You have decided that you want to pursue a PhD in business. You know the discipline you want to study (whether it is accounting, finance, marketing, or one of the many other business discplines). Now, comes the difficult, and often frustrating, part of the process—finding a doctoral program that will provide you with the career you want after graduation.
Here are a few tips and steps to help make finding the perfect PhD program easier:
Decide where you can study.
It is pretty rare that students find doctoral programs near where they live. For this reason, you may need to search for programs outside of your state/providence, region, or even country. But before you begin looking for schools, the question you should ask yourself is, "where can I study?" Afterall, there are some locations that are just not feasible. Next, make a list of the places you are able to go to. Remember, you will be a full-time student, therefore; traveling to and from the school is likely not an option. Base your list of locations on factors such as employment opportunities, residency requirements (such as visas and other credentials), living arrangements, and available transportation options.
Find AACSB-accredited institutions with doctoral programs in your desired locations.
Next, create a list of accredited schools that have doctoral programs in your displine in the locations you have listed. AACSB's student website provides a search feature that will populate schools with doctoral programs by discipline and location. The search engine can be found at: www.bestbizschools.com/doctorate/search-aacsb-accredited-schools/search.html.
Find top researchers in your discipline.
Now that you have a list of schools with acceptable programs in your feasible locations, it is time to narrow the list down even further. To help do this, gather a variety of top research journals in your desired discipline. If it is finance, start with the Journal of Finance, etc. These journals should be "top-tear," or "A-rated" publications. For instance, the journals you examine should be peer-reviewed and have tough standards for article publication. Next, look through the articles within these journals. Make a list of authors and their associated institutions. Be sure to note the authors that have been published multiple times. Then, look at each article's reference list. Make note of the authors that have been referenced multiple times. Review more than one issue of each journal, such as archives from the past several years. The goal is to pinpoint top researchers in your desired discipline and the institutions at which they are employed. Ideally, you should find a program that will provide access to top researching faculty. The better your faculty mentor's research and data analysis skills, the better your training will be. Also, you will be able to mention that you have studied under a top researcher in your field.
To help you with this process, AACSB's student website provides a list of common journals by discipline under each doctoral program concentration. Here are a few links to program information and journal websites:
Additionally, there are several organizations that provide listings of "top" journals. AACSB International does not endorce any ranking methodology or the quality of the journals listed by these organizations. However, many business schools and faculty may use these listings as journal evaluation criteria. Several of these organizations include:
Academic Articles on Journal Rankings, 1990–2009
A PDF listing academic articles concerning journal quality and journal rankings, compiled in part through a 2007–2008 study by Bruce Lewis on how AACSB member schools judge journal quality.
Association of Business Schools (ABS) Journal Quality Guide
Journal rankings based on the tiered lists from several schools that are members of the UK Association of Business Schools.
Cabell’s Directory of Publishing Opportunities
A reference guide listing nearly 2,000 journals (mostly U.S.-based) in the subject areas of accounting, economics and finance, management, and marketing.
Journal rankings based on citation networks, using Thomson’s Journal Citation Reports.
Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index
Offered by Academic Analytics, measures the annual productivity of faculty on several factors including publications (books and journal articles), citations of journal publications, federal research funding, and awards and honors. (Subscription required).
Foundation Nationale pour l'Enseignement de la Gestion des Entreprises (FNEGE)
The French National Foundation for Teaching Business Management publishes a ranking of academic journals in various business disciplines, including many that are published in English and/or in French.
Harzing.com Journal Quality List
Journal rankings from various schools and organizations, organized in the following broad fields: economics, finance, accounting, management, and marketing.
ISI Web of Knowledge Journal
Citation reports and journal use reports, provided by Thomson Reuters.
Research database that allows the viewing of statistical information on popularity of journals in a given field, including most read authors, outlets, articles, etc. Mendeley provides users with real-time research trend statistics, personal research impact data, as well as the capability to discover one’s own research developments over time.
Provides abstracts and citations from research literature and quality links. Using this tool one can find how many citations an article or an author has received, as well as who cited the article. One also can analyze citations for a particular journal issue, volume, or year.
Social Sciences Research Network
Publishes a searchable database of abstracts and working papers in a variety of business disciplines, with the goal of encouraging the early distribution of research results as a means of facilitating communication and collaboration among researchers. The network also publishes a ranking of the most downloaded articles and authors within each discipline.
A network of academic publications that utilizes crowd sourcing for the peer-review process, which aims to resolve problems with the current academic publishing model.
Tinbergen Institute Classification of Journals
Tinbergen Institute has drawn up a classification of journals in the field of economics. The list is limited to the fields covered by the Tinbergen Institute: economics, econometrics, finance, operations research, marketing, and accounting. The ranking plays an important role in the weighing of the publications of applicants for the admission to the Tinbergen Institute as a research fellow.
University of Texas at Dallas University Research Rankings
Based upon publications in 24 top journals for a five-year time period (2000–2004). Visitors can search a database of articles published in those same 24 journals since 1990.
University of Western Ontario Business Library
A comprehensive list of articles about the rating and ranking of journals in the various business disciplines.