What Are Marketing Doctoral Programs Like?

A key question for marketing academics concerns the nature of doctoral programs. As such I highly value academic service papers like Elbeck and Vander Schee (2013). They undertook an in-depth look at what is happening in marketing PhD programs.

Firstly, they confirmed the dominance of consumer behavior studies within the marketing discipline. 50 out of 61 programs they surveyed have a specialism in consumer behavior, or 81.9% of the institutions. Modeling is the next most popular at 60%. This may help explain a couple of observations that leap out when considering academic marketing. Consumer behavior scholars seem to dominate the field, they collectively seem to have a lot of power in the discipline. It isn’t clear that this is good for the individual consumer behavior scholars. There are a plethora of them chasing a limited number of jobs. Numerous good consumer behavior professors train many quality students who will fail to get the jobs they are hoping for. (I’d guess that this situation is still better than for most academic fields).

Elbeck and Vander Schee assess the journals that are seen as most prestigious. This isn’t too much of a surprise; the big four (Journal of Marketing (JM), Journal of Marketing Research (JMR), Journal of Consumer Research (JCR), and Marketing Science) feature heavily. The boundary spanning journals, JM and JMR, that have a less clear focus suffer a bit compared to the more clearly focused journals, namely Marketing Science (quantitative) and JCR (consumer behavior).

Elbeck and Vander Schee rank scholars — this isn’t a perfect representation of a complete careers but the names on the list are an impressive bunch, Ayelet Fishbach and Werner Reinartz top the US and non-US list respectively.

For those of us outside the US the results generally aren’t that great. The US dominates in every sub-area although the US is a little less dominant in international marketing. The authors try and put a positive spin on it. They say: “There is little doubt that though the US institutions dominate in every subarea, non-US-based scholars, particularly in Northern Europe, are making substantial inroads” (Elbeck and Vander Schee, 2013, page 57). As a scholar operating outside the US lets hope for a few more inroads.

Read: Matt Elbeck and Brian A. Vander Schee. “Global benchmarking of marketing doctoral program faculty and institutions by subarea.” Journal of Marketing Education (2013), page 45-61.