Choosing to pursue a PhD in business might be the best decision you make in your life, but there are a few things that might discourage you or impact your chances of being accepted at your program of choice.
This is part of the reason why the Fox School of Business recently hosted DocNet, an event where students who are interested in doctoral education in business can meet recruiters from top universities, ask questions and familiarize themselves with the application process. Undergraduate students from all over the Philadelphia region had access to some of the best researchers in their fields.
Here are four suggestions for prospective PhD students offered by faculty and recently admitted students:
1. Pursue a PhD for the right reasons. Dr. Patrick McKay, Stanley and Fanny Wang Professor of Human Resource Management at the Fox School, emphasized how PhDs are not career enhancers or status symbols.
PhD degrees are meant for individuals who combine the drive to conduct high-quality, cutting edge research with the desire to teach the next generation of scholars. “Pursuing a PhD for non-academic, professional motivations, like a promotion at work, is not a good idea as that objective is poorly aligned with the goals of traditional doctoral programs,” he told the crowd.
“Potential applicants with such professional ambitions might pursue a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) instead.”
2. Apply to programs with scholars who conduct research in your area(s) of interest. Research programs can be diverse, so finding the appropriate faculty-mentor should be among every applicant’s highest priorities. Universities often feature a wide range of professors covering all manner of topics, but be mindful that no one institution is at the cutting edge of every niche in every discipline.
Dr. Solon Moreira, assistant professor of strategic management, suggests that students choose a program “with a good number of active researchers that are committed to working closely with PhD students, transferring skills and guiding them through the early steps of their journey into academia.” In other words, prospective students should seek out scholars who are not only motivated researchers but also active mentors, a role that faculty at the Fox School take very seriously.
3. Reach out to faculty members and current students at the schools you are interested in attending. It can be intimidating to “cold email” faculty at top-tier universities with questions or to express your interest. However, Hailey Park, a current PhD student in the Fox School’s department of human resource management, advised that doing so could give you insider information. “If they’re not planning on accepting new students,” Park said, “you don’t need to bother paying $80 or more to apply.”
4. Tailor your applications to each school. Schools share a common commitment to educating the populations they serve, but the ways in which they differ are just as important. Take the time to tailor every part of your application—your cover letter, writing samples, and even your recommendation letters—to each school, which has its own specializations and focus areas.
For example, Park suggests asking for at least four recommendation letters lined up so that you can tap different recommenders with different interests and backgrounds for different programs.
Although applying to PhD programs can feel overwhelming, one should always remember that the application process is manageable. “The admissions team is here to help you every step of the way,” said Dr. Sunil Wattal, managing director of the PhD programs at the Fox School. “Our mission is to transform high-performing students into trailblazing scholars.”
Get started on your journey at fox.temple.edu/phd.
Sabrina Volpone, PhD ’13, is an organizational diversity expert, researching topics of diversity and identity within the context of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation and immigrant status. Since graduating from the Fox PhD program, her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.
The On The Verge editorial team had the opportunity to chat with Volpone about how she got started researching the experiences of traditionally under-represented employees, how a more diverse workforce requires organizations to adapt and how they can do better.
How did you become interested in diversity and inclusion?
When I was growing up in Texas, I was not exposed to much diversity. The Dallas/Fort Worth area was very different 30+ years ago then it is now; the only people I knew were white and Christian.
My mom, who had a business degree in accounting and worked for a huge company in Texas, told me a story about how she got fired because she was getting sick at her desk too often when she was pregnant. Her company shrugged it off, saying that they assumed that once she became a mother she would be leaving her job anyway. Hearing these things opened my eyes to small-town values—taking care of your neighbors, for example—being pushed aside when stigmatizing factors were introduced.
Then, when I was working toward my degrees, both my bachelor’s from the University of North Texas and PhD in Human Resource Management from the Fox School, I wanted to do something meaningful that could speak to people’s experiences at work. The research I was seeing did not capture what was going on for women, people of color and other disenfranchised groups.
What are the differences between diversity and inclusion? How does your research incorporate both?
Diversity is more than just checking a demographic box or filling a quota. To really leverage the benefits of diversity we have to talk about inclusion, a separate, but related, topic. The difference has often been illustrated in the following quote from Verna Myers, the vice president of inclusion strategy for Netflix: “Diversity is being invited to the party, and inclusion is being asked to dance.”
In a recent research project, my team went back to basics to investigate how organizations actually define diversity. There are a host of organizations that would like to improve how they are managing diversity because they are facing lawsuits, or simply because they want to be more strategic about managing human resources. There is an increasing need for organizations to collectively rebuild and expand the way we think about these topics.
For example, we looked at the way a few Fortune 500 firms were defining diversity and found that only 38 percent had established definitions on their websites. A large number of those who did listed standard descriptors typically found on HR hiring paperwork that are based on Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws, stating that the company does not discriminate based on age, sex, race, etc. Other companies take a different approach, however, and use language that extends beyond “legal” terminology.
In my work, I am trying to illustrate that diversity and inclusion must work hand-in-hand. The diversity element establishes the organizational environment and the legal mandates required by law. Inclusion facilitates a climate where employees feel valued and included as a result of their unique characteristics. This is important because, as some of my other research shows, leveraging diversity in this way can result in financial gains. We found that one small change in a diversity definition can relate to more than $2 billion in current profits and more than $1 billion in profit growth. Thus, being inclusive when defining diversity results in increased financial outcomes for companies.
