We are delighted by your interest in pursuing a Ph.D. in Decision, Risk, and Operations (DRO). We invite you to read more about our faculty and doctoral alumni, sample research themes we focus on, and the details of the Ph.D. program. We know that many of you are eager to get in touch with individual faculty members. Unfortunately, given the large number of applicants, it it impossible for faculty members to correspond directly with each applicant.
Below, we provide a few answers to typical questions we get from applicants:
Do you plan to admit Ph.D. students next year?
Individual DRO faculty members do not recruit Ph.D. students. It is the DRO division, as a group, that admits Ph.D. students. As a result, there is no need to contact individual faculty members. Recent admission statistics are found here.
When should I apply? Can I apply in the Spring?
The details of the application process are given at Columbia Business School's PhD application website. There is only one application cycle each year, and application materials are due by January 1.
What do you look for in applicants?
Applications are evaulated by a committee of the division's faculty members. This is a selective process in which we look for candidates with a very strong quantitative background. With regard to specific credentials, the DRO division keeps an open mind when evaluating each application. Some admitted students have a dissertation topic in mind, while others still wish to explore various research areas before choosing a point of focus.
Do I get paired with an advisor / research group upon admission?
Upon admission, you will get paired with a faculty member in the division who will serve as your academic advisor. This faculty member will be your primary point of contact with the faculty of the division and will be a resource for advice on course selection and general Ph.D. guidelines. Your academic advisor need not be your dissertation/research advisor, the selection of which is discussed in the answer below.
What is the process for selecting an advisor? When do I start getting involved in research?
Students are not constrained in their choice of advisor, and this selection is done during the first two years. We expect students to reach out to faculty toward the end of their first year to start getting involved in research. One mechanism that helps to refine one's research interests and the selection of an advisor is the first-year Summer Project, through which students conduct research under the supervision of a faculty member.
Are there opportunities to reach out to industry to obtain data for research purposes?
There are many opportunities to do so. Many faculty members of the division have established contacts with industry partners. Along these lines, there are also two centers affiliated with the division. The Deming Center, focusing on Operational Excellence, organizes various events with industry partners and sponsors many student research projects that require, for example, traveling to a company for data collection. The Center for Pricing and Revenue Management focuses on issues surrounding analytics and yield management, and also offers a channel through which one may obtain data or reach out to industry partners.