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PhD in Business Administration

Program duration
Five years full-time PhD program in Grenoble, France. Phase 1: two years; Phase 2: two to three years
Degree level
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Entry requirements
Master’s degree required. GMAT/GRE or TAGE MAGE required. English Test (TOEFL, TOEIC or IELTS) required
Full program fees
Admitted candidates receive a tuition waiver covering all tuition fees. The PhD student is classed as a regular employee with an annually renewable contract pending performance evaluation. Salary covers the monthly living cost of a student in Grenoble.

Recruitment session: Opening November 1st 2021 / Closing January 31st 2022

The PhD in Business Administration is a doctoral program, which is pursued by students holding Master's degree. The program's objective is for the student to develop research expertise in one of the following fields:


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 four to five-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. Through a “learning by doing” approach of research and a strong training in research methods, our PhD program prepares 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 follows a very hands-on approach. From the beginning, PhD students are part of specific research groups and start working on research projects with faculty members. At the end of their first year, they write their first papers and usually present them at leading conferences; in some cases, first-year students' works have been published in academic journals.

International publications for a global reach

Our program focuses on publications in international journals. 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 our graduates receive the best possible preparation for their future careers in academia.

Support for PhD research

Our experimental lab is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, and the generous support provided for PhD students' 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

Our students benefit from an international environment: faculty and PhD students hail from every continent and classes are taught entirely in English . We have established contact 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 academically successful. The quality of our work and the academic level of the faculty are highlighted by our triple accreditation (AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA). Even with this recognized success, we continue to prepare for the next challenge and question how we can improve. This culture of innovation permeates not only our research but also the entire school.

Industry contacts

Grenoble Ecole de Management has excellent contacts in numerous industrial sectors, especially high- tech industries. We are part of GIANT, one of the most ambitious scientific projects in Europe, and 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.

The GEM PhD is not a "Diplôme National de Doctorat" 

However, through our partnering with French public universities, it is possible for interested PhD students to register for the "Diplôme National de Doctorat" with one of our partners and receive a doctorate 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 center. As a result, the city's large international community is very active.

The city is literally at the foot of the French Alps, which offers countless possibilities for outdoor activities. It is also only a few hours away from Geneva, Switzerland; Italy; Paris; and the Mediterranean Sea, and there are easy train connections to all destinations.

Although it is difficult to summarize the many unique aspects of our PhD program, we hope we 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. We look forward to seeing you in Grenoble.

Areas of expertise

The GEM faculty has developed its expertise and created research teams in a variety of areas:

GEM: Research, Knowledge & Expertise

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 & 5 are devoted to dissertation work.

Phase 1: Training In Research

During Phase 1, students receive 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, and others.

2. Training in research

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

Methodological Seminars

Year 1:

  • Research Design
  • Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning
  • Introduction to Qualitative Research
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Questionnaire and Scale Development
  • Regression Analysis
  • Qualitative Analysis
  • Introduction to Theories of Management
  • Experimental Design

Year 2:

  • Publishing and Reviewing Successfully
  • Pedagogy
  • Advanced Seminars in Strategic Management, in Marketing, in Behavioral Finance and in OT/OB
  • Qualitative Track: Ethnography/Philosophies of Management/Alternative Qualitative Methods/Theory Development/Qualitative Comparative Analysis/Computer-assisted text Analysis
  • Quantitative Track: Multivariate descriptive Statistics/Econometrics/Experimental Analysis

3. Practical training in research

Immediately upon beginning the program, students are integrated into research teams and start working on at least one research project. Within these projects, they may be expected to perform several tasks, such as performing a literature review, investigating conceptual and theoretical developments, learning data collection supervision, designing experimental procedures, and writing a specific part of an article.

Students must also 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 and reading seminars. Students are also regularly asked to present their research at these workshops.

To pass Phase 1 and move on to Phase 2, each student must:

  • 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. This is a second-year paper that 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 the student’s 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, student progress is formally reviewed each year.

Phase 2: Dissertation Work

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

The chosen committee members may be faculty members at institutions other than Grenoble Ecole de Management. Students may be able 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. It is expected to be of such scope, magnitude, and originality to indicate that the student has acquired sufficient knowledge in an area of study to demonstrate the ability to contribute to the field of study by producing new knowledge or a new outlook.

The PhD program graduates’ co-production of rigorous, high-impact research makes them highly attractive in the academic job market. Examples of recent publications by our PhD students can be found in the following link:

 PhD Student Publications

Performance of prior PhD Students

The goal of our PhD Program is to develop researchers who can make an active contribution to knowledge and to society. Our program places PhD graduates in academic positions in Europe and worldwide.

PhD Placement – where our PhD graduates are working today

Aalto University, Finland Erasmus University, the Netherlands ESCP Europe, France ESSCA, France Hanken University, Finland HEC Lausanne, Switzerland HEC Montréal, Canada KEDGE Business School, France La Rochelle Business School, France NEOMA Business School, France Rennes School of Business, France SKEMA Lille, France Universidad de los Andes, Chile University of Exeter, England University of Groningen, the Netherlands Utah Valley University, USA

Eligibility Requirements

  • Master's Degree
  • Admission test scores required for all candidates: GMAT score (above 550) or GRE (above 310); TAGE-MAGE score (French candidates, above 320). Tests preferably taken less than five years ago.
  • English language test scores required for non-native English speakers (except for candidates holding a previous degree from an English speaking organization):
    TOEFL (above 100 for Internet-Based Text// above 600 for Paper-Based Text) or TOEIC (above 850 ). Test preferably taken less than five years ago. IELTS: above 7

Admission Criteria

  • Past grades.
  • Admission test scores: A GMAT of over 600 is preferable.
  • TOEFL or TOEIC scores: if applicable.
  • Recommendations from faculty. Letters of recommendation should 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 students with the necessary background for successful integration in our PhD program.

In order to be processed, the application must comprise the following documents:

  • Statement of purpose explaining the reasons for your candidacy (objectives and motivation)
  • Copies of transcripts and diplomas (certified ones must be sent upon admission)
  • TOEFL or TOIEC scores if required (see above): via ETS, use code number 7905 assigned to Grenoble Ecole de Management-Doctoral School.
  • GMAT or GRE scores: via ETS, select Doctoral School (PhD/DBA programs) as an institution listed for Grenoble Ecole de Management.
  • Current CV
  • A recent photograph (passport size)
  • At least two reference forms completed by faculty or research scholars

When to Apply

The 1st year of the PhD program starts on September 1st 2022.

Online Applications

Recruitment session: Opening November 1st 2021 / Closing January 31st 2022.

How to apply

To register, please fill in the online application form.

Apply online 

Updated on 25 October 2021 at 10h02 am