By Kenneth Iselhart III
Next year as undergraduates return from summer break to begin the Fall 2016 semester, a new group of students will join the academic community at Fordham: the inaugural cohort of the Gabelli School of Business’ first ever doctoral degree program.
Mario Gabelli, who in 2010 donated to Fordham the most prodigious gift the university has ever received, once again contributed a gift to the school in order to initiate the new Ph.D. program in business administration. This will be a five-year program focused on cultivating future educators in the field of business.
“This program is unique,” said program director Iftekhar Hasan, Ph.D., professor of finance and Corrigan Chair in International Business and Finance, in an email. He has been closely involved with this new program, which has been in development for two years. Leading the program’s development, Hasan has worked with faculty, administrators and external advisors to get the program running by 2016. “It involves two areas of focus, a strategy and decision making focus and a capital markets focus,” Hasan said. Ph.D. students will participate in a cross-disciplinary study of economic theory, management, marketing, information systems and media theory.
“Students will take a mix of theory and empirical core courses,” said Hasan in reference to new courses on philosophy of science, data analysis, financial theory, management, econometrics and research-intensive seminars.
Close collaboration between faculty members and students will be an important aspect of the new program. Only four scholars will be accepted into the inaugural Fall 2016 cohort. “The goal of a Ph.D. program is to give students highly focused, one-on-one mentorship from research-active faculty in their business specialties,” said Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D., dean of the Gabelli School of Business. “The faculty-student connection is what helps doctoral students to blossom into highly promising young scholars.”
Hasan said that the program will stand out amongst others due to its “interdisciplinary approach, combined with mentorship by high-level faculty, contact prestigious visiting scholars, significant job placement support and of course, Jesuit values.”
Rapaccioli believed the new program will be integral in the training of young business professionals.
“The Gabelli School has a strong reputation for educating the next generation of business leaders,” she said. “The Ph.D. program will extend our mission into educating the next generation of business educators.” Upon obtaining jobs as professors and researchers at other universities, she said, these Ph.D. students will be able to spread the Gabelli School’s guiding philosophy of “business with purpose.”
In addition to preparing graduate students to teach at the university level, the program will also strengthen one of the Gabelli School’s top priorities: original research.
“The Ph.D. program will intensify even further the business research that takes place under the Fordham banner,” Rapaccioli said. Graduate students will be able to work alongside faculty, researching business topics that Rappaccioli hopes will “yield useful, applicable benefits for industry.”
In a Fordham Notes article, Hasan also emphasized the role of research in the new program. “This particular program will create an environment that not only enhances the current commitment to research, but will also create a new hub of research activity at Fordham,” he said.
For the first time, Fordham will be represented by Ph.D. students at national academic conferences and colloquia. This will strengthen the Gabelli School’s reputation in business scholarship, as well as inspire undergraduates to explore research projects in business said Dean Rapaccioli.
The new doctoral program will accept applications this upcoming winter. Hasan explained that the program will be looking for “students who have a passion for research and wish to hone those skills at the highest possible levels and develop a career in research and teaching.”
These students should also have a strong background in mathematics, statistics, economics and computer science, as well as high GMAT and GPA scores.
“My personal hope,” concluded Hasan, “is that the program leaves a lasting impression on Fordham and helps the school reach new heights in research and doctoral education.”