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Doctoral Program

College » BA » Programs » PhD » Areas » Strategy

Strategy and Entrepreneurship

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Why do some organizations consistently outperform others? This is the motivating question of Strategy and Entrepreneurship. The Strategy field explores the fundamentals of organizational intent, corporate and business-level strategy, competitive advantage and performance.

Important areas of investigation include diversification strategy, vertical integration, corporate governance, acquisitions and joint ventures, competitive strategy and positioning, technology strategy, strategic groups, inter-firm rivalry, organizational resources and capabilities, strategic decision-making processes, new venture creation and entrepreneurship, and strategy implementation mechanisms such as organizational structure and incentive systems. The Strategy field is integrative across the various business disciplines such as marketing, operations management, organizational behavior, accounting, economics, and finance.

The program of study leading to a Ph.D. with a specialization in Strategy and Entrepreneurship is designed to train students to be outstanding research scholars/teachers who possess considerable depth of understanding of all areas of the field of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, and a breadth of understanding of business-related disciplines.

Within the requirement that they seek excellence, our students have the flexibility to develop and pursue their own specialized interests. Our past graduates have received job offers domestically from the University of Michigan, New York University, University of Wisconsin, Michigan State University, SUNY-Buffalo, Louisiana State University, and Arizona State University; and internationally at HEC-Paris, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, National Taiwan University, and Yonsei University.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the Strategy field, our doctoral students may enter the program with degrees in various areas such as accounting, economics, finance, law, organizational behavior, political science, and sociology. Many have had extensive work experience in organizations and in consulting firms.

Course Work


The course-work in the Ph.D. program enables doctoral students to develop the essential skills for knowledge generation and dissemination:

The first two years of the program enable doctoral students to establish a strong conceptual understanding of the Strategy and Entrepreneurship field. Small seminars explore current and classic perspectives on Strategy and Entrepreneurship in each of the first four semesters. During this period, students will be developing analytical, research, and quantitative skills through courses in research methods and quantitative analysis and through in-depth discussions and critiques of assigned papers and texts.

Each student is required to designate a minor area of study. The minor area courses come from a wide selection of courses within the Department, the College and the University. Examples of minors for students in Strategy and Entrepreneurship include: Industrial Organization Economics, International Business, Marketing, Organizational Theory, and Finance.

In addition to the required and elective courses (selected in conjunction with the faculty advisor), research seminars form an integral part of the doctoral program. At these seminars, held approximately twice a month, students enjoy access to recent developments in Strategy and Entrepreneurship research. Speakers include distinguished researchers from around the world, academics from different departments of the University of Illinois, and students in the program.

The program of study in the first two years should enable the student to select a dissertation topic, which will be the focus of the third and fourth years of the doctoral program. Students are also provided the opportunity to conduct research in a variety of settings other than the dissertation: in course-related projects, in collaborative research with faculty; and in assistantships.


The distinguished faculty in Strategy and Entrepreneurship pursue vigorous research programs and have achieved national and international recognition. Their diverse interests and interdisciplinary expertise provide the opportunity for doctoral students to achieve breadth and depth of knowledge in the Strategy and Entrepreneurship field and strong methodological skills. The faculty members are committed to provide students with an environment that will be both demanding and supportive. Their objective is to provide a rigorous, interesting and enjoyable introduction to the conceptual framework, research methods and pragmatic applications of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, leading to opportunities to do meaningful independent research during and after the program.

For a complete list of Strategy and Entrepreneurship faculty members please visit our faculty directory.

Current Students

For a complete list of current candidates in Strategy and Entrepreneurship please visit our PhD student directory.



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