How does inclusion impact companies?
To explore the importance of inclusive policies and procedures in the workplace, I was part of a research team that examined the experiences of breastfeeding women in the workforce. We interviewed women in the morning, afternoon and night to see how the quality of their breastfeeding space throughout the day improved work outcomes. The data and quotes from the women illustrated a powerful point: the legal definition of what must be provided (a space to pump that is not a bathroom and is shielded from view) will not make a satisfied, productive employee. When companies provided more than the bare minimum for breastfeeding mothers, we noticed an increase in their work goal progress and their breastfeeding goal progress while also seeing improvements in their work-family balance satisfaction.
How does a more diverse workforce and consumer base require organizations to adapt? How are businesses innovating around majority-minorities, women, people with disabilities, millennials, and other demographics?
Some companies are not, and their workplace cultures and even financials are seeing the impact of that. Many organizations that are not evolving along with their workforce may cease to exist in 10 to 20 years because of their inability to strategically manage their human resources in a way that captures the diversity of their employees.
For example, in a paper that my coauthors and I recently published, we looked at the hiring process for people with concealable stigmas. Specifically, we examined the relationship between applicants disclosing their hearing disability during the interview process and whether or not they received a job offer. Changing our policies and procedures throughout each human resource function to be inclusive of employees with non-visible disabilities is an example of adapting from systems that, historically, have been focused on accommodating employees with visible physical disabilities.
But those who are thinking about the lived experiences of employees, they create policies and procedures that capture that. They are also being strategic through all of their human resources functions—processes like hiring, training and promotions—and are threading the importance of diversity and inclusion practices through all the ways they do business. Executives are making sure that employees are being heard and taken care of. In order for companies to survive, these considerations will become a requirement.
This article is a sneak peek of the next issue of On The Verge, the Fox School’s flagship research magazine. For more stories, visit www.fox.temple.edu/ontheverge.
At any academic institution, one of the most highly valued outcomes is knowledge. In business schools across the country, faculty, staff and students produce insights that can change how business is done, inspire evidence-based management and shape the face of industries.
Part of being a global citizen, however, is ensuring that these discoveries are shared. Research without dissemination does not solve real-world problems. Bringing knowledge to the hands of practitioners is critical for the translation of insights into action.
At the Fox School, we are committed to bridging the gap between academia and industry—that’s why, in 2014, we launched the Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program to teach the tools of applied theory and research to senior executives. In this three-year, part-time program, industry leaders come together to learn a new way of thinking to solve tomorrow’s business problems.
Why the DBA Matters
In business, many organizations encourage their employees to innovate. However, the Fox DBA allows executives the freedom to experiment with evidence. By introducing students to new tools for understanding organizational systems and preparing them to address challenges with facts and data, the program offers senior managers the opportunity to become thought leaders.
“I was in the military for over 20 years. I was looking for growth and new challenges,” says Dennis Martin, DBA ’18. “I wanted a more practitioner-focused doctorate rather than just a theory-based program.”
The structured program unites academically rigorous research with practice-focused business questions. Then Fox DBA alumni like Dennis bring their insights—both the knowledge generated from the program and the tools for new ways of thinking—back to work.
Leading the Charge
“The Fox School is proud to be a leader in the DBA space,” says Steve Casper, managing director of the DBA program and professor of finance at the Fox School. “Our research focus, combined with the faculty mentors, really make our program stand out.”
Our DBA scholarly practitioners were on display at the Engaged Management Scholarship (EMS) Conference, which the Fox School hosted last September. The annual international conference, which is for doctoral students, alumni, faculty and managers involved in applied research and evidence-based management on a global scale, brought over 200 people from 100 organizations to discuss the importance of bringing research into the real world.
Presented by the Executive Doctorate in Business Administration Council (EDBAC), an organization representing more than 50 member schools in ten countries, EMS unites the academic and the practical into one three-day conference.
“By hosting EMS, we demonstrated to the business community that the Fox School cares about bringing research to the real world,” says Casper. “We were very proud to host EMS and show off our university, as well as the city of Philadelphia.”
Applying Research to Business
At EMS, the Fox School strengthened its community of thoughtful and knowledgeable practitioners. Faculty engaged in networking across countries, programs and disciplinary fields. Students stretched the applications of their research beyond their own ideas and sought feedback from their peers. Program managers learned from each other and identified best practices for running DBA programs around the world.
“One of the more prominent questions during the conference was, ‘How do we come up with interesting problems that are researchable but also have applied business value?’” says David Schuff, professor of management information systems at the Fox School.
One example of these practical questions: How do female members of a company’s board of directors perform differently than companies with all-male boards? Ofra Bazel-Shoham, a graduate of the Fox DBA program in 2017 and assistant professor of finance at the Fox School, received the 2018 Best Paper Award in Applied Business Research, sponsored by Business Horizons, an academic journal from Indiana University, for her research that answers that question. Bazel-Shoham found that, while there was a negative correlation between the number of women on boards and the number of investments in R&D, women were more likely to focus on monitoring performance, which ends up incentivizing risky, but data-driven decisions. “As female leaders put more emphasis on monitoring,” says Bazel-Shoham, “gender-diverse boards were able to quantify and measure their decisions better than all-male boards.”
