PhD in Business Administration

Practical information

Program duration
Three to four years full-time in Grenoble, France. Phase 1: two years. Phase 2: two to three years

Entry requirements
Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree preferred. GMAT, GRE or TAGE MAGE required. English test (TOEFL, TOEIC or IELTS)

Degree level

Full program fees
Admitted candidates usually receive a tuition waver and a monthly assistantship stipend.


The PhD in Business Administration is a doctoral program, which addresses the profitable students of a bachelor or a Master's degree. The objective of the program is to develop a research expertise in one of the fields of activity proposed below.

A word from the program Directors

The PhD program at Grenoble Ecole de Management aims to educate scholars who will become faculty members in leading international business schools or universities. This three to four year full-time program is designed to ensure that students are involved in research very early on and develop a solid publication record during their PhD studies.

Our program offers a unique combination of strengths. We have brought together the following key advantages to create a program that will prepare our graduates to work at leading international business schools:

Extensive methodological and theoretical training

We offer extensive training in up-to-date methods and theories. Formal training is supplemented by regular research seminars, in which leading experts from Grenoble Ecole de Management and other universities present and discuss their latest research results.

Quality over quantity

We are firmly focused on the quality of our program. We keep our program small to ensure that each doctoral student receives the highest quality supervision.

A hands-on approach

Our program is very hands-on. From day one, PhD students are part of specific research groups and start working on research projects with faculty members. At the end of the first year, they write their first paper and usually present it at leading conferences; in some cases, the work of first year students is even published in a journal.

International publications for a global reach

Our program focuses on international publications. Doctoral theses follow the “3-paper” model. The dissertation consists of three independent but related academic papers, which are submitted to ─ and sometimes already published in ─ leading academic journals. This ensures that our graduates receive the best possible preparation for their future careers in academia.

Support for PhD research

Our experimental lab with state-of-the-art equipment combined with generous support for PhD student attendance at conferences and doctoral consortia, provide our students with the backing they need to succeed. Our doctoral students are fully funded thanks to tuition waivers and assistantships.

An international environment

With classes being taught entirely in English as well as faculty and PhD students from every continent, our students benefit from an international environment. We have contacts with universities and research institutes worldwide, a fact that offers PhD students many opportunities to take advantage of shared projects and presentations with visiting professors. We encourage our PhD students to spend time at our partner institutions as visiting doctoral students.

Finally, our PhD students have the opportunity to teach in English thanks to our international undergraduate and graduate programs.

Recognized faculty

Our faculty members are extremely dynamic and very successful academically. The quality of our work and the academic level of the faculty is highlighted by our triple-accreditation (AACSB, EQUIS, AMBA). Despite this recognized success, we are always looking for the next challenge and questioning how we can improve. This culture of innovation permeates not only our research, but the entire school.

Industry contacts

Grenoble Ecole de Management has excellent contacts in numerous industrial sectors, especially with high tech industries. We are part of GIANT, one of the most ambitious scientific projects in Europe. This gives us access to exciting projects in fields such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and alternative energy.

As companies and consumers face new challenges that require new theories and methods of study, our research aims to help shape the future.

Earn a doctoral degree recognized by the French government

Through our good relationships with French public universities, interested PhD students have the possibility to register for the Doctorat d’Etat with one of our partners and receive a doctoral degree recognized by the French government. 

Grenoble: a vibrant ecosystem

Grenoble is a wonderful place to live and study. It is not only a university town, but also a scientific and industrial one. As a result, the city's large international community is very active.

The city is literally at the foot of the French Alps, offering countless possibilities for outdoor activities. It is also only a few hours away from Geneva, Italy, Paris or the Mediterranean Sea ─ with easy train connections to all destinations.

While it is difficult to summarize the many unique aspects of our PhD program, I hope I have given you a better feel for what makes it special. And of course, please take a look at what our own PhD students have to say about the program. I look forward to seeing you in Grenoble.



The PhD program is divided into two phases

  • Phase 1: Years 1 & 2 are devoted to courses, seminars and joint research projects with faculty members.
  • Phase 2: Years 3 & 4 are devoted to dissertation work.


The GEM faculty has developed its expertise and created research teams in the following areas:

Phase 1: Training In Research

During Phase 1, students receive a thorough and sophisticated training in the latest methods of inquiry and state-of-the-art knowledge. The program is taught entirely in English.

1. Training in a chosen field

Students lacking a business background may be required to follow courses from our Master of Sciences in Marketing or our Master of Sciences in Innovation and Technology Management. The specific choice of courses will be made on an individual basis. Possible courses include marketing management, management of innovation, brand management, etc.

2. Training in research

PhD students have to take at least 300 hours of advanced PhD seminars over the first two-year period. All students have to take seminars on the most commonly used methodologies in business administration research (minimum: 200 hours). The goal is to provide students with the skills to use a wide range of methods. Depending on their chosen concentration, students can choose the methodologies they wish to study in-depth.

