Program offers full-time and part-time options, interdisciplinary specializations
Ryerson University virtually welcomed the first cohort of its new PhD in management program this semester.
“We were waiting for Ontario government approvals to give us the green light,” said TRSM Dean Daphne Taras. “The momentum came from the scholarly ambitions and achievements of our talented researchers, who need to develop and mentor the next generation of professors.”
Hong Yu, the associate dean of graduate programs at TRSM, said there are two key factors that distinguish Ryerson’s PhD in management program from its competitors: it’s flexible and it offers unique, interdisciplinary specializations.
The program’s four academic specialization streams are digital enterprise and social media, real estate studies, retail and consumer services, and strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship. Students have the option of completing their degree in four years — full-time — or six years — part-time.
Carleton University is currently the only other post-secondary school in Canada that offers students the option of a PhD in management part-time.
According to Yu, other Canadian business schools tend to offer more traditional specializations like human resources and organizational behaviour, finance, marketing and accounting.
“In addition to the traditional research-intensive and academic paths for our graduates, our PhD program is building on TRSM’s existing long-standing relationships with the industries,” Yu added, touting the program’s ability to connect PhD candidates to collaborative industry research opportunities.
Seven students are currently enrolled in the program: one part-time and six full-time.
Dike Ike, a recent immigrant with an educational background in engineering, is one student currently pursuing the program’s strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship stream.
After Ike completed his masters degree, he spent five years working as a manager for Heineken and Anheuser-Busch because he wanted to gain some industry experience before pursuing his “lifelong dream” of getting his doctorate degree.
“I decided to do my PhD due to the fact that my major passion in life is research,” said Ike.
Ike is currently studying the entrepreneurship behaviours of immigrants from qualitative and quantitative perspectives. He said he was drawn to the subject for a variety of reasons. He hopes his work will have a positive impact on Canada and aspiring entrepreneurs.
“It’s not just the fact that I’m a recent immigrant,” said Ike. “I know that entrepreneurship helps build economies, it also helps build families, helps build lives and helps people attain fulfilment.”
Although it’s only been five weeks since the program began, Ike feels confident that he made the right choice by picking Ryerson.
Fifty two students applied for this fall. Since this is the program’s first year, it’s difficult to tell whether enrolment was affected by COVID-19.
“We thought it would be negatively affected,” said André Laplume, TRSM’s master of science and management (MScM) program director. “But later, we started to think that maybe it was actually potentially positively affected because graduate studies tend to be counter-cyclical.”
Some students opt to pursue graduate studies because the job market is weak, he said. This fall, the numbers supported this idea, as TRSM’s master of business administration and MScM programs received more domestic applications and accepted more students than in previous years.
The PhD in management program is currently operating remotely.
Laplume said feedback from students thus far has been “quite positive,” and added that most TRSM graduate students currently prefer to study from afar. “They’re very happy that we made the decision to stay online.”
Post-pandemic, the plan is for the program to shift to an in-person delivery model.