Schulich PhD Program Director – Eileen Fischer

Schulich PhD Program Director – Eileen Fischer


I’m Eileen Fisher. I’m a professor of marketing and the Tanenbaum chair of entrepreneurship and family enterprise. I’m also the director of the PhD program at the Schulich School of Business. One of the things that I came to Schulich wanting to do was to be super involved in research. I realized that my dream job was being a PhD program director because it satisfied everything that was important to me as a scholar. We offer PhDs in operations management, organizational studies, marketing, accounting, finance, and strategy. The coursework varies a lot depending on whether you’re in operations management or accounting or marketing, but fundamentally, what’s common across all of the areas is that you will take set of core courses, you will have the opportunity to take a certain number of electives, and when that’s done, going into the beginning of your third year of study, you’ll be required to take comprehensive exams that’s common across all the areas. After comprehensive exams are done, students move on to doing a dissertation proposal. That normally happens about midway through the third year, and then students have the remainder of the third year up until the end of year five to finish their dissertation and defend their proposal. Certainly traditionally, one of the things that sets the PhD program at Schulich apart is the ability for students to come here and take coursework in and specialization in qualitative research. It’s an unusual thing in North America, and it’s one of the things that has attracted a lot of students to the program. Look up the faculty members who are currently at Schulich. Have a look at the kinds of publications that they’ve been doing recently. You can get a very good sense of what you would be expected to do and what you’d have the opportunity to do by looking at what the current faculty members are doing. I am really excited that the new McEwen Graduate Study & Research Building is going to offer the doctoral students the opportunity to have offices that are collocated. This is really important for a couple of reasons. One, I think it just contributes to the esprit de corps among the graduate students to be able to be physically side-by-side. Second, I think it’ll give the opportunity for them to collaborate even more than they already do, and there are some beautiful workspaces in that building, not only for individual work but for collaboration. We have some amazing examples of ongoing collaborations between people who are graduates of the program and their faculty supervisors, but even more special to me are the kinds of collaborations we have between some doctoral students who graduate around the same time but continue to do research together. When I’m at conferences, and I see a whole set of former Schulich PhDs all huddled together working on a paper, that just makes me so happy.

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