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PhD at the School of Business & Economics

Annually, approximately 20 PhD candidates enroll in the PhD programmes of the School of Business and Economics.

Most of the PhD candidates, internally or externally paid, are employed by the school. Only the part time- and scholarship PhD candidates are not employed.

Our mission is to attract highly motivated, talented PhD candidates to further cultivate their talents through extensive supervision, by welcoming them in an international, open and inspiring environment where knowledge exchange and research cooperation are highly stimulated, and by providing a safe, informal and friendly atmosphere. Your supervisor will help you draw up a training and guidance plan at the start of the project, and guide you in planning your research dissemination activities and seminars at international conferences and at other academic institutions.

Being a member of SBE gives you the opportunity to:

  • receive high level course work with leading international scholars at the Tinbergen InstituteAmsterdam Business Research Institute, and/or Business Data Science;
  • be involved in research and social activities, like seminars, workshops, social gatherings;
  • be introduced in numerous networks, in and outside the Netherlands;
  • have a research budget (for conferences, research visits and /or other research costs);
  • gain experience in teaching.

Research at SBE

In recent decades, inequality in the world has been increasing. Governance for Society looks at the underlying causes of inequality and how they relate to differences between regions, between urban and rural areas, and between educational levels. For example, Professor of Policy Evaluation Bas van der Klaauw focuses his research on economic inequality. What makes someone successful? And to what extent does education play a role in this?

PhD at SBE

  • Training programme

    The PhD candidates of the School of Business and Economics receive training at three graduate schools. The PhD candidates in economics, econometrics or finance receive training at the Tinbergen Institute, and the PhD candidates in Business Administration and Operations Research receive training at the Amsterdam Business Research Institute. Furthermore, all the PhD candidates can take courses at Business Data Science

  • PhD trajectory in Economics, Econometrics or Finance

    If you are interested in a PhD trajectory in Economics, Econometrics or Finance, you have the following possibilities at the SBE:

    Research Master + PhD programme (2+3 years): Economics, Econometrics or Finance

    Candidates who are interested in a PhD in Economics, Econometrics or Finance can apply for the Research Master at the Tinbergen Institute.

    The Tinbergen Institute offers a graduate programme consisting of two years of intensive graduate coursework in the institute's Research Master programme (Mres)and three years of PhD thesis research.
    The Research Master programme in economics, econometrics, and finance, is an excellent preparation for PhD thesis research in these fields. The Mres programme is taught by the best researchers of the three economics departments participating in the institute (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam and Erasmus University Rotterdam), and by internationally renowned guest lecturers. Students are carefully selected from a large international pool of applicants. Each year at most 30 students are admitted and thorough selection is part of the admission procedure. The Mres programme has been accredited by the Dutch and Flemish Accreditation Organisation for higher education (NVAO) and leads to a Master of Science in Economics degree.
     
    PhD programme
    The PhD programme takes three years and leads to a PhD degree. These three years are primarily spent on writing research papers for the PhD thesis and on participation in international conferences, workshops, and seminars.
     
    Currently, about 120 students are enrolled in our graduate programme. Roughly half of all students come from abroad; students have come from Europe, Asia, North-America, South-America, and Africa. 
     
    More information
    For more information and application procedures see www.tinbergen.nl

    4 year PhD programme on an externally funded project: Externally funded PhD positions

    In addition to the annually PhD positions in Economics, Econometrics, Finance, and Business Administration, there are throughout the year specific project based PhD positions advertised separately on the vacancy pages. For current PhD-job-openings please check vacancies.

    Part time PhD programme: Part-time PhD in Economics

    Candidates who wish to write a dissertation on a part-time basis are facilitated through supervision, access to the library and research seminars organized by the School. In some cases office space is provided as well.

    Applicants are advised to write a short research proposal which fits in one of the research programmes of the School (for more information on our research see the research portal and the departments) and send this, together with a cv and motivation letter, to the potential supervisor. This is possible throughout the year. There is no application deadline.

    If the potential supervisor is interested in supervising the research project, the proposal will be elaborated. When the research proposal is finished, the candidate can start her or his research. The candidate will receive a ‘VU-NET-ID’ which will give access to the library and an email-address. If needed a tailor made plan for education (up to 30ECTS) will be made in consultation with the supervisor and the Director of the Graduate School. The part time PhD student is required to pay a fee of €7,500 euro for the entire period. The fee will be used by the School to pay the courses at the Tinbergen Institute, the Amsterdam Business Research Institute, Business Data Science and or other graduate schools.