As the Fox School recommits to its position as a leader in changing global business, the DBA program can energize the bridge between research and industry. “At EMS, we built up energy and excitement of impactful and applied research,” says Susan Mudambi, academic director of the Fox DBA program and associate professor of marketing and supply chain management. “It shows how the Fox DBA is an important part of education in today’s world.”
This story was originally published in Fox Focus, the Fox School’s alumni magazine.
Throughout the month of February, the Fox School of Business is highlighting the voices and businesses of black entrepreneurs, executives, volunteers and more. These talented professionals are striving to make the world a more diverse, inclusive and accessible place for future generations.
From his work as an assistant professor of Marketing at Howard University to co-founding the Our D.R.E.A.M Foundation, Dr. Johnny Graham, PhD ‘16, has made it his mission to give back to his hometown of Baltimore using his expertise and access.
In his role at Howard, Dr. Graham conducts research on brand management and teaches introductory courses on marketing management and marketing analytics. He received both his undergraduate degree and MBA at the University of Maryland-College Park, where he was a Banneker Key-Scholar and Dean’s Scholar. He then went on to earn a doctorate in marketing from the Fox School.
In addition to his esteemed status as a scholar, Graham is an experienced jazz musician and entrepreneur. He previously served as chief partner of his own strategic consulting firm, Graham & Peters LLC, which specialized in helping young professionals in their entrepreneurial pursuits.
During his time as a PhD student, he was inspired by working with the Philadelphia Future’s program and the ever-present desire to give back to Baltimore. He used that passion and partnered with his fellow entrepreneur and former college classmate Justin Peters to develop the philanthropic concept that would revolutionize their careers.
“Creating something that would be engaging, but also informative for young people was important to us,” he says. “We wanted to expose youth from our community to avenues of economic opportunity, while also building their overall personal development and life skills.”
What started as an idea to organize a week-long youth entrepreneurship camp, in Baltimore evolved into Our D.R.E.A.M, a nonprofit organization aimed at entrepreneurship-based education for youth in underserved communities. Graham leverages his wide range of knowledge on business topics such as marketing research and strategy to establish the vision and program curriculums for Our D.R.E.A.M.
Through the organization’s cornerstone program, The Y.E.S. (Youth Entrepreneurship Startup) Program, Baltimore-based students learn basic business concepts and are given access to resources to help them develop leadership and communications skills, and to fuel their entrepreneurial spirit. The program regularly features lectures and activities led by local entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Since its inception in 2015, the YES Program has served 70+ students from 30+
different schools across the Baltimore metro area.
In 2018, the Y.E.S Program partnered with the Mayor’s Office of Baltimore City for the Teen Biz Challenge, which resulted in 11 students receiving over $28,000 of business startup funding.
With the largest cohort in the program’s history and the Mayor’s Office partnership, the organization has gathered more momentum than ever before. Dr. Graham and the rest of the Our D.R.E.A.M team used their connections within the business world to provide
student participants with volunteers to help them further develop their business ideas.
“The students came up with so many brilliant, tangible ideas, a mobile smoothie stand, a reinvented toothbrush, a hygiene subscription-based service and so much more. They showed business ingenuity and intuitiveness that I certainly did not have when I was their age,” said Dr. Graham.
When Dr. Graham looks toward the future, his goals are to grow holistically as a business thought leader and academic, and to make even more impact in the classroom, in his field, and in his community.
Peace has finally been brokered in a long-standing argument between two schools of thought in statistical science.
Research from Deep Mukhopadhyay, professor of statistical science, and Douglas Fletcher, a PhD student, was accepted for publication in Scientific Reports, a journal by Nature Research. Their research marks a significant step towards bridging the “gap” between two different schools of thought in statistical data modeling that has plagued statisticians for over 250 years.
“There are two branches of statistics: Bayesian and Frequentist,” says Mukhopadhyay. “There is a deep-seeded division, conceptually and operationally, between them.” The fundamental difference is the way they process and analyze the data. Bayesian statistics incorporates external domain-knowledge into data analysis via so-called “prior” distribution.
“Frequentists view ‘prior’ as a weakness that can hamper scientific objectivity and can corrupt the final statistical inference,” says Mukhopadhyay. “I could come up with ten different kinds of ‘prior’ if I asked ten different experts. Bayesians, however, view it as a strength to include relevant domain-knowledge into the data analysis.” This has been a disagreement in statistics over the last 250 years.
So, which camp is right? “In fact, both are absolutely right,” says Mukhopadhyay. In their paper, they argued that a better question to ask is, how can we develop a mechanism that incorporates relevant expert-knowledge without sacrificing the scientific objectivity?
The answer, Mukhopadhyay says, can ultimately help design artificial intelligence capable of simultaneously learning from both data and expert knowledge—a holy grail problem of 21st Century statistics and AI.
“The science of data analysis must include domain experts’ prior scientific knowledge in a systematic and principled manner,” Mukhopadhyay says. Their paper presents Statistical rules to judiciously blend data with domain-knowledge, developing a dependable and defensible workflow.
“That is where our breakthrough lies,” says Mukhopadhyay. “It creates a much more refined ‘prior,’ which incorporates the scientist’s knowledge and respects the data, so it’s a compromise between your domain expertise and what the data is telling me.”
Answering that question—when and how much to believe prior knowledge—offers dozens of real-world applications for Mukhopadhyay’s work. For example, healthcare companies can use apply this to new drugs by leveraging doctors’ expertise without being accused of cherry picking data for the sake of a speedy or unusually successful clinical trial.
