept per year goes up to 5, but that is rare, doesn't happen every year at particular department and it is still conditional upon quality of applicants, in another words they dont feel pressure to fill any quota.


I know this interesting to do this kind of research and necessary to some point, I did it myself for my needs (Finance), but at the end it would not be science, it would be art to shortlist.

What you should look for are anomalies.

For instance, great schools with not such great/top average GMAT score, meaning kinda less competitive.

There are some on your list now, but as you said what is not gray, should not be taken seriously at this point.


Anyway I believe you will be able to come up with good suitable list for you after all this research.


Good Luck :geek: :cool:
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Re: PhD Profile Evaluation : Interested in PhD in Marketing (CB)   [#permalink] 11 Feb 2019, 08:55
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