Department Philosophy Regarding the Ph.D. Marketing Curriculum

            At the Ph.D. level, our objective is to enable students: (1) to acquire knowledge and expertise in a specialized area of marketing, (2) to develop the conceptual and methodological skills required for conducting original research, and (3) to prepare to teach marketing at the undergraduate and graduate levels. This is accomplished through advanced coursework and apprenticeship with graduate Faculty.


            The Faculty believes that Ph.D. students generally require seminar classes dedicated exclusively to study at the doctoral level. In addition to imparting specialized marketing knowledge, these seminars should foster independent, critical thinking on the part of the students.  

            The emphasis in the doctoral seminars should be on the development of an appreciation for theoretical research, model building, and model testing. This must, however, be done in a manner that also helps students to develop an understanding of the role of such research in managerial and organizational contexts. Thus, the primary focus of the doctoral curriculum is on basic scholarship (i.e., the creation of new marketing knowledge) with applied scholarship (i.e., the application, transfer, and interpretation of knowledge to improve marketing management practice and teaching) playing a secondary role in the student's education.


            Additions, changes, and deletions to the Ph.D. curriculum are to be reviewed by the Departmental FAC, and approved by the college Ph.D. subcommittee and the College Graduate Council. Additionally, along with the Chairperson, this body has the responsibility for periodic review and evaluation of the doctoral curriculum. The purpose of the review and evaluation process is to assure that (1) the doctoral curriculum is consistent with the Department's mission, (2) it is updated to incorporate improvements based on contemporary marketing theory and practice, and (3) it embodies the ideas presented in this philosophy.


            Two important components of the Ph.D. student experience within the Marketing Department are the performance of original research and classroom teaching. The mentorship program will assist in each of these areas.


1.         Department Philosophy Regarding Student Selection


The Marketing Department currently recommends selection of Ph.D. students. The intention is to identify individuals who have a combination of educational training, practical experience, and academic skills that provides them with the potential to learn to conduct high-quality original research in a specialized area of marketing and to learn to teach effectively at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The desire is to select students who have a high probability of completing the Ph.D. program and of being productive members of universities having quality equal to, or better than, that of Kent State. As is true with Faculty selection, it is explicitly recognized that demographic diversity in the student body is a desirable goal because this brings differing perspectives to the program.


            To these ends, the Department is committed to selecting students for the Ph.D. program who have: 

  • completed the MBA and have relevant business experience
  • have a high level of academic skills (as evidenced by GPA and GMAT scores)
  • have the potential or proven ability to effectively share knowledge (orally and in writing)
  • have the initiative and motivation to complete the Ph.D. program.


2.         Purpose of the Research Mentorship Program


            Consistent with the aforementioned Department Philosophy Regarding the Ph.D. Marketing Curriculum, the Mentorship Program has two primary goals. The first is to help the Ph.D. student develop the conceptual and methodological skill required for conducting original research, and the second is to help the student acquire the knowledge necessary to establish expertise in a specialized area of marketing. In addition, the Mentorship Program may help the student to understand the utilization of expertise in problem resolution and, to a lesser extent, help the student prepare for teaching at the graduate and undergraduate level.




3.         Process


            In the research Mentorship Program, each student is assigned to a Faculty member.  Working jointly with the mentor as a research "team," they develop a research idea, which the student presents in a one hour lunch time "brown bag" session at the end of the first semester. After receiving feedback from Faculty and students, the research team completes the study in the second semester and the student does another brown bag presentation in the Spring term. The research team is then, at a minimum, expected to complete a paper suitable to submit to an AMA Educators’ Conference.


            A new Faculty/student assignment typically will be made during each year until the student reaches candidacy (i.e., passes comprehensive examinations). In most cases by the third year, students are working on research related to their dissertations. 


            An important idea behind the Mentorship Program is that students should be exposed to a variety of research perspectives. Normally, during the program, students will be involved with three different Faculty mentors. Each mentor will have different perspectives on research, as well as differing individual strengths (and weaknesses). The student can maximally benefit from working with a variety of mentors. Regardless of whether the study is actually accepted for publication, the student learns a great deal about the process of research from these experiences. 


            The amount and type of work done by the student should be expected to change as the student progresses. Typically, first-year students will need more guidance at all stages of the process than will third year students. In general, the student should be heavily involved in the creation of the research idea, in the execution of the design, in the analysis of the results, and in the writing of the early drafts of the research paper. The Faculty mentor will often be heavily involved in the development of the research design, in guiding the analysis, and in "polishing" the research paper and moving it through the publication process.


4.         The Mentorship Research Forums


            The Mentorship Research Forum presentations give students the opportunity to develop and refine their research ideas and methodology and their presentation skills. These skills will be necessary when the student presents research at conferences, does job interview presentations, and are similar to those used in some classroom situations. It is intended that the Ph.D. student (not the Mentor) make the presentation and address questions at the Research Forum. The Mentor should play a minor supporting role during the Forum presentation. Students are evaluated both on the content and quality of their research material and on their presentation skills.  







            In the Forum presentations done in the Fall semester, the emphasis is on receiving input from the "audience." Rather than taking a position and defending it against all comments, the presenter should view this as a learning experience. The intent of this presentation is to both educate the audience about the area under study and to listen to new ideas, questions, and problems which the audience may have. The presenter is encouraged to provide enough of a literature review to be sure that the "audience" understands the basic concepts and what research has been previously done in the area. However, given limited time available in the Forum, this portion of the presentation should be kept as brief as is practical.


            The Forum presentations in the Spring term are intended to be more formal, emulating a typical conference/job interviewing situation. In most cases, the study has been completed and the emphasis is on presenting the results. Both content and style issues are important in this forum. As with conference/job interviewing situations, the presenter must not only get the point of the study results across to the audience, but must also be willing to listen to comments and questions about the completed study. For this presentation, the student should be concerned about having the material look "professional."


5.         Publications


            The goal of the Mentorship Assignment is educational; however, an important (and intended) benefit of the process is to help the Ph.D. student to get published. In today's highly competitive market, having publications prior to going on the job market is a necessity. The research team is expected, at a minimum, to complete a paper suitable for submission to an AMA Educators’ Conference prior to the beginning of the Fall term.   


6.         Teaching Mentorship


            To obtain mentorship for teaching, Ph.D. students who are teaching a course for the first time are strongly encouraged to discuss the course with a Faculty member who has previously taught the course or with the Department's Ph.D. Coordinator. This interaction should help the student to think about how to develop course material and to teach the class effectively.


7.         Annual Review of Ph.D. Students’ Progress


            In order to help ensure satisfactory progress toward completion, the Department's FAC will perform an annual review of each Ph.D. student's accomplishments. The review is scheduled and chaired by the Department's Ph.D. coordinator. Prior to the review, each student is expected to complete a Progress Form (sample follows). If at all possible, the students are interviewed in-person during this annual review. If an in-person interview is not possible, telephone contact with the student should be made and/or a member of the Department's Faculty who is working with the student should be consulted for additional input on the student's progress/status.





            Prior to the in-person interview, the Ph.D. Coordinator should assess the student's progress report and any additional information provided by the Faculty to determine whether there are any concerns, weaknesses, or problems which should be brought up during the interview. During the interview, the student should be invited to discuss his/her progress and plans, and the FAC should comment on the student's strengths and weaknesses, as appropriate.  The student should be invited to provide feedback about any concerns s/he has. Finally, the FAC should set forth its expectations for the student's future progress through the program (both verbally in the interview and afterwards in writing in a memo from the Department's Ph.D. coordinator). It is intended that this evaluation and discussion proceed in a professional, non-threatening, and open manner.