More than a PhD: Doctorate program rises above the competition

Seyedreza Mousavi came a long way for the information systems (IS) doctorate program. When he was considering a PhD from Iran and looking at different programs, he contacted faculty members in the W. P. Carey program to find out about their research interests, to learn what topics they study, and hear about the methods they use. He was pleasantly surprised to learn the department is big enough to allow for a diverse range of research topics and methods.

“These faculty members know what they’re doing,” Mousavi says. “They’ve done highly impactful studies that have been published in leading journals. That’s an important factor.”

Providing a one-two-three-four punch

Award-winning research and top-notch faculty is just the tip of the iceberg. These benefits, coupled with good placement rates, and a high-ranking department, are producing exemplary PhD students like Mousavi, who graduated from the doctorate program in 2016. The information systems doctorate program is quickly becoming one of the best in the world.

New rankings put the Department of Information Systems in the top 15, according to U.S. News & World Report. The website ranks the department eighth in the world for research productivity for work done in the past three years. And the W. P. Carey School of Business, overall, ranks in the top 25 according to U.S. News & World Report.

The rankings speak for themselves and attract PhD students from around the world to take part in the five-year program at W. P. Carey. The goal is to have students in the program published in leading research journals before graduation and to place the graduates at top research institutions to continue meaningful research, says PhD Program Director Yili (Kevin) Hong.

“One unique aspect of our department is that we have faculty with diverse backgrounds in topics and methodology, allowing students to be exposed to different types of research,” Hong says. “And we have numerous top scholars in the field. Some faculty members are editors at top business journals.”

Preparing students to spread their wings

Information systems is always at the forefront of trends, and its reach can be found everywhere, says Mousavi. After graduating in 2016, Mousavi spread his knowledge as an assistant professor of business information systems and operations management and an assistant professor of data science and business analytics at the Belk College of Business at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In his research, he focuses on the societal impact of social media and information systems, which touches all sectors, including politics, health care, environment, and economy.

While the success of their research is up to the PhD students, faculty advisors provide excellent support, says graduate Irfan Kanat.

Kanat, who is from Turkey, came to W. P. Carey to pursue his open source software research interests when he learned all he could in the doctorate program at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. He found the IS doctorate program at W. P. Carey to be unique because the faculty and staff in the program are committed to the students’ success. Kanat says students are seen as colleagues and treated with respect.

“While they pushed us toward excellence, they provided the support we needed,” he says. “Obtaining a PhD is a grueling process, but the support of the program made it bearable. ASU gave me the freedom to pursue my research interests and a great environment to pursue them in,” he says.

After graduating with his PhD in the summer of 2016, Kanat began teaching and conducting research at Ohio University, for which the W. P. Carey program prepared him.

Navigating the next stage of academics

Placing graduates in top research institutions is the primary goal of the IS doctorate program. A career in academics allows graduates to publish original research findings and to teach university students, says Hong, who oversees and provides guidance to all the PhD students in the department, as well as coordinates and evaluates the students’ presentations and first- and second-year papers. Typically, doctorate program applicants have a background in information systems, computer science, economics, and psychology.

Top journal editorial appointments

Information Systems Research:

  • Raghu Santanam, Senior Editor
  • Pei-yu Chen, Associate Editor
  • Yili (Kevin) Hong, Associate Editor

MIS Quarterly:

  • Bin Gu, Senior Editor

Management Science:

  • Pei-yu Chen, Associate Editor

Recent top journal publications resulting from faculty-student collaboration

  • Baird, A., Miller C., Raghu, T. S., Sinha, R. K. (2016) “Product Line Extension in Consumer Software Markets in the Presence of Free Alternatives.” Information Systems Research, 27(2):282-301.
  • Steinbart, P.J., Keith, M., and Babb, J. (2016) “Examining the Continuance of Secure Behavior: A Longitudinal Field Study of Mobile Device Authentication,” Information Systems Research 27(2): 219-239.
  • Kanat, I., Hong, Y., Raghu, T. S. (2017) “Surviving in Global Online Labor Markets for IT Services: A Geo-economic Analysis,” Information Systems Research, Forthcoming
  • Chen, P., Hong, Y., Liu, Y. (2017) “The Value of Multi-dimensional Rating Systems: Evidence from a Natural Experiment and Randomized Experiments,” Management Science, Forthcoming
  • Huang, N., Burtch, G., Gu, B., Hong, Y., Liang, C., Wang, K., Fu, D., Yang, B. (2017) “Motivating User-Generated Content with Performance Feedback: Evidence from Randomized Field Experiments,” Management Science, Forthcoming
  • Mousavi, R., Gu, B. (2018) “The Impact of Twitter Adoption on Lawmakers’ Voting Orientations”, Information Systems Research, Forthcoming

Learn more about the PhD program, including the plan of study and research paper practices, as well as application materials and deadlines.

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