Get Your PhD in Strategy and Entrepreneurship


Learn how strategy is effective at the firm and individual level.

At Olin, we believe that great strategy PhD candidates have a fundamental drive to impact business practice. Our students, like our faculty, have diverse undergraduate training, including economics, chemistry, engineering and mathematics. We strongly promote interdisciplinary and collaborative research among doctoral students and faculty, be it across business disciplines or other schools at Washington University.

As a student in our program, you study strategy at both the firm and individual levels. That includes examining how organizations create and capture value, which arises from differing strategies, organizational designs and environmental conditions. While firm performance is observed at the market level, the microfoundations of this performance lie in the behavior and organization of individuals and resources within the firm. The organization of these factors influences performance in innovation, firm structure and human productivity.

Strategy and Entrepreneurship Faculty and Research

Strategy and Entrepreneurship faculty members are dedicated to delivering a program that prepares you for a productive and meaningful academic career. You work closely with faculty from the very beginning of the program, collaborating to help you to gain practical experience in the design and execution of research projects and in the communication of research findings. Recent research projects have examined the impacts of CEOs with differing backgrounds on firm innovation; the effects of corporate wellness programs on firm productivity; how firms respond to innovation "shocks"; how firms operate in violent environments; and how firms profit from repeated exchange relationships.

Published Works

The Strategy area’s research has been published in a wide range of leading journals, including:

  • Academy of Management Journal
  • Academy of Management Review
  • Administrative Science Quarterly
  • American Economic Review
  • Management Science
  • Organization Science
  • Psychological Science
  • Review of Economic Studies
  • Review of Financial Studies
  • Strategic Management Journal

Read about collaborative research by Strategy and Entrepreneurship faculty and PhD students.

Strategy and Entrepreneurship Curriculum


  • Prework

    Prior to the first year—mandatory attendance at math camp (offered through the Economics department)

  • First Year

    Recommended Course Sequence

    First Semester

    • MEC 610 Microeconomics I (3 credits)
    • L11 5161 Applied Econometrics (3 credits)
    • Olin PhD Strategy courses

    Second Semester

    • MEC 611 Microeconomics II (3 credits)
    • L11 Quantitative Methods II (3 credits)
    • Olin PhD Strategy courses

    The order of classes may change due to availability, and classes may be substituted with approval. A communications course that focuses on oral communication is also recommended during the first two years. When the student takes the course is determined by the student and his/her advisor.

    Research

    • Attend Strategy seminars.
    • Begin research collaborations.

    Milestones

    • In the summer after the first year, students must meet with the faculty coordinator to discuss progress and complete a progress report to be submitted to the PhD Office by August 1 after the first year.
    • Field statement papers are due at the end of the semester of the second year.
    • In August after the first year, students must attend an RA/TA orientation offered by The Center for Teaching and Learning.
  • Second Year

    Courses

    Third Semester

    • Electives (directed readings, independent studies)
    • Olin PhD Strategy courses

    Fourth Semester

    • Electives (directed readings, independent studies)
    • Olin PhD Strategy courses
       

    Research

    • Attend Strategy seminars.
    • Continue research collaborations.

    Milestones

    • Field exam
    • Second year summer papers are due by the end of the fall semester of the third year.
    • In the summer, students must meet with the faculty coordinator to discuss progress and complete a progress report to be submitted to the PhD office by August 1.

  • Third Year

    Courses

    • B53 660 Seminar in Presentation Skills (fall semester, required)
    • Improvisation course
       

    Research

    • Attend Strategy seminars.
    • Paper presentations (brown bag seminars and conferences).
    • Dissertation research

    Milestones

    • In the summer, students must meet with the faculty coordinator to discuss progress and complete a progress report to be submitted to the PhD office by August 1.

  • Fourth Year

    Research

    • Attend Strategy seminars.
    • Paper presentations (brown bag seminars and conferences)
    • Dissertation research

    Milestones

    • Dissertation Proposal—Students must be able to assemble a Research Advisory Committee for the proposal of their dissertation and must submit a Title, Scope and Procedure Form as the committee’s approval of the proposed dissertation by September 30 after the fourth year.
    • In the summer, students must meet with the faculty coordinator to discuss progress and complete a progress report to be submitted to the PhD office by August 1.

  • Fifth Year

    Research

    • Attend Strategy seminars.
    • Paper presentations (job market paper presentations with faculty and at conferences)
    • Dissertation research

    Milestones

    • Intent to Graduate (complete form online)
    • Job market and placement
    • Oral defense of dissertation
    • Submission of Examination Approval Form which signifies committee’s approval
    • Upload of final, approved Dissertation to Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
    • Submission of Documented Teaching Requirements to PhD office

  • Course Descriptions

Full-Time Strategy & Entrepreneurship Faculty Members


Daniel Elfenbein

Daniel Elfenbein

Full Professor

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Minyuan Zhao

Minyuan Zhao

Associate Professor

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