Jump to content

Ph.D in Marketing or Org Behavior (or apply to both)?


Recommended Posts

Hello all,

I've thought about applying for a Ph.D. for some time, and now after gaining adjunct teaching experience and volunteering at a local university on a few research projects I'm inching closer to taking the plunge. My professional background and teaching experience are in marketing, but I've always been more drawn to topics in OB (and my research experience is here). So I'm a bit torn as to which programs to apply to. If you have any experience in either field, I'm wondering if you have any thoughts on the following questions:

1. Is the academic job market better in one field over the other?

2. Is there any down side to applying for both types of programs and seeing where I can get in?

3. Is either field more or less restricting geographically once the degree is completed? It seems like marketing departments tend to be larger, which might mean greater control over job location.

4. Do industry experience and industry contacts in a particular field offer any benefits? Would it make it easier to conduct real world experiments and gather data for research?

5. I fully intend to be extremely busy in either type of program. But I do have a family to consider as well. If anyone has experience at an east coast US program in either field that they perceive as more "family friendly", I'd love to hear about your experience.

Thanks for your input!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Hi Oscar,

On jobs: I would say that after the PhD, it's a little easier to get an academic job in Marketing departments than in OB departments. Geography-wise, I have no idea.

On applying: On the "self" side, I would find it difficult to apply to both types given the effort involved in crafting personal statements, recommendation letters, etc.

On the "them" side, I would not tell schools to which you're applying to that you've sent apps in both fields (note: most schools mandate that you can only apply to one department within the business school whole). They will read your indecisiveness as a lack of preparedness for the programs and count it against you.

On research: I don't see a difference in ease of obtaining "real world" data between fields.

On family: I don't know that one school is particularly more family-friendly than another, but the most prestigious the program, the more the professors will expect of you and that in itself might be harder on your family. Your best bet might be to reach out to current students in the programs you are considering. If they are responsive, you might ask if any current students in the program have families of their own.

In general, I do not think the differences are so great as to sway you one way or another. I think you'd be happier in a program that aligns with your interests, which sounds like OB. Also keep in mind that any research experience will count more heavily in your application than your professional background and even your teaching. Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Oscar07, I believe the only important difference is an obvious one:  marketing PhD's, natch, tend to place more readily into marketing departments, whereas OB PhD's tend to place more readily into OB departments.  Some OB PhD's may also place into strategy departments, and some (micro)-OB PhD's place into pure psychology departments.  On the other hand, I've never heard of a (behavioral) marketing PhD placing into a strategy or pure psychology department.  {Perhaps it has happened, but it seems exceedingly rare.}  Note, I am comparing micro-OB and behavioral marketing for I presume that those are the PhD fields that you are comparing.  {Neither quant-marketing nor macro-OB share much in common with each other.} 


On the other hand, it is indeed true that micro-OB and behavioral marketing share much overlap, often times competing in the same job market, attending each other's seminars and publishing/citing each other's journals. 


What I recommend is that you take a sample of some of the "A-level" journals of each field and peruse the articles, or at least the abstracts.  While by no means an exhaustive list, for micro-OB, we're talking journals such as Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (OBHDP), Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (JPSP),  Journal of Applied Psychology (JAP) whereas marketing would be Journal of Consumer Research (JCR), Journal of Marketing Research (JMR), Journal of Marketing (JOM), Marketing Science (MS).  If you lack access to those journals through your current university, you may be able to obtain access to older copies of those journals thorugh JSTOR at your public library or through alumni access of your undergraduate college library.   The goal is simply to determine what sorts of journals, and therefore which field (OB vs. marketing), seem to pertain more towards your research interests. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use