The most important requirements involve who you are. To undertake doctoral studies you must be self-directed, motivated, and highly disciplined.

“HBS is a place for doctoral students who are self-driven, who can capitalize on the resources and access to companies the School provides. HBS is a place where self-starters can really thrive.”

— Professor Michael Norton

Our doctoral students represent diverse backgrounds, degrees, undergraduate schools, and disciplines, including physics, economics, psychology, and engineering. Some students enter our doctoral programs upon graduation from college, while others spend a few years working before they pursue a career in business academia. All students in our doctoral programs have strong quantitative and analytical skills, as demonstrated by their records of academic performance and test scores.

When considering the pursuit of a doctorate, ask yourself, do I possess:


You must have passion for knowledge and research, for developing new ideas and paradigms.

Independence & Collaborative Nature

Scholarly pursuit requires both the ability to work alone and to engage collaboratively with other doctoral students and faculty

Communication Skills

You must be able to communicate your findings to your peers, mentors, and the business world.

Fundamental Knowledge & Understanding

Although there are no required courses to begin a doctoral program at HBS, you should have a strong grasp of the fundamentals of mathematics and statistics, and a good understanding of the basic principles of your chosen field

Credentials, leadership, potential

You must hold exemplary academic credentials, superior leadership qualities, and the potential to do outstanding research.