PhD Project

PhD Project – Helping Your Department to Support Young Scholars 

Celeste Diaz Ferraro, PhD Candidate, Penn State University
Alexander Lewis, PhD Candidate, University of Texas, San Antonio 

Since 2016, on the first Friday of the annual AOM conference, the two of us have attended the PhD Project’s MDSA banquet. The highlight of this gathering is the capping ceremony, in which underrepresented minorities receiving their PhD’s in management walk across a stage to receive honorary caps. They walk to the boisterous applause of 200 minority management scholars and dozens of guests, and for those of us still slogging through our programs, this image is an uplifting one, especially as many of us are the only underrepresented minority in our respective programs.
A recent discussion on AOM@Connect highlighted the ongoing challenge of fostering an inclusive climate that supports the recruitment and scholarly success of women and minority scholars in the Academy. As ENT members and PhD Project scholars, we appreciate the opportunity to raise the attention to one of AOM’s important diversity partners and share two excellent venues where ENT members may recruit potential doctoral students and establish scholarly relationships with current doctoral candidates who will soon enter the market.
The PhD Project ( is an organization dedicated to increasing workplace diversity by increasing the diversity of business school faculty who encourage, mentor, support and enhance the preparation of tomorrow’s leaders. When the PhD Project began in 1994, there were just 294 minority business school professors in the U.S. Today, that number has quintupled to over 1,490 with close to 300 minority doctoral students currently working toward becoming new faculty.
As participants in the 2018 ENT doctoral consortium and many other ENT sessions, we know the value ENT members place on entrepreneurial experience and on scholarly excellence. The vast majority of PhD Project scholars come to academia with significant corporate or entrepreneurial experience, in part due to the PhD Project’s screening and recruitment for its annual pre-doctoral conference in Chicago. Each fall, hundreds of African American, Hispanic and Native American professionals are given an intensive introduction to the professoriate while networking with current doctoral students, business school representatives, professors and sponsor organizations, all in one place. The reality check delivered in the pre-doctoral conference, combined with PhD Project’s mentoring and professional development networks supporting students throughout the doctoral experience, result in a completion rate over 90% (compared to a 70% national average).
In addition to participating in the pre-doctoral conference, AOM members frequently facilitate scholarly and professional development sessions during the annual Management Doctoral Student Association (MDSA) conference a few days before the start of each AOM annual meeting. These sessions often lead to fruitful collaborations for both students and faculty. If diversity is something ENT takes seriously, and we believe it does, the PhD Project is a willing ally. Faculty and departments interested in becoming more involved with PhD Project activities may contact Executive Director Tara Perino at or Outreach Manager Cristina Pazos at


Executive Director: 
Tara Perino at

Outreach Manager:

Cristina Pazos at