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PhD in Political Economy/ PoliSci after an MBA


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Hi All,


I'm currently finishing up the first of two years of my MBA at the Simon Business School, University of Rochester concentrating in Business and Public Policy and International Management and I am strongly considering going on to get a PhD in political economy or political science instead of going the more traditional corporate route post-MBA. I'm going to be interning with USAID this summer in Ethiopia this summer doing development work and would be really eager to turn this experience into part of my research in a PhD program. I've been looking at a number of schools and have a list of the big ones below:

  • Stanford Business School PhD in political economy (dream school)
  • UCLA
  • UCLA Anderson Business School 
  • USC
  • Ohio State
  • University of Washington
  • Maryland
  • Duke
  • Cal


A little bit of background on me:

  • 2013 BA in International Relations and History from the University of Rochester. Research Honors with Highest Distinction, Phi Beta Kappa, 3.95 overall GPA, Top graduating student in both Political Science department and History department.
  • 2012 GRE scores: Verbal 166 (96%) Quant 159 (74%) Writing 4.5 (80%)
  • I did an honors thesis in history as well as an invite-only upper level research thesis for political science as an undergrad
  • 3.81 GPA in business school. The school is super-quantative focused and I've been doing a good deal of stats, programming, etc.
  • Studied abroad in France as an undergrad and have 2 years of college-level French.


I know my path to a PhD would be a little different and I'm worried that it could be held against me. I know the GRE's are a little low and I'm probably going to take them again. Overall I would like to get a better sense of my chances and how to proceed with this application. Has any one out there had a similar background or known of someone who has? What can I do with a year available to me to make me more competitive?


Thanks in advance! :D

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I think you'd be a very strong candidate. i don't get the list of schools though and would advise you to talk to your UR polisci profs sooner than later about your plans.


Thank you very much. I have been working this week to nail down a better "target list" of schools, and I've been seeing some good potential "fit" with Stanford, Columbia, Chicago, Duke, UCLA, and Wisconsin. I'm looking to do research in the ways that international organizations and actions impact domestic groups differently; and If possible I would also like to extend that research to examine how domestic actors can influence their home country's foreign policy.


My goal is definitely to teach and do research, though I realize the job market is tough and finding work in policy research would not be the end of the world for me. 


In your experience do these schools match up pretty well? Is there someplace I am overlooking? Thanks again!

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If pursuing a PhD in Political Science appears to be more daunting than you thought it might be, why not pursue a PhD or DBA in Business Administration with an official focus on International Business but specifically Political Economy?

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