Frequently asked questions | PhD program | emlyon

Why do a PhD in Management at emlyon?

The PhD in management at emlyon aims to educate future scholars who will become faculty members in leading international business schools or universities. emlyon is one of the leading French Grandes Ecoles in Management and has consistently been ranked among the foremost European Business Schools. The school employs top international faculty who regularly publish in the best journals in the field, many of whom teach on the PhD program. The program is kept intentionally small so that it remains fully funded and intimate. During the 5-year full-time program, PhD students conduct multiple research projects, write papers that are of a level that would be publishable in international academic journals, and gather experience teaching at emlyon. By the end of the 5 years they are ready to start an academic career at top business schools across the globe.

Do I need a master's degree to apply to the PhD program at emlyon? Do I need a background in business administration or management studies?

You do not need a master's degree to be admitted to the PhD program in management. Although almost all of our students have an MA or MSc, there are also some that have only an undergraduate degree. Following the first two years of the program (Phase 1 of the PhD) and provided you have passed all classes and have an average of 13/20 or above you will receive an emlyon Master of Philosophy in Management (MPhil).

It is not necessary for applicants to have a background in management/business administration prior to entering the program. A background in a related discipline such as sociology, psychology, philosophy, political science, economics, engineering or statistics can provide students with the foundation needed for understanding the concepts and the methods taught in the PhD program.

Admission depends on the quality of the student's application, their prior academic performance, research interest/experience, motivation to work as research faculty in higher education in the future as well as other factors such as GMAT or GRE scores, TOEFL or TOEIC scores and submitted reference letters.

Research experience is a plus but what counts as research experience and what if I don't have any?

Research exposure can be achieved through a variety of means such as a research master's, research assistantship, work experience in a research institute or a research thesis at bachelor or master's level. If you want to apply to do a PhD but you have little or no previous research experience, you need to explain in your application why you think doing a PhD and having a future research career is the right decision for you.

Is the emlyon PhD accredited by the French Ministry of Education

No, emlyon is a Grande Ecole not a public university and therefore unlike a doctorate done at a French public university, a PhD is not automatically accredited by the French Ministry of Education. Our outlook is global, we train students to work both within France and beyond and our PhD alumni work at institutions across the globe. A minority of our students have worked alongside a French public university to gain a double degree if it is a priority for them to obtain a job at a French public university in the future. The vast majority of our students seek work outside of France or within the French Grandes Ecoles system rather than the French public university system. emlyon and its PhD program have been accredited by the following international accrediting organizations: AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA and therefore aligns with their quality assurance standards.

Is doing a PhD expensive?

No, emlyon pays the full tuition of all PhD students and pays all students a stipend of approximately 19,000 Euro per year so they can focus fully on completing their PhD. Students are also expected to do only minimal teaching. This ensures that while students have some teaching experience by the end of the program they have not been overwhelmed with teaching and have been allowed to devote themselves almost exclusively to research. PhD students have a status partially as student and partially as employee of emlyon. They are entitled to health insurance cover within the French social security system.

Who should I ask for letters of recommendation?

What we really care about is your potential research ability so you should get references from people who can tell us about your abilities or potential in this area. For example, if you have done a research dissertation in your bachelor or master's degree you could ask your thesis supervisor. If you had a job that had a research element you could ask your former line manager to explain your skills in this area. Or if you have taken a research methods/statistics course you could ask the professor who ran this course to comment on your research abilities. If you haven't had much previous research experience you could also ask a professor who taught a course you attended and performed well on. In sum, try to get references from individuals who understand research and who can comment on your suitability for this kind of role.

Is the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) required?

Yes, if your native language is not English, you must submit either TOEFL or TOEIC scores. It is absolutely essential that we ascertain that you have a sufficient level of English given that much of your success on the PhD program depends on how effectively you can write and communicate in English. Native speakers are exempt. If you are a non-native speaker but have worked in an English-speaking context for an extended period of time you may be eligible for an exemption. This will have to be discussed with the Director of the PhD Program.

Do I need a GMAT or GRE score? Can I get an exemption?

In order to assess your application, we need either GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) scores. Your application will not be considered if you do not provide either a GMAT score or a GRE score and we do not offer exemptions.

How does the admissions committee evaluate statements of purpose and research proposal?

In your statement of purpose, we want to know why you are interested in having a research career and your previous experience (if any) in research. If you don't have research experience we want to know how you know this career is the right one for you and where you see yourself in the future. In terms of the research proposal we look for two key criteria: 1) evidence of a basic understanding of how to carry out social science research and 2) writing ability. You are in no way bound to this proposal – we use it as way of gaining a sample of your writing and also your ability to think through a research problem. It is very probable that you will move away from the topic you discussed in your research proposal as you become more familiar with the field and develop interests in other areas.

Do I need to pick an advisor in advance?

No, the first two years are spent attending classes and you will not be expected to have your final topic/supervisor until the end of Year 2/beginning of Year 3. You are not admitted to the program to work with a specific professor. If there are some professors at the school who you might be interested in working with, you can of course mention this in your application but we view this as simply an early indication of your interests not a future commitment to work with this particular professor. These interests may change over the course of the first two years and you are not tied to any one supervisor for your final dissertation until you make a choice following the first two class-intensive years of the program. It is useful, however, if you become a little bit familiar with the research interests of the faculty at emlyon so you can assess whether it is a good fit for you and your nascent research interests and ideas.