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PhD in Business with a Specialization in Operations and Business Analytics

PhD Students having a discussion

The PhD in Business with a specialization in operations and business analytics (OBA) prepares students for highly rewarding research careers in academic institutions. It is hosted under the Department of Decision Sciences and MIS which encompasses four academic fields:

  • Production/Operations Management (POM)
  • Management Science/Operations Research (MS/OR)
  • Business Analytics (BA)
  • Applied Probability and Statistics (STAT)

In addition to passion for research and teaching, ideal candidates for the OBA specialization should have strong quantitative background in mathematics, statistics, operations research, supply chain management or other related fields, fluent coding ability and strong oral and written communication skills.

Meet current operation and business analytics PhD students

OBA PhD Specialization Tracks:

Students are encouraged to express their track preferences at the application stage.

Operations Management Track

Students in the operations management track will conduct research in operations management and supply chain management, using either theoretical modeling or empirical approaches.

Business Analytics Track

Students in the business analytics track will focus on statistics, operations research and/or data mining applications in a single field such as operations, marketing, economics or finance.


The faculty members within the Department of Decision Sciences are strongly committed to academic excellence and are world-class experts in their respective fields. Our faculty publish in top-tier academic journals such as:

  • Management Science
  • Operations Research
  • Manufacturing and Service Operations
  • Management Information Systems Quarterly
  • Marketing Science

Faculty Research Topics Include:

  • Supply chain decision models
  • Production
  • Planning and scheduling
  • Inventory management
  • Mathematical programming
  • Financial modeling
  • Quality function deployment
  • Data envelope analysis
  • Bayesian statistics
  • Statistical quality control
  • Reliability of statistical software
  • Data mining
  • Quantitative marketing

Students will jointly work with faculty to develop and sharpen their research skills in order to contribute to the various fields.

Coursework and Research

Recent Operations Student Research

  • A supplier selection model with quality-driven demand and capacitated suppliers
  • Buyer-supplier currency exchange rate flexibility contracts in global supply chains
  • Consumer-driven investment decisions in multiple sales channels: A downstream supply chain analysis
  • Information provision under showrooming and webrooming
  • Can learning-by-doing hurt profit? The case of outsourcing and supplier encroachment

Recent Business Analytics Student Research

  • Will open access increase journal citation scores? An empirical investigation over multiple disciplines
  • Investors’ opinion divergence and stock return volatility: evidence from user-generated content
  • Time-to-recall decisions: marketing and operations perspectives
  • Criteria determination of analytic hierarchy process using a topic model
  • A data synthesizer for legally anonymized location data
  • Regularized step directions in conjugate gradient minimization for machine learning
  • Optimal decision making on disrupted supply chain using graph and learning
  • The role of parents’ mores on their intentions to enroll their children in a school-based telemedicine program

Required Coursework

*Both tracks are required to take the following eight courses:

  • Econ 902 Mathematical Economics
  • Econ 910 Advanced Microeconomics I
  • Econ 911 Advanced Microeconomics II
  • STAT 931 Statistics for Economics
  • STAT 924 Multivariate Analysis I
  • OPR 922 OR Method I
  • OPR 924 OR Method II
  • OPR 992 Applied Math Programming

In addition, the Operations track should take the following courses:

  • ECON 980 Game Theory
  • POM 900 OM Seminar
  • POM 930 Scheduling Theory
  • POM 922 Inventory
  • POM 990 Service Operations
  • POM 925 Supply Chain Seminar

The Business Analytics track should take the following courses:

  • CS 570 Programming Foundations
  • CS 502 Data Structure and Algorithms
  • CS 520 Computer Science Foundations
  • And several elective courses (e.g., CS 613 Machine Learning, STAT 925 Multivariate II, etc.)

There is sufficient flexibility in the program to allow individuals to customize their doctoral coursework to their research agenda. Students are encouraged to discuss these plans with their dissertation committee and the PhD coordinator so that their training can have the maximal impact on their research output.

Additional Requirements and Features

First-Year Examination

After the completion of the first year of the program, students are examined on their competence in the first-year material and their readiness to continue in the program. Students must take and successfully pass the first-year exams. In addition to course-based exams, students can choose to submit and present their first-year research progress or work on a mini-project assigned by the evaluation committee. Passing these exams allows PhD Students to take their specialization courses in their second year.

Candidacy Examination

At the completion of their coursework, students take written and oral candidacy examinations, also referred to as field exams. These examinations test each student’s preparation for dissertation research. Each student must pass the field exam in the area in which they wish to pursue research. Once the candidacy examinations are passed, the student is recognized as a PhD candidate.

Doctoral Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation is a piece of original research designed to make a contribution to the student’s chosen discipline. Each candidate selects a dissertation adviser and an advisory committee of additional faculty members is formed. The candidate prepares a detailed dissertation proposal that is defended before the University community. After successfully defending the proposal, the candidate conducts the research and prepares a written dissertation. The completed dissertation is then defended in a final oral examination.

Instructor Training

Drexel LeBow provides PhD students with training in how to be highly effective teachers in their first and second years. Typically, after the candidacy exam has been passed, doctoral candidates in LeBow assume teaching duties as sole instructors for three courses total before graduating the program. 

Assistantships and Financial Aid

LeBow and Drexel provide PhD students with training in how to be highly effective teachers in their first and second years. Typically, after the candidacy exam has been passed, doctoral candidates in LeBow assume teaching duties as sole instructors for three courses total before graduating the program.

Learn more about assistantships and aid

Connect with Us

Thank for your interest in the PhD in Business with a specialization in operations and business analytics. Please contact us for more information or with questions.

Wenjing Shen, PhD

(215) 895-0225

Gerri C. LeBow Hall 735