    Part time PhD students will not receive a salary or scholarship, and thus must be financially independent. Only candidates with a university master degree are eligible for this programme.

    For questions, please contact Ina Putter (i.putter@vu.nl).
    For information about the dedicated part-time PhD programme in Business and Management, please click here

  • PhD trajectory in Business Administration

    If you are interested in a PhD trajectory in Business Administration, you have the following possibilities at the SBE:

    4 year PhD programme on an Internally funded project: Annually open competition PhD positions

    The ABRI PhD Program in Business and Management will provide you with a wealth of opportunities to engage in impactful research that will advance our understanding of business and society.

    The ABRI PhD Program in Business and Management is a challenging program that will help you leverage your talent for doing research. Our program, along with the mentorship of a dedicated supervisory team, will support your development into a leading scholar, teacher, and influential thinker in international business and management research.

    During the 4-year rigorous training trajectory, you will acquire the academic foundations of business and management research, learn theoretical knowledge and methodological skills for conducting independent research in your field of choice, and develop 3+ academic papers that will form the body of your PhD dissertation.

    Through this PhD program in Business and Management we support you in:

    • Learning to conduct high quality research
    • Publishing research in international peer-reviewed scientific journals
    • Becoming a valuable member of, and a contributor to a vibrant academic community


    The PhD program in Business and Management at a glance:

    • Start date: September
    • Application opens in October, deadline is early January
    • Duration: 4 years
    • The PhD in Business and Management is a full-time program
    • Most courses and training activities will take place at the campus of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (during Covid also online)
    • Fully-funded PhD positions (including a generous salary and financial support for conferences, international research visits, data collection and other research expenses) are available on a competitive basis

    View all admission requirements, costs & practical information 

    4 year PhD programme on an externally funded project: Externally funded PhD positions

    In addition to the annually PhD positions in Economics, Econometrics, Finance, and Business Administration, there are throughout the year specific project based PhD positions advertised separately on the vacancy pages. For current PhD-job-openings please check vacancies.

    Part time PhD programme: Part-time PhD in Business and Management

    The Amsterdam Business Research Institute (ABRI) offers a part-time PhD programme for management practitioners. This programme supports executives and management professionals with a relevant background in conducting PhD-level research, and facilitates them in matching their professional experience with excellent academic insights. 

    ABRI’s part-time PhD programme offers a conveniently structured trajectory, intensive academic and mentoring support, access to VU Amsterdam facilities, a great research community, a professional and innovative environment and an extensive array of enrichment activities. For more information and application details, please visit the programme’s webpage.

    With the part-time PhD programme, ABRI aims to support business leaders in:

    • Leveraging their expertise for the creation of innovative business concepts
    • Leveraging existing research findings into a new integrated knowledge
    • Learning to conduct high quality research
    • Publishing their work in international business and scientific journals
    • Becoming part of a stimulating academic community

    What makes ABRI’s part-time PhD programme a great choice?

    • Teaching and supervision by internationally renowned professors
    • Research support from VU research centres specialising in different business topics (e.g., servant leadership and professional services)
    • A unique programme design, focused on a sequential development of academic research papers
    • Intellectually stimulating research community
    • Excellent location and facilities
    • A module-based programme enabling participation of highly-mobile and international participants

    Unique characteristics of the programme

    • Each programme year follows a cycle of research paper development
    • The learning process is deliberately divided into the six sequential modules
    • Attainable milestones are set to allow working professionals to stay on track
    • The focus on developing academic writing skills enables participants to publish their research work in international peer-reviewed journals
  • PhD policy and facilities

    Hora Finita

    Hora Finita is the PhD tracking system of VU Amsterdam. All processes related to the PhD trajectory, from the admission to the trajectory to the submission of the dissertation, run through this system. PhD candidates are registered in Hora Finita within the 3 months (external PhD candidates within the first year and at minimum 2 years before the completion of the dissertation) by the research policy officer. PhD candidates and their supervisors have access to Hora Finita with their vunet-id.

