I think the PhD programme at Frankfurt School offers a great opportunity for students to prepare for an academic career and learn how to produce high quality research. After four weeks of being in the program, I have already learned a lot and would like to share my experience to give prospective students an insight on what to expect from Frankfurt School’s PhD program.
One reason why I decided to pursue my Ph.D. studies at Frankfurt School was that it is known for being a research-lead business school that focuses on publications in top academic journals. I liked the idea to study and discuss about research in small groups, but also to share one’s own experience and to help each other out when it comes to solving difficult tasks.
Already starting from the first day, there is a demanding coursework schedule in place that requires active participation and preparation. After a formal welcome meeting and get together with other students, Mathematics & Stochastics class started in which we reviewed core mathematical concepts. Here, the small group size allowed for interactive discussions with the professor as well as time for individual academic support.
In the late afternoon of day one, we had a preparation session for the Accounting seminar next day. The Accounting seminars usually take place once a week with a guest speaker from a leading university, who presents his current research paper. In such a seminar, several professors from various departments as well as PhD students sit together and critically discuss the presented research paper’s assumptions and results in accordance with the speaker. In order to get most out of these research seminars, a preparation session is organized one day before the seminar and is planned as a forum where the hosting professor and all PhD students from the Accounting department analyse and discuss the speaker’s paper. The idea of the session is that students critically reflect the research article and are encouraged to actively participate in the seminar.
The next day in class, the professor invited the speaker to give us insights about her role as an editor of a leading US journal session and we took the opportunity to ask questions about the review process of a paper. Although quite early in the beginning of the program, I liked that we talked about what factors determine future success in research and how to achieve them.
What I especially like about the corporate culture at Frankfurt School is that flat hierarchies are in place which encourages PhD students to easily approach professors of various departments, and also ask them their opinion of your own research ideas and methods. Especially when it comes to develop own research ideas, academic guidance by professors and regular meetings allow for the development of sound research ideas and an efficient writing process.
When it comes to international experience, Frankfurt School has a great network with researchers from other top leading universities and supports students to take courses at other universities or find Visiting PhD positions. Besides that, the class itself is international with PhD students coming from Africa, the US or Asia, which allows to discuss opinions from various points of view.