Mukhopadhyay thanks Brad Efron of Stanford University, for inspiring him to investigate this problem. “It took me one and a half years to come up with the right question,” says Mukhopadhyay. “I believe Bayes and Frequentist could be a winning combination that is more effective than either of the two separately in this data science era.”
*This article corrects an earlier version by specifying that the research was published in Scientific Reports, a journal by Nature Research.
Learn more about Fox School Research.
Augmented reality (AR) technology is one of the most exciting advancements of our time. It can generate empathy and new perspectives by transporting people, sometimes literally, into the shoes of another person with no barriers in time or space. Not surprisingly, many industries are considering the technology’s potential to improve customer experience.
Using Technology to Enhance Customer Experience
The museum industry is among the pioneers who are embracing this opportunity. Museums are currently facing a period of financial stagnation, with costs and insurance premiums rising and government funds dwindling. Many are forced to delay projects, downsize exhibitions, and even lay off staff. Forward-thinking museums, though, are embracing new technologies that enable visitors to have deeper connections with exhibits.
For example, the Terracotta Warriors exhibit at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia was AR-enhanced, with visitors able to see more detailed representations of how the sculptures and weapons looked through their AR app. They also have a Virtual Reality Demonstration Space, an immersive VR zone where you can go inside the human body, tour the solar system, walk around Chernobyl, peek into a brain, and more.
Researchers at the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospital Management are studying how these new technologies can be best deployed in fields where consumers still crave authentic experiences.
AR and VR: Technological Innovation Creates New Research Space
While virtual reality is a fully immersive experience (think of the VR headsets and being transported to a simulated environment), augmented reality is simply an enhanced version of reality created by adding information (image, text, or effects) to real places or objects using a piece of technology.
Despite the extensive discussions around the applications of AR technology, little research has been done on what kind of immersive experiences are best to use on visitors. Zeya He, an STHM PhD student, alongside professors Laurie Wu and Robert Li, recently examined the impact of different types of AR enhancements. Their paper, “When art meets tech: The role of augmented reality in enhancing museum experiences and purchase intentions,” will be published this fall in Tourism Management.
He, Wu, and Li recruited more than 200 participants for their online study and gave them video simulations of an AR-enhanced scene. The video showed a museum scene with Vincent Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night Over the Rhône, testing visual and text animations on the painting itself: glimmering stars, reflections on the river, a couple strolling on the bank, and added verbal information. In some videos, the museum environment was also augmented with a visual of gently rippling water, testing virtual alterations to the museum’s ambience.
The researchers wanted to see what the participants found most engaging: adding animation to the different aspects of the painting, adding text over the painting, or adjusting the “virtual presence” by making the museum environment match that of the painting.
Enhancing Reality vs. Depriving Imagination
Though we might expect the most AR-enhanced scenario to have been the most highly rated, participants liked the one with the additional text and added ambience the most. The participants said the animation of the painting itself felt too intrusive. “It seems that technology may sometimes help create meaningfulness and excitement, but it can also make you think less, become less engaged,” He explains. While environmental visual cues can improve connection with an art piece, visual enhancement of the actual object seems to deprive the viewer of the freedom of imagination. Participants felt that they could no longer appreciate the painting itself with the added technological visualization, but the added text actually helped guide their eye to aspects of the painting and deepened their understanding.
Looking to the Future
Though doing the study online had certain benefits, such as eliminating other possible confounding factors, further research is needed to test the effects of different kinds of technological enhancements of the museum experience, especially real AR technology in real museum spaces. The effects and results may also differ depending on the context, and the type of museum or exhibit.
“[These] results can be used by museums directly to design their content, but we also need to continue doing research on how it is possible to balance the excitement that technology brings and the meaningfulness the museum is trying to create,” He says. “So, it is the degree of technological enhancements that really matters, how we design the technology really matters.”
In the research world, the emphasis on statistically significant research results is so strong that often the art of the research process gets left behind. Luckily, a team of researchers at the School of Sport, Tourism, and Hospitality Management (STHM) at Temple University recently offered a unique behind-the-scenes look at how they are advancing the commonly accepted research methods in their field.
Collaborative Self-Study: An Innovative Qualitative Research Method
Lead researcher Bradley Baker, PhD ‘17, found there was a lack of substantial progress in innovative methods, especially qualitative, in the sport management field. The antidote to this “lack of creativity, theoretical impact, and practical relevance” is to look past the traditional qualitative and quantitative approaches to embrace a novel way to do research: collaborative self-study.
Collaborative self-study, Baker explains, is a type of qualitative research where researchers study themselves and their own social environment, as opposed to traditional methods where the researcher is a separate, objective onlooker. While this method is still relatively new, it has already been embraced by similar fields, such as the sociology of sport. It provides a unique potential to break through barriers of access to data and research participants, while encouraging a deeper self-reflection by the researchers and strong collaboration between team members.
In their paper, “Collaborative self-study: Lessons from a study of wearable fitness technology and physical activity,” Baker and his co-authors—current STHM doctoral students Xiaochen Zhou and Anthony Pizzo; James Du, PhD ’17, and Professor Daniel Funk—use their experience with this method to advise future researchers on when and how it may provide additional, unique insights. Published in a special issue of the Sport Management Review focused on contemporary qualitative research methods, their paper gives an insider view on how the method worked in practice: “[researchers] ask research questions,” says Pizzo. “But the way we get at that data, that is the focus of this paper. It’s the story behind the story.”