    Training and Supervision Plan

    To be formally admitted to a PhD trajectory at the VU, the PhD candidate and supervisors fill out the Training and Supervision Plan (TSP). This TSP should be created within the first three months of a project, except for the PhD candidates of the ABRI Part-time PhD program in Business who will fill out the TSP after the 1st year when the supervisory team is appointed. When the TSP is completed, it will be sent to the PhD candidate advisor for approval. When the plan is approved, the plan will be uploaded in Hora Finita. A PhD candidate cannot be formally admitted to a PhD trajectory without an approved TSP and a PhD cannot be completed without a fulfilled TSP. The TSP consists of the following items:

    1 Research Proposal and work plan

    Every PhD candidate works with a feasible research proposal as of the start of the PhD (3-year trajectories) or within the 1st year (other trajectories), including a realistic work plan. It should be updated over time to make sure that at each moment a candidate has a feasible plan to complete within a mutually agreed time-frame.

    2 Teaching

    PhD students who are employed at SBE have a teaching obligation because it is important for their (academic) career to gain teaching experience. Regular PhD candidates have a teaching load between 0.1 and 0.2 fte. Scholarship PhD candidates and external PhD candidates have no teaching obligation. Departments have flexibility to spread teaching load across candidates and across periods. Supervisors and department heads need to ensure that PhD candidates do not teach more than expected.

    SBE has set up a teaching skills course, the so-called mini-BKO, for its PhD candidates to give them the skills to teach and supervise theses. This teaching course consists of 3 modules: Module 1 (basic teaching skills) takes place in September, Module 2 (advanced teaching skills) takes place in January and Module 3 (thesis supervision) takes place in March / April. Once a PhD has completed all modules, he / she will receive 4 ECTS.

    3 Training

    All PhD candidates at the VU need to receive training at PhD level of a total size of at least 30 ECTS. PhD candidates who have completed a research master's degree in a relevant direction are exempt from following training. All PhD candidates of SBE are affiliated with the Tinbergen Institute or ABRI where they can take the courses to fulfill the requirement of 30 ECTS. It is also possible to take courses at other graduate schools within or outside the VU. An overview of all courses offered at the VU is available on the VU website. In consultation with the supervisors and upon approval of the Doctoral Director, a training plan is drawn up at the start of the PhD process. The following components are in any case compulsory for all PhD candidates:

    1. Research integrity course/module
    2. Research data management course/module
    3. Research methods course (free to choose)
    4. At least 1 presentation at a conference
    5. Transferable skills course/module
    6. How to manage my PhD project-workshops/modules

    The remaining parts of the training program should form a complete and coherent whole. Only in exceptional cases PhD candidates are exempted from training.

    4 Supervision

    Every PhD candidate has at least 2 supervisors. We expect supervisors to be able to be closely involved and co-responsible for a project (e.g. contact every two weeks). Supervisors should support and mentor candidates, make sure that candidates have a feasible (high-level) planning throughout the trajectory, and that supervisor and candidate mutually agree on expectations that are aligned with career prospects. PhD candidates and supervisors should explicate expectations on content, process, and ambitions, which may be tailored to domain, topic, and candidate. The PhD candidate and the supervisors should discuss expectations at the start of the PhD and continue the conversation. Expectations may differ between candidates who aim for a position outside academia and candidates who want to be competitive at the academic job market. The role of supervisors could also become part of conversations as part of monitoring of progress.

    When the TSP is completed, the plan will be sent to the PhD candidate advisor for approval. When the plan is approved, the PhD candidate can upload the plan in Hora Finita. A PhD cannot be completed without an approved and fulfilled TSP.

    Monitoring and support

    SBE has two PhD candidate advisors, one for the TI PhD candidates (to be announced) and one for the ABRI PhD candidates (Maria Tims). These PhD candidate advisors meet with all PhD candidates at least once a year in which progress and other PhD-related issues are discussed. In these meetings light-weight progress reports may be used. In case of concerns, the supervisor(s) should be included in the conversation.

    In addition, PhD candidates can make an appointment with the confidential counsellor of the faculty, Ina Putter, to discuss other issues that may occur. Depending on the issues, she may refer the PhD candidate to other persons such as the confidential counsellor for academic integrity issues, the confidential counsellor for VU personnel, or the PhD psychologist.

