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PhD in Business Administration

Program duration
Three to four years full-time in Grenoble, France. Phase 1: two years; Phase 2: two to three years
Degree level
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Entry requirements
Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree preferred. GMAT, GRE or TAGE MAGE required. English test (TOEFL, TOEIC or IELTS)
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.

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

A word from the program Director

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 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.


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

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.

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, 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:

  • 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 upon their 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 links:

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 previous). 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 previous). 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; and
    • 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 Impact

Our relatively new (2009) PhD program, which began in 2009, is designed to prepare researchers for a career in academia or at a research institute, with a and focuses on topics tied to innovation & and technology management and entrepreneurship. Our full-time PhD program is designed according to the North American model: First, PhD students follow attend an initial two years of classes and based on follow a curriculum focused onthat providing provides a broad set of methodological and theoretical skills. The last second two years of the program are dedicated to research and gaining teaching experience.

Very early on, Our our PhD students are involved very early on in research. From day one, PhD students are part of a research team and start working on research projects with faculty members. They have access to many resources, which include including courses, , workshops, and seminars held by GEM faculty and visiting experts as well asand the opportunity to resources available when they visit other academic institutions. 

As students immerse themselves in the program, they gain independence in their research work and develop their own publication records and research networks. At Grenoble Ecole de Management, PhD theses at Grenoble Ecole de Management follow the “3-paper” model:. The dissertation consists of three independent but related academic papers. Most of our students publish papers in top international academic journals during their PhD, which. This ensures that our graduates receive the best possible preparation for their future careers in academic research. In addition, such publishing publications increases their attractiveness on the academic job market.


PhD program intake starts every year on September 1st.

Deadlines for the next recruitment sessions:

  • First session deadline: February 3, 2018
  • Second session deadline: April 24, 2018


To register, please fill in the online application form.