Experiencing the Experiment
Seven sport management graduate students formed a research team to look into how collaborative self-study could be used as a research method. The team consisted of a mix of genders, ages, fitness levels, ethnicities, and professional backgrounds.
Each member received an Apple Watch to wear for one month to record their experiences, thoughts, and exercise levels in a daily journal. The team later shared their experiences in group discussions, identifying common themes found while interacting with the technology, such as social value and attention, influence on physical activity, and anxiety. The experiment gave them a deeper insight into using collaborative self-study as a research method, specifically the possible advantages and disadvantages.
Reflecting on Self-Study: Transparency, True Experience, and Teamwork
On the benefits side, the researchers stated their data had deeper insights and it was faster and more efficient to collect than traditional methods. By not having a barrier—physical, temporal, cultural, or otherwise—between themselves and participants, the researchers had a potentially unlimited, unfiltered data source. Additionally, discussing as a team provided an environment where they could further elaborate on their experiences, stimulate reflection in others, and bond. This collaborative discussion made the data insights more thorough than a simple content analysis of journals, as the researchers were able to clarify their experiences through reflecting on the experiences of others.
However, breaking the barrier between researcher and participant, though innovative, brings up questions of ethics and validity of data, as well as privacy and data security.
“Objectivity is the dominant tradition,” Baker says, “but now things are changing. […] Even what research question you are asking is already breaking absolute objectivity. In all studies, but especially in self-study, you have to be very transparent in your role and your perspective, what biases get integrated in your data.”
In order to ensure data validity, the researchers combined the deep reflection of self-study and the collaborative aspect of using multiple voices to combat the assumed presence of unchallenged assumptions, or researcher “blind spots.” Another possible detraction of this method is the nature of collaborative work: the need to agree, compromise, and end up with a coherent narrative formed by many different voices. This is where in-depth discussion and making sure all voices were heard helped enhance the experience.
Though having pros and cons like any other research method, collaborative self-study gives unique insights into people’s lived experiences and should be considered a valid method in any researcher’s arsenal. “Our hope is that the current work provides a measure of guidance regarding key ethical issues, benefits, challenges, and opportunities inherent to the approach,” Baker says. “We encourage other researchers to consider the potential benefits of collaborative self-study for their own research.”
What was it like to be a woman earning a doctorate degree forty years ago? Dr. Gloria Thomas, PhD ’80, has firsthand experience.
Today, Dr. Thomas is an accomplished researcher, a dedicated professor, and an esteemed administrator at Baruch College.
But in 1980, she was a trendsetter for women at the Fox School of Business.
As the first woman to obtain a doctorate from the Fox School, Thomas received her PhD in marketing, a field that is now predominantly women, but was all men during her tenure at Temple. “Women were very uncommon in business PhDs, even marketing, when I was in school,” she recalled. “And I rarely saw women at conferences.”
Dr. Thomas is currently a professor of marketing and the Director of the Zicklin Undergraduate Honors Program at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, City University of New York. Thomas praises her experience at Temple University for the appreciation she has developed towards public institutions.
“Temple has taught me to believe in public education,” Thomas professed. “I went to Baruch right from Temple and we have really smart students from all over the world with parents who don’t speak English or have any money.” After years of private schools, Thomas’ experience at the Fox School helped her appreciate the value of diversity in education. “Cultural exposure makes public institutions more valuable and it gives students opportunities they normally wouldn’t have,” she said.
With undergraduate degrees in math and art history, Thomas pursued a doctorate in marketing. Following graduation, she went straight to Baruch, where her roles included professor, associate dean, and director of the doctoral program. She currently serves as director of the business honors program.
“My current role is my most favorite,” Thomas said. “Many students at large public schools don’t get the attention they would at a private school, but I make sure to give that attention in my honors program.”
Thomas credits her mother, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s law school in the 1940s, for her then unconventional educational choices. “I grew up thinking everyone was equal. I never thought that [by going to business school] I was going into a man’s profession,” Thomas said.
That ‘man’s profession’ has changed. Today, 50-percent of PhD students are women at the Fox School, compared to 45-percent for all business-focused doctoral programs in the United States, according to the Council of Graduates Schools’ 2017 report.
Thomas did not let any obstacles get in her way of her goals. “It never occurred to me that women couldn’t do whatever they wanted to,” she recounted. “In reality, many women [at that time] didn’t even know they had options.”
“It never occurred to me that I didn’t.”
Learn more about Fox School Research.
Since its founding a century ago, the Fox School of Business has produced outstanding thinkers, innovative doers, and formidable trailblazers.
Distinguished research has been at the forefront of Temple University’s initiatives since the 1940s. Following World War II, the federal government had a vested interest in funding research centers all across the country.
Harry A. Cochran, then dean of Temple’s School of Business and Public Administration, predicted that this movement towards research would steer this university to great heights.
“Harry Cochran was smart enough to figure out how to take advantage of this,” said Dr. William Aaronson, PhD ’86, former director of the Fox PhD program, and current associate professor at the College of Public Health. “He had a vision of a research enterprise with the business school that is very much still alive today.”
In the mid-1940s, Dean Cochran led the Fox School’s research agenda, creating a Bureau of Economic and Business Research and establishing the school’s first journal, The Economics and Business Bulletin, to disseminate its findings. It was over a decade later that a watershed report from the Ford Foundation highlighted the trend of business schools changing from trade schools to research institutions. The Fox School was ahead of its time, already a large and prestigious business school as others began to recognize the importance of a research agenda.
