Marketing is concerned with decisions that relate to a firm’s customers, competitors, and network of partners including channel members and promotion agencies. It focuses on how customers make choices and how companies design products, services, and programs to satisfy customer needs.
Given the breadth of marketing decisions, marketing scholars study a variety of marketing issues ranging from marketing strategy to product development, consumer decision making, and customer satisfaction. The field of marketing is truly interdisciplinary, drawing theories and methods from disciplines such as economics, psychology, sociology, and statistics, among others.
What is the focus of a Marketing PhD?
The PhD program in marketing is designed to provide students with the skills necessary for a successful academic research and teaching career. We train students to identify and define interesting and important marketing phenomena and develop the necessary methodological tools to investigate these phenomena with original research.
Why a Marketing PhD at Georgia Tech?
Because interaction with faculty mentors is an essential component of doctoral training, students in our program generally initiate research projects with one or more faculty members soon after their arrival. Faculty and students are involved in joint research cutting across a wide spectrum of issues at the core of marketing, as well as multidisciplinary topics that interface with other functional areas such as management, economics, and psychology.
The culture at Georgia Tech encourages multidisciplinary collaboration across areas within the College of Business, and across Colleges within the Institute. In addition, the Georgia Tech program is designed to expose students early on to the methods and contributions of all three research areas in marketing— consumer behavior, modeling and strategy.
While our program’s emphasis is on preparing students for academic research, our PhD students also learn to teach and have the opportunity to strengthen their teaching skills by leveraging the resources of the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL). The Center runs a number of specialized programs for junior faculty and graduate teaching assistants designed to develop teaching skills.
PhD students are not required to enter the program with a pre-established area of specialization, but during the first year, will be guided to select one of the following.
As part of this training, students take a common set of “breadth” courses as well as “depth” courses tailored to their specific interests. In addition, students learn by working with faculty members on joint research, conduct a series of original research projects, and assist in the teaching of marketing courses.
Consumer Behavior focuses on the study of consumer-level behaviors by conducting laboratory and/or field experiments, among others, to understand consumers’ decisions, actions, and responses and to explain why those behaviors are taking place. This line of research tends to emphasize the cognitive psychology of consumer decisions, though alternative perspectives such as sociology and social psychology can also be adopted.
Marketing Modeling Track
Marketing Modeling focuses on the study of a variety marketplace phenomena related to marketing decisions including market entry, competitive reactions, pricing, and innovation, among many others. The focus tends to be on advancing the field’s knowledge related to the understanding of market-level responses or methodological techniques. It attracts students with an interest in the application of higher level econometrics, probability and statistics to marketing questions.
Marketing Strategy focuses on the study of firm and manager behavior, across a broad range of marketing topics including sales force management, innovation management, competitive strategy, and marketing communications. It studies the evolution and effect of managerial decisions and marketing capabilities, processes, and orientations on firm behavior and performance. Strategy researchers use surveys, archival data, qualitative studies, or large scale third party data to study related phenomena.
Sample of the PhD level courses for Consumer Behavior, Marketing Modeling and Marketing Strategy Tracks.
(* = required courses)
Introduction to research methods*
A list of some of the main sources for funding support available to students during their time at the program:
• Graduate assistantships offered to all accepted students.
• President’s Fellowship awarded to US citizens based on merit.
• Travel stipend provided to all PhD students in their second year of the program.
• Graduate conference fund for currently enrolled graduate students to present research at leading marketing
• Additional student association travel funds offered by the Student Government Association.
• Other complementary departmental and sponsored funds.
• On-site computer lab for conducting experiments, focus groups, and other research.
• Lab equipped with video and audio recording options and one-way mirrors.
• Student subject pool (~250 participants) available every semester.
To promote inter-university collaboration, we host in rotation the Annual Georgia Research Symposium whose participants include faculty and students from Emory University, University of Georgia, and Georgia State University. It is a day-long event to promote the exchange of research ideas and work-in-progress in consumer behavior, modeling and strategy.