I am delighted to have the opportunity to write a testimonial about the Smeal Management and Organization Ph.D. program. Both in terms of content and process, the M&O department provided me with an outstanding doctoral experience. In terms of content, the department contains faculty members and doctoral students who approach the study of organizations from a wide range of perspectives and from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds. Equally, the department is characterized by a range of methodological perspectives -- quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. No matter what aspect of organizations you're interested in studying, or how you're interested in studying them, there's going to be someone in the M&O department with expertise and valuable insights. I really don't know of any other management department that prepares students so thoroughly for the breadth of theoretical and methodological approaches that we see in our field.
In terms of process, the M&O Ph.D. program is designed not to turn Ph.D. candidates into Ph.D.s, but to turn Ph.D. candidates into assistant professors at top-tier research institutions. This occurs in several ways. First, the research culture within the department is strong and pervasive. Regular "brown-bag" research meetings, research seminars, and job talks complement the training that students receive in doctoral seminars. Students are also encouraged to attend, and submit papers to, major conferences such as the Academy of Management. Second, students are taught academic "street-smarts" from an early stage in the program. Doctoral seminars address topics such as journal reviewing, the publication process, and applying and interviewing for academic positions. These types of seminars -- and the many informal interactions with faculty and senior doctoral students concerning the same topics -- gave me a much clearer understanding of how the field of management operated. Third, students undertake a reasonable, but not onerous, teaching load over the course of the program. This helped me enormously, and significantly reduced my preparation time, once I started teaching a standard faculty load.
The upshot of all of this for me was that, when I graduated and began work as an assistant professor, the only things that changed in my day-to-day life were a move to my own office and a pleasant bump in salary (neither of which I minded very much). At no stage during my first year as a faculty member did I feel out of my depth or unprepared. To the contrary, I firmly believe that the Smeal M&O Ph.D. program has given me the best possible opportunity to succeed in this field. Any errors and omissions, as they say, will be my own.
Craig Crossland, 2007 Ph.D. Graduate
I joined the PhD program of the Management and Organization department in the fall of 2004 and graduated in August 2009. These five years have been life changing for me. Penn State has one of the top management PhD programs in the world. Here I came into contact with the leading thinkers in the field and found them to be accessible, friendly, and willing to help. The program stands out because of its strong emphasis on research and the collegial relationship among the faculty and the students. I do not think I could have had access to better resources, training, and faculty. The university town of State College is a beautiful place to live.
Arijit Chatterjee, 2009 Ph.D. Graduate
Penn State’s faculty are among the top scholars in the world and being able to both take classes and receive individual mentoring from them was and is invaluable to my career. The training I received at Penn State has prepared me to be competitive in the global marketplace of academic scholars. I cannot overstate the positive nature of my experience during my time as a PhD student. I continue to interact with and learn from these amazing individuals and strongly encourage anyone considering a PhD program in the M&O department at Penn State to make every effort to speak with the faculty in order to understand firsthand what their PhD experience could be like. My decision to attend the Ph.D. program at Penn State was by far the best career decision I could have made. Considering the experiences I gained and the training and mentoring I received, I can think of no other program that offers such wonderful preparation. It is a program that truly readies a person to enter academia. In addition, I developed friendships during my time in the doctoral program that I know will last a lifetime. So when I look back on my time at Penn State, I do so with great sense of gratitude.
Bruce Skaggs, 1999 Ph.D. Graduate
I am happy and proud to say that choosing Penn State is one of my best decisions I’ve ever made. The five-year Ph.D. journey at Penn State was most rewarding. Here, we can get the rigorous training as an academic scholar. We worked with the most productive professors who are very accessible and ready to help. We were inspired by their knowledge, creative thinking, and a dynamic learning environment. Guoli Chen, 2008 Ph.D. Graduate Pursuing a PhD program at the Smeal College's M&O department was a transformative experience in my life and the things that I learned continue to inspire me to this day. A unique feature of the program is the width of intellectual pursuits of the department's faculty members, many of whom are leading scholars in their respective sub-disciplines. This choice of research avenues provides ample scope for doctoral students to develop novel and important research agendas as they progress through their programs. Rajiv Nag, 2006 Ph.D. Graduate I chose the Penn State doctoral program because of the overlap in my research interests with those of the faculty. The faculty are world-class, and my training prepared me well for a successful academic career. In addition to the great classes and intense research projects, they did an excellent job of socializing us for the professoriate through a weekly colloquium, and were extremely supportive throughout the process. It's a terrific doctoral program. Joe Labianca, 1998 Ph.D. Graduate While I was aware of the importance of publishing when applying to PhD programs, I’ve since come to realize that its importance cannot be understated. Quite simply, when it comes to gaining a position in a top business school, publishing as a doctoral student makes the difference. In the Management and Organization department here at Smeal, publishing has been the focus since day one. Seminar papers are geared towards a goal of submission to conferences and, ultimately, journals. RA work is generally focused on projects that are driven by the student rather than busy work in the service of the advisor’s research interests. And, perhaps most important, comprehensive exams occur after year one allowing students to focus from that point forward on gaining a publication track record. The results are clear. Not only is the Management and Organization Department at Smeal among the most productive, many of these papers are led by doctoral students. When I talk to peers at other universities, it is clear what an advantage this is.
Tim Quigley, Class of 2011 Ph.D. Candidate