    Annual Introduction Meeting

    In October SBE organizes an introduction meeting for all the new PhD candidates. During this meeting, the PhD candidates receive information about their PhD programme from the two graduate schools (ABRI and TI) and about the facilities offered by the faculty. The meeting will be concluded with drinks where PhD candidates can get to know each other.

    Go/No go

    Within one year after the start of the PhD trajectory the PhD will be evaluated by the supervisors in a Go/No Go interview (coinciding with the first yearly evaluation), based on a progress report of the PhD candidate and the (updated) TSP and advice of the PhD candidate advisor.

    In this interview, the supervisor will discuss the work of the PhD, his/her performance, the atmosphere at work, and working conditions. Furthermore, agreements will be made concerning the quality and execution of research and other tasks.

    Plagiarism scan

    VU and SBE mandate at least one plagiarism scan for education and prevention purposes. PhD candidates who started after September 2022, need to scan their first academic product (article or chapter) using the dedicated VU-licensed plagiarism software. Results have to be discussed with PhD supervisors, and conclusions are to be shared with SBE’s Research Office and uploaded in Hora Finita. In case of serious concerns, performance of another scan is mandatory before the thesis is finished. In future, this policy may be extended to the whole dissertation.

    PhD community

    A successful PhD project also depends on a supportive community. PhDs can find this among other PhD candidates in the graduate school as well as in the departments. Both ABRI and TI stimulate the development of collaborative relations. At SBE a PhD council has been installed in which the PhD candidates of the faculty are represented and who organizes academic and social events for all the PhD candidates of SBE. Furthermore all PhD candidates have access to the PhD community page at CANVAS.

    Budget

    PhD candidates who are employed at the School of Business and Economics have a research budget of €6,500. Full time PhD candidates with a scholarship for the China Scholarship Council have a research budget of €2,000. This budget is for traveling (in and outside the Netherlands for attending conferences, workshops, and summer schools, and for research visits at other universities), for literature, and other research activities.

    PhD candidates who are employed on an NWO grant have a benchfee of 5,000 euro for research and traveling. When the 5,000 euro is spent, they have another 1,500 euro research budget of SBE.

    Dissertation printing costs

    PhD theses of TI students are published in the Tinbergen Institute Research Series. For this purpose, TI has made an agreement with Rozenberg Publishers in Amsterdam. All PhD candidates of TI are supposed to publish their thesis in these series, provided that they finish their thesis within two years of the end of their TI appointment. When the thesis is published in these series, TI pays the printing costs of the thesis up to a maximum of €1.250.

    PhD theses of ABRI PhD candidates are published in the ABRI Dissertation Series. For this purpose, ABRI will give the PhD candidate the ABRI logo and format to put on the back cover and the spine of the book. All PhD candidates of ABRI are supposed to publish their thesis in these series. SBE pays the printing costs up to a maximum of €1.250.

    Tuition fees external and part-time PhD candidates

    For the scholarship PhD candidates who receive a scholarship from their government and for whom the government is willing to pay a tuition fee, SBE asks a tuition fee of €5,000 per year. This tuition fee covers the following costs for 4 years: doctoral education, research costs, dissertation printing, vunet-id, and hospitality agreement, including access to office space and IT facilities.

    External PhD candidates who are doing a part-time PhD at SBE (outside the ABRI part-time PhD programme) pay a tuition fee of €7,500 for the entire PhD trajectory (to cover costs for vunet-id, doctoral education and supervision): €2500 per year for the 1st and 2nd year, and €1250 per year for the 3rd and 4th year. The maximum duration of external PhD trajectories is 10 years.

    The external PhD candidates who are doing the part-time PhD programme for business leaders at ABRI are required to pay €20000-€25000 in case of a 4-year trajectory including the costs of modules, individual supervision, access to ABRI research courses (optional) and summer schools, registration, food catering and access to VU facilities and services.

    Doctorate regulations

    In the Doctorate Regulations all matters concerning your thesis and defense are described in detail.

    Doctorate Regulations (PDF)

    Ius Promovendi 

    According to the Doctorate Regulations article 9.3 a dean may grant ius promovendi to an associate professor of their own faculty. The dean evaluates the competence of the staff member concerned in relation to the relevant criteria set by the College of Deans. The criteria are:

    • the Associate Professor is a good researcher, as demonstrated by multiple peer-reviewed publications of excellent scientific quality. In particular, the associate professor meets the publications criteria as set for professor 2 and associate professor 1.
    • The Associate Professor is a good supervisor, attested by at least two successfully completed PhD theses that he / she has supervised in the formal role of co-supervisor.

