The PhD Program in Marketing at the Graduate School of Business emphasizes preparation for careers in scholarly research. Graduates of the Program usually pursue careers in academic or research institutions. The field is often broken down into two broad sub-areas: Behavioral Marketing and Quantitative Marketing.
Behavioral marketing is the study of how individuals behave in consumer-relevant domains. This area of marketing draws from social psychology and behavioral decision theory and includes a wide variety of topics such as decision making, attitudes and persuasion, social influence, motivation, cognition, culture, non-conscious behavior influences, consumer neuroscience, and emotions.
Students in this track take classes in behaviorally-oriented subjects within the GSB and also in the psychology department. All GSB students have the opportunity to interact with GSB faculty in every group and, indeed, across the Stanford campus. There is also a formal institutional link between the behavioral side of marketing and the micro side of OB, which is called Behavioral Interest Group. The GSB Behavioral Lab links this group. This lab fosters collaborative work among the behavioral people across field boundaries.
A background in psychology and experience with experimental methods and data analysis provides optimal preparation for students pursuing the behavioral track, though students from a variety of backgrounds have performed well in the program.
The quantitative marketing faculty at Stanford emphasizes theoretically grounded empirical analysis of applied marketing problems. This line of inquiry draws primarily on fundamentals in applied microeconomic theory, industrial organization, econometrics and statistics. Questions of interest include investigating consumer choices and purchase behavior; product, pricing, advertising and promotion strategies of firms; and analysis of competition in a wide range of domains. A common theme of research is the use of rigorous quantitative methods to study important, managerially-relevant marketing questions.
Students in this track take common classes in quantitatively-oriented subjects with others at the GSB, as well as the economics and statistics departments. All GSB students have the opportunity to interact with GSB faculty in every group and, indeed, across the Stanford campus.
A solid training in economics, statistical methods as well as programming skills offer a distinct advantage for quantitative marketing students but students from various backgrounds such as engineering, computer science, and physics have thrived in the program.
A small number of students are accepted into the field each year, with a total of about 14 marketing students in residence. Student-faculty relationships are close, both professionally and socially. This permits the tailoring of the program of study to fit the background and career goals of the individual. A marketing student's program of study usually includes several doctoral seminars taught by marketing faculty, some doctoral seminars taught by other Graduate School of Business faculty, and a considerable number of graduate-level courses in related departments outside the Business School, depending on a student's particular area of investigation.