Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Doing a PhD at WBS

Received an email yesterday from someone who was interested in doing a PhD at the Warwick Business School (WBS).

I was looking at the current research projects on the WBS site when I encountered your name. I'm interested in pursuing a PhD from WBS in the Marketing and Strategy department. As such, could you please answer a few queries regarding the same? Basically, my queries are:-

1. Regarding procedure for admission into the programme, I came to know that one has to submit a research proposal. Is the selection done based on that research proposal alone or there are other criteria?
2. When is the right time to apply? I've also read that one should apply before February to be eligible for funding.
3. I don't have any teaching experiences. But I've been good academically in my under graduation (top 10 in my class). Would this hamper my chance?
4. How is the funding of Ph.D student like? Is it appropriate enough to see me through the 3-4 years? I'm not married and do not have any education loan right now, but I also do not want to take any loan.
5. How is the work culture in Warwick?
6. What is the scene for placement/job offer after completion of the course?

Basically, I'm more worried about my chance in getting through WBS, as I've no idea what the competitive scene is like, and I've decided to do PhD a little late (realization that I'm more suited for research rather than the mundane corporate work).

Note: Edited a few typos.

Here are my answers:

1. The research proposal is very important but you need to see if there is a supervisor in your area of research WHO IS WILLING TO SUPERVISE YOU. Here are the steps I followed:

i) Get a proposal ready
ii) Browse around to see if there is anyone who lists your proposed area of research under their areas of interest.
iii) Once you have shortlisted a few, contact them directly with your CV and brief description of your research proposal.
Usually they will reply within a few days. I my case, my proposed supervisor called me up after we had fixed a suitable date and time.

The funny thing is that he left for another University and I was passed onto another supervisor who also contacted me. Later on, I put forward another altogether different proposal for which I got my scholarship.

2. I can only say, the earliest the better. February is a good time. You can apply for scholarships along with your University application once your supervisor has accepted to supervise you.

3. No! Most PhD students do not have teaching experience and scholarships are based on their prior experience and academic background plus support from the supervisor or referees. However, in order to eligible for a studentship (teaching assistant), like I did, you do need teaching experience.

4. In Warwick it is around £16,000. Fees are around £11,000 so you have £5000 for expenses which might be enough if you are single.

5. Warwick is among the top Universities in Europe and one of the best places to work and highly competitive. In fact, to get a lecturership is really difficult.

6. It all depends on your capabilities - you need to show that you are a good researcher as evidenced by publications in journals in your field and ability to get funding.

Application to Warwick Business School is highly competitive and I heard that more than 300 students from all around the World applied for around 30 places last year. However, do not worry. If I can get in, anyone can. I realise that most don't do their homework and apply to the school straightaway which is a big mistake. It is crucial to get an academic who agrees to supervise you first.

Do read this related blog post as well: Thinking of doing a PhD?

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