Policy and Strategic Management

  • Our PhD Program: Navigating the Frontiers of Strategic Thought

    The PhD in Strategic Management at the Schulich School of Business fuses rigorous scholarship with real-world influence. Our program champions intellectual curiosity and boundary-pushing research in economic and organizational issues as they pertain to firm strategy. Housed within a group that embraces open inquiry, we empower students to pioneer strategic dialogues addressing today’s emerging business issues. Ultimately, our graduates emerge as thought leaders driving meaningful strategic insights and business impact.

    In this program, you can extend your horizons beyond core strategy. With our close connections to other disciplines within Schulich, such as Sustainability, Organizational Behavior and Operations Management & Information Systems, as well as across the university, such as Sociology, Political Science, Computer Science and Psychology, students are encouraged take courses across various departments. This interdisciplinary perspective enriches your research lens. Moreover, Schulich is based in Toronto, a diverse global business hub rich with opportunities. Our proximity to key industry clusters provides significant access to research collaborations.

    Our emphasis is on fostering independent research and close student-faculty collaboration. We provide full funding packages that cover tuition and a generous stipend for up to five years. This financial support allows students to fully immerse in impactful research.

    Our Students’ Success Stories

    Our PhD graduates have secured faculty appointments at highly respected institutions across the globe. Below is a list highlighting some of our graduates’ placements:

    • Indiana University Bloomington
    • University of Calgary
    • University of Waterloo
    • University of San Francisco
    • McMaster University
    • University of Sydney
    • Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
    • University of Massachusetts, Amherst

    Faculty Expertise: Exploring New Frontiers in Strategy

     Our diverse faculty spearhead research across critical domains, addressing critical and contemporary challenges while exploring forward-looking themes such as, among others:

    • Digital Platforms and Ecosystems
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Management of Technology and Innovation
    • Ethics and Stakeholder Relationships
    • Artificial Intelligence in Strategic Management
    • Organizational Learning and Adaptation
    • International Business and Globalization
    • Mergers and Acquisitions
    • Strategic Decision-making

    Come join our faculty in shaping and advancing the field!

Specialization Details by Category

Study Options

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Student admission is restricted to full-time study exclusively for the first four years. It is not recommended to be working outside of the PhD program during your studies. Students must be able to participate in the PhD program in Toronto.

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Candidates for the Policy & Strategic Management field PhD degree must fulfil the following minimum requirements:


Students must successfully complete the following course requirements:

Required Courses



3.00 credit graduate level methodological course chosen in consultation with the field’s PhD Program Coordinator.

Another 3.00 credit graduate level methodological course chosen in consultation with the field’s PhD Program Coordinator.



Two Elective Courses

Students will take at least two of the following four electives:

  • Strategic Management 7090 3.0: Special Topics in Strategic Management

Research Paper

Students must submit one research paper that synthesizes a particular body of literature and furthers our understanding on a specific topic in strategy. The research paper is a prerequisite to the comprehensive exams and should comprise both a theoretical and an empirical component. Students work closely with a faculty advisor on this paper.

The initial submission of the research paper is due before the end of December of the second year. Students are required to present this paper in the research seminar series, normally during the spring. Students are expected to submit the final version of the paper by May 15 of the second year. The paper is evaluated and must be approved by the research paper’s faculty advisor, the area PhD Coordinator and an additional faculty member.

Comprehensive Examinations

The comprehensive field examination takes place after the summer of the second year. The comprehensive exams are designed to test a student’s breadth of knowledge in the field of strategic management as well as depth of knowledge in select areas. In preparation for their exams, students are given a list of classic readings at the beginning of their program; the list consists of books and journal articles that have defined the field. Students are expected to have a thorough comprehension and understanding of the historical development and the fundamental questions that have guided the discourse in the field. Students are also expected to be thoroughly versed in the current literature and research questions that occupy select areas of the field of strategy. It is assumed that these areas will subsequently define the scope of a student’s dissertation.

Those who fail have the opportunity to retake the exams once, within six months of the date of the first comprehensive exam. Those who fail to pass a second time are not allowed to continue in the PhD program.

The program regards the comprehensive examination as a pivotal point for deciding whether students should be allowed to proceed with their studies or be encouraged to withdraw from the program.