While Dean Cochran retired in 1960, his legacy grew. His successors recognized the need for a doctoral program to support the mission of leadership in high-quality research, so in the early 1960s, the Fox School established its PhD program, which awarded its first doctoral degree in 1969 to Lacy H. Hunt.
The doctoral programs at the Fox School grew to encompass PhD programs in Statistics, Decision Neuroscience, and Business Administration. In 2014, the school once again blazed a trail, instituting an Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (EDBA) program, a unique opportunity for industry executives and business leaders that few schools offer today. “The DBA focuses on applied research,” said Paul A. Pavlou, senior associate dean of research at the Fox School. “It plays a very important role in creating the next generation of seasoned high-level executives who can inform their organizations through rigorous research.” And Dean M. Moshe Porat constantly offers strong support for the doctoral programs at the Fox School.
Cochran’s vision became a virtuous cycle. Research would not be something we merely did, but who we were. By creating an environment that would house brilliant minds, past and present deans of the Fox School have demonstrated their commitment to support leaders in both academia and industry. From its roots in 1918 to its continued success in 2018, the Fox School continues its tradition of distinction through work ethic, innovation, and research impact.
Learn more about Fox School Research and International Business.
You put in all the work—collecting data, analyzing information, writing the article. But what happens next?
Get your research off your computer and into the world through the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), a free, online platform dedicated to disseminating scholarly research throughout the world. With 1.5 million users, SSRN can put your insights into the hands of people who can use them.
Here are three reasons to publish your work on SSRN.
1. Enhance your online presence
Whether you are a doctoral student at the start of your career, a professor working towards tenure, or advanced researcher, SSRN can support your career goals by providing a platform for your online presence.
By uploading your work to SSRN, you are building your online identity—which includes your LinkedIn presence, personal or professional websites, and social media platforms. SSRN gives you an opportunity to host everything from working papers to published articles, which builds your credibility as a researcher.
2. Make your research accessible
Through the Fox School’s partnership with SSRN, your research will be included in the Fox School Research Paper Series, a monthly newsletter with nearly 6,000 subscribers and 12 subtopics that allow subscribers to easily search for your work, making it accessible to prospective PhD students, business executives, and potential collaborators.
As the Fox School builds a greater emphasis on translating research into actionable insights, the accessibility of research plays a huge role. With SSRN, your research can go beyond your own network and generate greater impact.
3. Start collecting citations
Impact is measured in a variety of different ways—from media mentions to changes in the way we do business. One metric of research impact is the citations it receives from other academics. If others are citing your work, it demonstrates the paper’s influence and insights into that field.
With SSRN, you can begin collecting citations while waiting for a journal to accept or publish your work. Upload working papers, accepted articles, or completed publications and track the number of downloads it receives or citations it garners. Researchers often play the long game, but with SSRN, they make “tomorrow’s research today.”
Ready to publish?
The Office of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives at the Fox School supports faculty members and doctoral students in subscribing and uploading papers to SSRN. For assistance uploading, email your paper as a PDF attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Click to learn more.
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The Fox School of Business is making history—and driving real impact.
On Monday, March 12, the Fox School hosted a first-of-its-kind forum that brought together editors-in-chief of leading academic business journals across multiple disciplines. The 2018 Editors’ Summit united academia and industry, researchers and executives, students and educators, for a day of dialogue on a way forward to generate transformative impact of business school research.
With leadership from Charles Dhanaraj, director of the Fox School’s new Translational Research Center, over 150 people discussed the opportunities for creating impactful research and barriers standing in the way.
Fox School faculty and doctoral students were joined by editors from prestigious business journals from many disciplines, including management, marketing, accounting, finance, operations, management information systems, and international business; colleagues from Villanova University, the Wharton School, and Northwestern University, among others; and executives from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, LyondellBasell, and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
Here are five key takeaways from the event:
1. Define impact
What do we mean by “impact” and how do we measure it? “It has to meet the qualifications of rigor, relevance, insights, and action,” said V. Kumar, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Marketing and Regents Professor at J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.
While a definition of impact may remain elusive, participants identified its signs: from small shifts in how companies work and academia teaches, to societal, economic, and public policy changes.
Anne Tsui, president of the Responsible Research Leadership Forum, noted that this discussion about impact was a large step. “In the last 20 or 30 years, rigor began to dominate research and relevance began to decline,” she said. “Today, we’re here to discuss this gap.”
2. Ask the right questions
“Just because something hasn’t been studied doesn’t mean that it should,” said Tyson Browning, co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Operations Management and professor at Texas Christian University. In order to study issues that affect business, researchers need to know the right questions to ask.
Researchers can develop relationships with businesses, through programs like Fox Management Consulting, or invest in listening platforms to identify what problems businesses face.
Bhavesh Patel, CEO of LyondellBasell, put it another way: “Think about what value your work will create from the beginning. If you do it early, it will guide the work you do.”
3. Know your audience
“In reflecting about practical impact,” said Arun Rai, editor of MIS Quarterly and professor at the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University, “we need to think about partnerships with complementary channels to reach audiences that we do not have core competencies to reach.”
Executives are not reading academic journals, nor should we ever expect them to. If academics want their research to have impact on the real world, they should think beyond publications and about distribution.
