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Jingjing Zhang and Matt Cain
From left: Tina Davis, Antonio Macias, and Kelly Felty at the 2005 PhD Project Conference in Chicago

PhD Project yields more diverse doctoral candidates

Krannert’s participation in a national initiative to increase the number of African American, Hispanic American, and Native American business school faculty is attracting a more diverse pool of doctoral program applicants.

Launched in 1994, the PhD Project provides a network of peer support for underrepresented minorities who are interested in becoming professors of accounting, finance, information systems, management, marketing, and other fields of business.

About the PhD Project

To increase the diversity of business school faculty by attracting African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans to business doctoral programs and providing support during their doctoral programs.


  • To increase the number of minority business professors who can function as role models and mentors;
  • To influence more minorities to pursue business degrees/careers;
  • To increase the number of qualified minority applicants to fill critical positions in the business disciplines;
  • To improve the preparation of all students by allowing them to experience the richness of learning from a faculty with diverse backgrounds; and
  • To reach the goal of a better prepared and more diversified workforce to service a diversified customer base.

Krannert has been involved since the beginning, sending a number of faculty and administrators to the project’s annual conference each November, says Kelly Felty, assistant director of doctoral programs. Felty, second-year PhD candidate Antonio Macias, and Director of Diversity Initiatives Tina Davis attended the 2005 event.

Macias — the first doctoral student from the project to attend Krannert — is a member of the PhD Project Finance Doctoral Students Association (FDSA) and served on a panel at the conference. He was also the recipient of the 2005–06 Citigroup Minority Doctoral Scholarship in Finance.

“The peer support I receive through the FDSA is incredible, and I’m honored to represent Krannert,” Macias says. “What’s most rewarding is the opportunity to serve as a role model to others.”

Felty says Macias’s involvement has been equally rewarding to Krannert. “Because he’s a doctoral student himself, Antonio can connect with prospective students on a more personal level,” she says. “He’s been a valuable resource for us.”

Davis, who joined Krannert in May 2005, is also excited to be part the school’s PhD student recruiting efforts. “One of our goals at the conference was to talk to as many prospects as possible and get them to apply to our doctoral program,” she says. “I was very impressed with both the quantity and quality of candidates we met.”

The efforts made by Davis, Macias, and Felty are already yielding results. “We’ve received more than 10 applicants directly from our participation in the conference,” Felty says. “Our hope is to transition them into the program.”

The school would also like to increase the number of “homegrown” candidates who apply to the doctoral program after completing their baccalaureate studies, says Felty. One source for such applicants is Krannert’s Business Opportunity Program, which in part serves underrepresented students at both the undergraduate and master’s levels.

Like the PhD Project, Krannert’s long-term goal is to evolve students into faculty members. “We need to reflect the growing diversity of the population,” Davis says. “The PhD Project will help us target our recruitment and attract more domestic minorities to both our doctoral program and our faculty.”

— Eric Nelson




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