Dissertation Proposal and Oral Defence

Candidates must prepare a written proposal to conduct original dissertation research carried out under the supervision of a supervisory committee, and must defend this to the satisfaction of the thesis supervisor and members of the supervisory committee.

Dissertation and Oral Examination

Candidates must prepare a dissertation based on original research carried out under the supervision of a supervisory committee and submit the results in appropriate dissertation form. After the formal submission of the dissertation, an oral examination is held. It is expected that all or part of the dissertation will be published following professional or scientific review.

We recommend further consultation with your area Ph.D. rep concerning any impending changes to the program requirements and guidance on selecting appropriate optional courses.


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Faculty members in the Policy and Strategic Management Area explore many interests within the broad area of policy and strategic management, and are active in a wide range of research projects.

Key areas of research include: international management, strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions, entrepreneurship and technological innovation, corporate governance, and strategy processes. The faculty members share an interest in addressing important policy issues in an intellectually open environment and their work reflects the School’s distinctive innovative, global and diverse culture.

The following faculty are accredited by the Schulich School of Business and the Faculty of Graduate Studies for the supervision of doctoral students:

Career Opportunities

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  • The goal of the PhD program in Policy and Strategic Management is to train students to become productive scholars and teachers who can be placed at research-oriented universities upon graduation.

    Placement of Recent Graduates

    Hussein Fadlallah Assistant Professor, Carnegie Mellon University, Doha Qatar campus
    Ramya Krishna Murthy Assistant Professor in the Entrepreneurship Area at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore
    Jie (Jerry) Yang Assistant Professor at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, New York, USA
    Shoeb Mohammad Assistant Professor, Lakehead University
    Mekki Macaulay Abdelwahab Senior Technical Cloud, Red Hat, & Open Source Strategy Advisor – Advisory & Consulting Canada · ‎IBM
    Xin (Aurora) Liu Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
    Nada Basir Assistant Professor, University of Waterloo – Conrad Business Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre
    Wan Li Assistant Professor, Edwards School of Business, University of Saskatchewan
    Mohammad Keyhani Assistant Professor, Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary

  • Michael Valente, PhD 2007

    “Co-authoring with faculty here at Schulich has been instrumental in understanding the process of conducting high-quality research. ”

    Michael Valente, PhD 2007Associate Professor of Organization Studies and Sustainability, Schulich School of Business

Student Research

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  • Faculty members in the Policy area at Schulich are highly regarded in their areas of specialization and regularly publish in the top journal of the field, such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science and Journal of International Business Studies, among others. York University and the Toronto area provide additional access to high calibre faculty and great research opportunities.

    Selected Publications

    Nudrat Mahmood (2023), “A transactional perspective on Firms, consumers, and social institutions,” Organization Science (with Farjoun, M.)

    Jie (Jerry) Yang (2023), “Bundle Up Before You Go: Toward a Bundle Approach to Product Categorization,” Journal of Management, 49(5): 1695-1737 (with Li, S. X.)

    Shoeb Mohammad (2023), “The Effect of Skilled Labour Scarcity on Law-abiding Organizational Climates in Emerging Markets: Evidence from Mexico,” Journal of Business Research (with Husted, B.)

    Xin (Aurora) Liu (Genin) (2023), “Board experiential diversity and corporate radical innovation,” Strategic Management Journal, 1– 24. https://doi.org/10.1002/smj.3499 (with Ma, W., Bhagwat, V., Bernile, G.)

    Mohammad Keyhani (2022), “Exploration-Exploitation and Acquisition Likelihood in New Ventures,” Small Business Economic, 58(3), 1475-1496. (with Deutsch, Y., Madhok, A. and M. Lévesque)

    Nada Basir (2022), “Collective identity development amid institutional chaos: Boundary evolution in a women’s rights movement in post Gaddafi Libya,” Organization Studies 43 (10), 1607-1628 (with Ruebottom, T. and Auster, E.)

    Trish Ruebottom (2022), “Collective identity development amid institutional chaos: Boundary evolution in a women’s rights movement in post Gaddafi Libya,” Organization Studies 43 (10), 1607-1628 (with Basir, N. and Auster, E.)

    Xin (Aurora) Liu (Genin) (2022), “Relational assets or liabilities? Competition, collaboration, and firm intellectual property breakthrough in the Chinese high-speed train sector,” Journal of International Business Studies, 53(9), 1895-1923 (with Tan, J., & Song, J.)