“In the Twitter and soundbite era, no one wants to read a 40-page paper,” said Dr. Scott Bauguess of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “They want the major takeaway.” His suggestion? Write white papers and stylized facts.
Practitioner journals, trade magazines, and popular media like newspapers and TV can also be relevant channels to getting research insights into industry. Mary Barth, senior editor of The Accounting Review and professor at Stanford University, also recommended translating research into thought pieces that are understandable to non-academics. To do that, however, researchers need a new set of skills—like marketing or social media strategies—that require training or support from the school.
4. Adjust the infrastructure
A recurring theme throughout the day was incentives. How can business schools incentivize faculty to produce research that has impact, not just publications? How can editors affect trends in what is published to promote relevance?
Participants brainstormed solutions for both. While structural changes take time, discussions centered on adjusting tenure requirements and timelines, defining impact, creating industry partnerships, hosting workshops with executives, providing funding incentives for research with practitioners and non-tenure-track faculty, and publishing special issues in journals that focus on bundled topics.
Alain Verbeke, editor-in-chief of the Journal of International Business Studies and professor at University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, put it bluntly: “If you really want change, you can’t do it with the existing structure and processes.”
5. Teach the future
Students cannot be neglected in the conversation about impact. “One way we take our research articles and ideas and make them relevant to practice is by teaching them in our classes,” said Jay Barney, editor-in-chief of the Academy of Management Review and professor at the Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah.
Constance Helfat, co-editor of the Strategic Management Journal and professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, agreed. “Every single thing I teach is based in academic research. And it works.”
The Fox School is already addressing the way forward. M. Moshe Porat, dean of the Fox School, affirmed his commitment to research and doctoral education throughout the day.
With support from the dean, the Translational Research Center has big plans for the future of research at the Fox School. The center plans to develop a white paper of the findings from the event and is hosting a case-writing consortium for faculty interested in writing and submitting a teaching case through the summer.
“The shift toward impact is a significant one, but it will take time,” said Dhanaraj,. “We will need everyone to make this big move.”
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Look around. They are in newspapers and social media feeds. They are online and on scrolling news tickers, too.
Almost daily, you’ll see splashy headlines announcing the latest scientific-research findings—from groundbreaking disease cures, to solutions for cell-phone addiction and possible causes of global warming.
Rarely, if ever, are real-world applications of business-school research given such a high-profile platform. Temple University’s Fox School of Business is hoping to alter that reality with the launch of a center designed to bring impact to the forefront of business-school research. Next week, the Fox School will host a workshop on March 12 to bring together industry leaders and top journal editors to start the conversation on driving real impact with scholarly research.
The Fox School’s Translational Research Center is the first of its kind nationally to attempt the alignment of business-school research produced by Fox’s award-winning faculty with critical problems of the industry and to communicate it quickly and effectively to practitioners and executives.
Why hasn’t such an endeavor been launched? There are multiple reasons, says Dr. Charles Dhanaraj, the Fox School’s H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest Professor of Strategy. Conventionally, business-school research is produced by faculty looking to earn tenure status, or as a mechanism to support the school’s reputation. Faculty often gauge the success of their research based upon the journal within which it’s published and the volume of citations it receives.
“Business schools need to go beyond academic citations; they need to create real impact on business and on policy,” said Dhanaraj, the center’s founding director. “That being said, the Fox School has more than 210 full-time faculty in a variety of research disciplines, which means we are uniquely positioned to accomplish those traditional research goals, too.”
“Everyone in academia discusses impact,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, the Fox School’s Dean. “How you define impact and how you measure impact takes time. We are moving in that direction. Our school has the agile, entrepreneurial faculty to take the lead in shaping the future of business school research—and not just ours, but for everyone.”
The Fox School’s Translational Research Center will focus on four dimensions of impact: academia, students, business, and society. The center enables faculty to broaden their scholarship portfolio and support them in stretching their reach.
Typically, translational research is linked to fields of medicine and science. This approach bridges multiple disciplines, as practitioners and academics work together to uncover new and innovative medicines and treatments.
Fox’s Translational Research Center will operate under a similar construct, Dhanaraj said.
“Think of it as push and pull,” Dhanaraj said. “We want to tap into the needs of industry to pull in their problems to drive our faculty research, and we want to push actionable insights in the most effective way back to the business community, as quickly as possible. Our mission is to change the way everyone thinks about business school research. We don’t want to simply overcome the perception of lack of relevance, but really demonstrate that research creates substantive value. By increasing the engagement of faculty with business executives, the Translational Research Center will ensure that our researchers are asking the right questions, and that they are producing their research in a way that it can be consumed by academic peers and leading practitioners.”
Eventually, the Fox School will house the Translational Research Center in 1810 Liacouras Walk. That space is currently under renovation. The Fox School’s expansion across Liacouras Walk is happening in conjunction with the school’s centennial. For now, the center operates out of Dhanaraj’s office.
“Between the center, our school’s expansion, and our 100-year anniversary, it is an exciting time to be at the Fox School,” he said.
Decades after the implementation of affirmative action, African-American and Hispanic-American students are more underrepresented within colleges and universities than they were 35 years ago, according to The New York Times.
This gap extends into business as well. Only one quarter of senior executives in Fortune 500 companies are minorities, with Hispanic and African-American executives underrepresented by 9 and 13 percentage points, respectively.