    If an associate professor meets these criteria, he/she can submit an application for ius promovendi to the dean via Ina Putter (i.putter@vu.nl). 

  • PhD Council

    The SBE PhD council consists of a small number of PhD candidates from ABRI and Tinbergen research institutes at the School of Business and Economics at the VU and aims to fulfill three core functions:

    • Communication point to the SBE PhD community regarding any issues that occur during their PhD trajectory
    • Representation of both ABRI and Tinbergen PhD community’s interests to the faculty board
    • Community building among SBE PhDs

    Type of activities we organize

    Typically PhD council will hold three events a year:

    • The start of the academic year event around September/October to meet the new PhDs and gather PhDs’ input to set new goals for the PhD council
    • The midyear event around January/February to track the progress on the goals set for the year and check in with the SBE PhD community
    • The end of the year event around June to update on the state of the goals set at the beginning of the year and close off the year on a positive note with the SBE PhD community

    The council is always open to hear any concerns or ideas from the PhD community via email phdcouncil.SBE@vu.nl

    Introduction of the current Council members

    Tomislav Karačić
    I am a PhD candidate at the KIN Center for Digital Innovation. In my research, I study how machine learning is developed and implemented in organizations. Specifically, I do ethnographic research in a plant breeding company that develops ML tools to improve their breeding techniques. My focus is on the role of domain expertise in development and use of these tools. Prior to my PhD, I completed bachelor studies in philosophy and communication sciences at the University of Zagreb and then a Master of Logic at University of Amsterdam. In my free time, I’m an avid quiz-addict, both as a contestant and as a host.

    Jet Vink
    I am a PhD candidate at the Management and Organization department, strategy group. From a background in design, bachelor of Industrial Design at the TU Eindhoven, I made the transition to business a few years ago. Within my PhD research I examine the ways in which power interactions and leadership behaviour shape the interdependence within business ecosystems to influence the evolution and performance. Complementing the mental exercise of research, I try to maintain some connection to working and creating with my hands. Recently I have focused on smithing (I forged my own kitchen knife) and ceramics. Additionally, you will not only find me on the dance floor for my research, but also to enjoy some salsa dancing.

    Diana C. Garcia Rojas
    I am a PhD candidate at the Department of Economics and more specifically at the Development Economics group. My research aims to identify trade-offs and synergies between Sustainable Development Goals related to Food Security. Particularly, the interactions between socio-economic indicators and environmental preservation. I focus on two low-income countries in Southeast Asia, Myanmar and Laos. Since data is usually not available in these countries, I use small area estimation to predict levels of poverty and malnutrition in these countries and use remote sensing or satellite data to recognize levels of deforestation in the region. Before my PhD, I finished my MPhil in Economics at the Tinbergen Institute. My passion apart from economics is climbing, so you will find me in the bouldering gym almost every evening.   

    Eva Mynott
    I am a PhD candidate at the Finance Department. My research interests are in the behavioral side of asset pricing, particularly in investor behavior in financial markets. I study the presence of extrapolative beliefs in stock and bond markets and whether these beliefs vary over time and across assets. Prior to my PhD, I obtained an MPhil degree in Economics from the Tinbergen Institute and an MSc degree in Quantitative Risk Management from the VU. In my spare time I am a ClassPass (sports) and Duolingo (languages) addict, but I also love to cook and have long dinners with friends.

    Teresa Laguna
    Without a doubt, COVID has left a mark in our lives in a good and a bad way. For me, one of these good experiences is associated with the possibility to start a PhD at ABRI in the marketing department. To make this possible, I received the Fund for the Development of Human Resources (FIDERH) administered by the Bank of Mexico. At ABRI, under prof. dr. Van Herk’s guidance, I will investigate "soft" and "hard" determinants affecting foreign direct investments (FDI) attraction through a study on nation branding across developing and developed countries. I have many hobbies like practicing classic ballet or going to the movies, as well as I really enjoy being part of the PhD council. For me it is a great opportunity to share ideas and work on improving students’ facilities during their stay at the Vrije Universiteit.