    Hussein Fadlallah (2021), “What We Talk About When We Talk About Stakeholders,” Business & Society, 00076503211053005. (with Johnson-Cramer, M. E., Phillips, R. A., H., Berman, S. L. and Elms, H.)

    Ramya Krishna Murthy (2021), “Overcoming the Early-stage Conundrum of Digital Platform Ecosystem Emergence: A Problem-Solving Perspective,” Journal of Management Studies, 58(7), 1899–1932 https://doi.org/10.1111/joms.12748 (with Madhok, A.)

    Shoeb Mohammad (2021), “Innovation, Corruption, and Internationalization: Evidence from Firms in Emerging Economies,” Journal of Business Venturing Insights (with Husted, B.)

    Xin (Aurora) Liu (Genin) (2021), “State governance and technological innovation in emerging economies: State-owned enterprise restructuration and institutional logic dissonance in China’s high-speed train sector,” Journal of International Business Studies, 52(4), 621-645 (with Tan, J. and Song, J.)

    Xin (Aurora) Liu (Genin) (2021), “Interorganizational Knowledge Flows in Academia–Industry Collaboration: The Economic Impacts of Science-Based Firm Innovation,” IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, doi: 10.1109/TEM.2021.3066386 (with Lévesque, M.)

    Hussein Fadlallah (2020), “Governance of Voice in Digital Platforms,” Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society (Vol. 31, pp. 24-36) (with Phillips, R. A.)

    Wan Li (2020), “Disruptive innovation and technology ecosystem: The evolution of the intercohesive public–private collaboration network in Chinese telecommunication industry,” Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 57 (July-September) (with Tan, J., Wang L. and Zhang, H.)

    Wan Li (2020), “Can You Do Kung Fu and Also Act? New Entrants’ Cross-Border Status Attainment in the Creative Industries,” Journal of World Business, 55(3) (with Shipilov, A. and Li, S.)

    Shoeb Mohammad (2019), “Law‐abiding organizational climates in developing countries: The role of institutional factors and socially responsible organizational practices,” Business Ethics, Environment, and Responsibility (with Husted, B.W.)

    Wan Li (2019), “Tapping into Agglomeration Benefits by Engaging in a Community of Practice”, 2019, with L. Wang and W. Helms, Strategic Organization, 18(4): 617-644 (with Wang, L. and Helms, W)

    Wan Li (2019), “Strategic Choices of Exploration and Exploitation Alliances under Market Uncertainty,” Management Decision, 57(11): 3122-3133 (with Wang, L.)

    Xin (Aurora) Liu (Genin) (2019), “Spoils from the spoiled: strategies for entering stigmatized markets,” Journal of Management Studies, 56: 1260-1286(with Slade Shantz, A., Fischer, E. and Lévesque, M.)

    Recent Dissertation Topics

    2022: Hussein Fadlallah – Governance and Responsibilities in the Context of Digital Platforms

    2021: Ramya Krishna Murthy – Essays on Platform Sponsor Scope: Implications for Ecosystem Emergence and Growth

    2020: Jie (Jerry) Yang – Strategic Categorization, Category Bundle, and Typecasting: Three Essays on Product Categorization

    2019: Shoeb Mohammad – Antecedents, Wide-Spread Consequences, and Strategic Implications of Organizational Corruption

    2018: Mekki Macaulay Abdelwahab – Determinants of Success of the Open Source Selective Revealing Strategy: Solution Knowledge Emergence

    2018: Xin (Aurora) Liu – Strategically Poised: Balancing, Learning, and Innovating in Coopetition Three Essays on the Interplay Between Competition and Cooperation

    2016: Nada Basir – Radical Institutional Innovation: A Multilevel Framework

    2015: Wan Li – Ambidexterity in Strategic Alliances: How Do Firms Manage Exploration and Exploitation Alliances? An Examination of U.S. High Technology Industries from 1985 to 2009

    2014: Mohammad Keyhani – Entrepreneurial Action and Entrepreneurial Rents

    Current PhD students in the Policy Area:

    as of Fall 2023

    • Mohammad Boroumand
    • Jueun Kim
    • Hyeonchung Henry Lee
    • Xuan Ma
    • Nudrat Mahmood
    • Qasim Saddique
    • Pouyan Tabasi Nejad
    • Diya Yang