Alumnus Bernie Milano, BS ’61, saw an opportunity to break this cycle. In 1994, he founded The PhD Project, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing workplace diversity, to address this racial disparity in workplaces and academia—starting with business schools’ doctorate programs.
It began with a question, Milano recalled to the Chronicle for Higher Education in 2015. Frustrated at the lack of diversity while recruiting for KPMG, Milano wanted to know what could encourage students of color to study business: “Would diverse faculty attract diverse students? And with a diverse faculty and diverse students, would the diverse students then perform up to their potential?”
An absence of faculty of color at the front of classroom can inherently limit ideas of higher education for minority students. The PhD Project guides and encourages African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American students to pursue doctorate degrees, in order to widen the pool of underrepresented faculty, administrators, and leaders throughout the nation’s schools and workplaces.
The Fox School recognizes the crucial role that business schools play in this cycle. “By supporting the students of today, we are strengthening the next generation of faculty and leaders,” says Lisa Fitch, senior associate director of PhD programs at the Fox School.
Together, The PhD Project and the Fox School help doctoral students and alumni faculty members become anchors of proof that young students need. The alumni then become role models, demonstrating that a doctorate is achievable and necessary for a representative career cycle.
“As a minority in higher education, you are likely to be the only one in your cohort,” says Jamie Weathers, PhD ’16, an alumna of the Fox School and graduate of The PhD Project. “Having access to a network of people that look like you, that face the same challenges as you, is beyond helpful.”
According to a study from the TIAA Institute, university faculties have become slightly more diverse in the last two decades. Since 1994, The PhD Project has been successful in guiding 1,000 African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American students in completing their doctorate degrees.
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On February 2, Temple University’s Liacouras Center was buzzing with excitement for the Fox School of Business and School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management winter graduation ceremony, where over 500 undergraduate and graduate degrees were conferred.
The keynote speaker was Lori Bush, MBA ’85. Following her position as the president of Nu Skin, the personal care brand, Bush served as the CEO and president of skin care company Rodan + Fields until her retirement in 2016.
In her speech, Bush, the author of a best-selling wellness book titled Write Your Skin a Prescription for Change, detailed how she achieved great things in her career by being scrappy, leveraging her strategic training, and pushing the limits of business with limited resources. She advised the new graduates to look at the small moments of everyday life through a business lens, as this can lead to meaningful, career-changing insights.
“Everything is business,” said Bush. “You have to take inspiration from everyday life—then just add business principles and stir.”
The student speaker was Beatrice Raccanello Esq., MBA ’17. Raccanello, a native of Italy, earned her law degree from Bocconi University in Milan, and then relocated to Philadelphia to earn her Master of Laws from Temple University’s James E. Beasley School of Law. While working full-time for the Beasley School, as the assistant director of the Office of Graduate and International Programs, Raccanello enrolled in the Fox School’s Part-Time MBA program.
Raccannello spoke about how she was initially afraid to move to an unfamiliar country, but that her experiences as an international student ultimately molded her into a bolder leader. She found strength and inspiration by working with other exceptional students in the Part-Time MBA program who, like her, had full-time jobs, family responsibilities, and other life commitments.
“We became better leaders,” she said, noting how beneficial it was to work with students who brought diverse backgrounds and professional perspectives to the classroom. “We were able to collaborate to pursue our dreams.”
This was a busy—and for some, award-winning—fall semester for the Fox School research community!
On October 18, the Office of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives hosted its 7th Annual PhD Paper Competition in the MBA Commons of Alter Hall. This year, 31 doctoral students and alumni submitted papers and created visual posters of their research to compete for more than $3,000 in cash and prizes.
Papers were evaluated by Fox School faculty, who chose winners in categories including first year, second year, and third-to-fourth year doctoral students. Students also competed for best dissertation proposals and completed dissertations. The 15-member evaluation committee judged the rigor, novelty, and presentation of the research, as well as its contribution to theory, practice, or policy.
Winners included Lauren Spirko of the Statistical Science Department, who won first place in the completed dissertation category for her paper proposing a statistical method for analyzing enormous data sets of genes and their various types of expressions. See a full list of participants and winners here.
On November 1, the Office hosted its 15th Young Scholars Interdisciplinary Forum, which aims to facilitate interdisciplinary collaborative research projects that span disciplines within and outside of the Fox School. Together, twenty Fox doctoral students and faculty members received nearly $35,000 in grant funding for their research.
Han Chen, a Marketing and Management Information Systems PhD student, received a grant for her research aiming to understand the neurophysiological responses to branding and marketing with respect to age. The funding will go toward the purchase of eye-tracking glasses to monitor subjects’ eye movements when reviewing physical and digital advertising materials.
The Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program also had students succeed this semester. Terry T. Namkung, a first-year DBA student and CEO of DC Energy Systems, was chosen as one of seven finalists in the 2017 Global Business Challenge. He presented his research—an energy panel that aims to reduce energy waste by 30% by decreasing the inefficiencies of Alternating Current to Direct Current adapters, converters, and inverters—in Brisbane, Australia, in early November.
Carla Cabarle, a second-year DBA student, showcased her work at the Fall 2017 Meeting of the Institute for Fraud Prevention. As one of five finalists, Carla presented on using analytics to predict the risk of financial statement fraud in crowdfunding to academics and industry experts in financial risk and fraud management.
On behalf of Paul Pavlou, senior associate dean of research and Milton F. Stauffer Professor in the Fox School, the Office congratulates the doctoral students and faculty on a very successful fall semester.