decisions decisions


im currently an MBA student at Manchester Metropolitan uni. Im looking towards doing a PHD in management learning and leadership as I am a performance consultant and HR Trainer. my question is which school to choose for my program. one of my professors says Manchester metro would be the best as its geared towards professionals. I have already short-listed Lancaster university and bath university. I know a prof from Lancaster university who is moving to University Campus Suffolk, and has offered to supervise me there. he says It is jointly owned by Universities of East Anglia and Essex, both on a par with Lancaster in terms of status. so what do you guys think. which school should i go for


Hi Jabu,

how about doing the one in Manchester?

Reading your story that may be the best option, I mean you indicate that you are doing your MBA down there already, I presume you work down there as well and you indicate that it a good school for professionals like you.

Why would you make life difficult and make a lot of changes (move house? move job? move university?) if that is not required?


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University Campus Suffolk, although owned by, is a different institution from the University of East Anglia and the University of Essex. This might seem crass but a PhD from University Campus Suffolk might not be seen as being of the same 'worth' of a PhD from the University of East Anglia or the University of Essex.

Management learning at Lancaster University seems to be held in high regard as it was the first department of its kind and founded the journal of the same name.

As you are looking to study in a Business / Management School it might be best to use the FT rankings as a guide: This ranks Lancaster University quite high. It also ranks The University of Manchester (not Manchester Metropolitan University) highly.

If you wanted more information - PM me.


Yes I did my research and Lancaster is ranked 5th and Manchester metro 17th. But Manchester argue that if I'm aiming for a career in the private sector and not academia, then it's best to stick with them. Campus of suffolk is owned by Exeter and anglia and if you do a phd through them, the phd will be issued by Exeter or anglia depending on were your team of supervisors is based and this is confirmed on their website (campus of Suffolk) and of course both those schools are highly ranked research wise. in all honesty I do favour Lancaster quite a bit, but also appreciate that it's not easy to find a supervisor for your specific area and he only prof from there that I know, and he is leaving and going to campus of Suffolk. On a different note, how do you guys rate Manchester metro in terns of reputation? Also they are the only uni that has a phd or research affiliation with cpd, I know that most universities have a relationship with cps, but it ends at masters level



the most important thing about undertaking a doctorate is the quality and experience of your supervisor and the relationship that you are able to develop with him/her. The next is the amount of effort and hard yards you yourself put into the work, and how your ideas develop and your knowledge and capability grows.
These are much more important than the "ranking" of the institution. I have supervised over 40 doctorates to completion based both in "top rated" departments and also in some departments that are "rated" much more modestly,and my doctoral students got the same time and attention in each case, regardless of the "rating" of the institution, and many of my successful former students now occupy University Professorships and Deanships. In fact I have sometimes taken over doctoral candidates from more highly "rated" places where their supervision has been inadequate because their highly "rated" Prof or hotshot young researcher has had too little time and effort to give them.

In practice you may be much better off in a smaller, younger and more energetic school than one in which because there are so many doctoral students  you get lost in the crowd. On the other hand it may be in a larger school that you get good support from your peers. That can also be important because doing a doctorate can be a long, lonely haul. Remember also that there is a time lag in these "rankings" and they relate to data that can be up to five years old. Schools that were in the Top Division then could in reality be in League Two now and vice versa.

So look at the background, experience and motivation of your potential supervisor first and foremost and bother less about the standing of the institution in terms of "ratings". If you are so bothered about the " ratings", maybe ask yourself what is your real motivation for undertaking a doctorate. If it is just to get a job ticket, why not study Accounting or Law?
Remember the Bedouin proverb, "the high-road to power is through the palace, the path to riches is through the Souk, but the winding track to wisdom lies through the desert".
Whatever you choose, and in what level of "rated" place, I hope your wishes will be fulfilled, and remember that you will have to do the research and write the thesis yourself and the "rating" of the institution won't complete a single paragraph for you.
Old Lag