Methodological Seminars

Year 1:

  • Positioning your Work in Academia
  • Introduction to Statistical Methods in Research
  • Questionnaire and Scale Development
  • Introduction to Qualitative Research
  • Essential Tools in Qualitative Research
  • Regression Analysis
  • Introduction to Theories of Management
  • Experimental Design and Analysis
  • Advanced Seminar in Marketing, Strategy and Finance

Year 2:

  • Multivariate Statistical Techniques(Quantitative Track)
  • Measurement Models and Structural Equation Models (Quantitative Track)
  • Publishing and Reviewing Successfully
  • Advanced Seminar II in Marketing, Strategy and Finance
  • Social Network Theory and Methods
  • Econometrics (Quantitative Track)
  • Ethnography (Qualitative Track)
  • Achieving Quality in a Qualitative Paper (Qualitative Track)
  • Computed Assisted Text Analysis (Qualitative Track)
  • Comparative Qualitative Analysis (Qualitative Track)

3. Practical training in research

Immediately after their arrival in the program, students are integrated in a research team and start working on at least one research project. Within these projects they may have to perform several tasks such as literature review, conceptual and theoretical developments, data collection supervision, design of the experimental procedure and writing of a specific part of an article.
Students also have to participate in internal research workshops. These workshops are usually organized on a weekly or bi-weekly basis by the various departments. They include presentations by internal or external participants as well as readings seminars. Students are also regularly asked to present their research at these workshops.

To pass Phase 1 and move on to Phase 2, students have to:

  • Validate all courses and seminars taken and maintain a cumulative GPA of 13/20.
  • Write a first year paper (empirical papers are preferred)
  • Co-author at least one article for an international conference (e.g. AMA, AoM, ACR, EMAC, AFM, SMS, EGOS, AIMS, etc.)
  • Take and pass a comprehensive exam (the second year paper). This paper must provide a review of a key area of research in the student's field of study. Submitted papers are similar to those which appear in the Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Economic Literature or Academy of Management Review.
  • Present a detailed research project for his or her dissertation.

At the end of Phase 1, students who have passed the requirements will be awarded an MPhil degree. In order to ensure that students are progressing adequately, a formal review of student progress is carried out each year.

Phase 2: Dissertation Work

This phase is devoted to the student's dissertation work. The student will have to choose his or her PhD supervisor and two committee members who will provide guidance on specific topics.

The chosen committee members may come from a faculty other than Grenoble Ecole de Management. Students have the possibility to defend their PhD on the basis of their publications.

The doctoral dissertation is designed to demonstrate that the candidate is capable of conducting significant independent scholarly research. The dissertation is expected to be of such a scope, magnitude and originality as to indicate that the student has acquired sufficient knowledge of an area of study to demonstrate his or her ability to contribute to the field of study by producing new knowledge or a new outlook.


The co-production of rigorous, high-impact research makes graduates from this program highly attractive on the academic job market. Below are examples of recent publications by our PhD students:


Admissions Process


  • Bachelor’s degree or higher (Master’s degree preferred). European students can apply after their Bachelor's degree or after their first year of Master's studies.
  • Applicants with a Master’s in Research are welcome to apply and, depending on their previous training, may be exempt from certain courses.
  • Admission is dependent on:
    • Past grades
    • GMAT or GRE scores - Required for all candidates (TAGE-MAGE scores may be accepted for French students). A GMAT score of over 600 is recommended (test date less than five years ago). To send your GMAT score via ETS please select Doctoral School (PhD/DBA programs) as an institution listed under Grenoble Ecole de Management.
    • TOEFL,TOEIC and IELTS scores for non-native English speakers (test date less than five years ago). No score required for candidates who hold a degree from an English-speaking institution. To send your TOEFL score via ETS: use the code number 7905 assigned to Grenoble Ecole de Management-Doctoral School.
    • Recommendations from faculty. Letters of recommendation should clearly address the applicant's motivation, dedication and ability to undertake and successfully complete doctoral work.
    • Other factors such as work and research experience.

Prior coursework in business administration is not mandatory for this program. Courses in related disciplines such as economics, mathematics, engineering, statistics or psychology provide the student with the background necessary for integrating and understanding the concepts taught in the PhD program.



PhD program intake starts every year on September 1st.

Deadlines for the next recruitment sessions:

  • First session deadline: January 17, 2017
  • Second session deadline: April 27, 2017


To register, please fill in the online application form. Please ask your referees to send the reference form to :

Ms. Nadège Friess


Ms. Nadege Friess
Ph.D Admissions - Grenoble Ecole de Management
12 rue Pierre Sémard
38003 Grenoble Cedex 01 - France

Nadège Friess



  • 20 Feb

    PHD Dissertation Defense

    PhD candidate Pabitra Chatterjee will defend his PhD dissertation on February 25, 2015, from 1 pm to 4 pm (room F909, Grenoble Ecole de Management).

  • 02 Jul

    PHD Dissertation Defense

    PhD candidate George Watts will defend his PhD dissertation titled "Innovation Under Extreme Constraints: The challenge of developing-country coffee producers to access global markets " on July 8, from 10:00 to 12:00 in F909 at Grenoble Ecole de...