Admission to Ph.D. in Business Administration (Finance/Accounting) in the USA
1. UNIVERSITY SELECTION
1.1. Do I have to email professors to get funding from him?
For more than 95% of the case, NO. This is because funding comes from the Department/Business School, not from a specific professor who will hire you for one of his projects.
1.2. Whom should I email then?
You can send an email to the Ph.D./MS program coordinator of your intended department.WHY? Because you cannot afford to apply to all universities in the USA. You would want to select those universities that maximize your chances of getting admission taking into account your budget constraint. Hence, you would want to know whether your profile is enough to get admission to that university. Some professors might not reply to your emails. But most people will and they will leave important insights for admission to their specific program. A positive reply doesn’t imply your ticket to the USA. But that’s definitely something positive.What to include in the email? You would want to include at least your Test Score (GRE/GMAT?IELTS/TOEFL), CGPA, and any experience you have. Adding publication/conference presentation, or anything else that you think might be relevant for that specific program might also help. Emailing before you take GRE/GMAT, will only waste your time and will not serve your purpose.*** If you feel that you miss the requirement of a program marginally, there’s no harm trying your luck and emailing them to see how flexible they are with their requirements. Most of the schools are flexible.For someone like me, finding the university with the highest chances of getting accepted is probably as important as getting a good test score. Networking with existing students in the university can help a lot in this process. LinkedIn can be very effective in finding out the educational profile of current students in your intended program. You can also use the search feature of this group to find university suggestions in previous posts and their comments.
2. APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS
2.1. Should I take GMAT or GRE?
For Economics programs, I would recommend you take GRE as most Econ programs are comfortable with the GRE score. I saw some Econ programs in Canada requiring GRE only. But if you have a GMAT score and you want to apply to some Econ programs, it’s not the end of the world for you. You can definitely email the program coordinator and then apply.For Business programs, most of the schools are flexible with any of them. For top schools, whether you give GRE or GMAT probably doesn’t matter. I targeted mostly mid to low ranked schools and I saw some schools requiring GMAT scores exclusively for Accounting/Marketing/Management programs. If I were in your position now, I would have given GMAT. Because some schools, even if they are flexible with any of the two, will convert your GRE score to GMAT. I don’t think that the regression equation (click for more) used in that conversion process is very helpful for GRE takers.ONE KEY POINT: Whether you give GRE/GMAT, your QUANT score is HIGHLY IMPORTANT; at least for Economics/Finance/Accounting programs. I cannot emphasize its importance more. If you don’t fill the overall test score requirement, but your quant score is good, you might get a call for an interview. Yep, the last stage of the selection process is usually an interview.2.2. What are the other requirements?A Statement of Purpose (SOP) or Personal Statement2+ Recommendation Letters (LOR)TOEFL/IELTS ScoreTranscript of previous degree programsRelevant CourseworkMore on Relevant Coursework: The more quantitative your background is, the better it is for you. Quantitative means, having courses on Calculus, Linear Algebra, Statistics, and Intermediate Macro & Micro. Some Finance programs explicitly require Calculus sequence and Linear Algebra and other math stuff. For aspiring students from Private universities, I would recommend that you take as many of these Math/Econ courses as you can during your undergrad/grad program. For aspiring students from Public universities, online courses or any non-degree certificate programs from Private universities might be helpful. This is not mandatory. But this can be extremely helpful and might save you from having a Masters in the USA before you get into a Ph.D. program.
2.3. What factor of your profile is most important?
The competitiveness of your profile depends on the APPLICATION POOL of the PROGRAM in that specific YEAR. This means that even if you have a very good profile, you might not get a call just because other candidates in the application pool are stronger than you. The opposite can also happen. In general, any extra qualities you have (whether it is a publication, relevant experience, or high CGPA) compared to other students in the application pool, will help you in the selection process.BUT, in my humble opinion,GRE/GMAT SCORE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR FOR GETTING INTO BUSINESS/ECON PROGRAMS.For some schools, GRE/GMAT is the initial screening criteria. An example of using the GRE/GMAT score in the admission process can be found in the “Admission Requirements” section of this link. Please don’t realize the importance of having a good test score after it’s TOO LATE.
2.4. Do I need to have a Masters from the US to get into a Ph.D. program?
Having an MS/MA from the US is not a requirement. But most Bangladeshi students who are doing a Ph.D. in Business Administration in the US, have a Masters degree from the US even if they have an exceptional academic background from BD. The reason can be many. Here are some reasons I can think of:1. Getting into a Ph.D. program is very competitive and an MS in US gives you a competitive advantage.2. The admission committee might think that having an MS in US gives students a very good familiarity with US education system and they are more capable of taking the challenge of a PhD program.3. Having an MS in US helps to get recommendation letters from highly qualified Professors.4. While doing MS in US, students get the opportunity to take courses that will help them succeed in the Ph.D. program.5. Some people also do quality research papers during the MS program that give them an edge.
2.5. How easy is it to get funding for MS programs in Business School?
Full Funding in MS programs in Finance/Accounting has been very competitive in the last couple of years. But there are some schools that offer full funding, if not full funding, at least full tuition waiver. Some MBA programs also offer full funding (the University of Toledo is an example) and can get the job done for a specialized MS program.
Disclaimer: Information contained on this write-up is based on my personal experience, intended to fill the information gap in this particular field and not supposed to be 100% correct in all circumstances. This is also not a comprehensive list of questions that might arise in your mind. In order to know more, please use the search feature of the group to find other relevant posts and files. Links to some other relevant posts and docs have been given below for your convenience:
Md Enayet Hossain
Intended Program: Ph.D. in Accounting, University of North Texas
Ph.D. in Economics, Texas Tech University (2019-20)
MS in Finance, University of Tampa (2018-19)MBA in Finance,
University of DhakaBBA in Finance, University of DhakaGRE Score: 312 (Q 164, V 148)