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Postgraduate research at Henley Business School

International Business and Strategy PhD Opportunities

At a glance

  • 50 years experience of teaching and research in International Business
  • Attend the Henley International Business Masterclasses
  • Learn from leading research centres
  • Option to gain a Double PhD with Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI)
  • Join an internationally-renowned faculty
Subject area(s)
3 years
Programme Director
Davide castellani 397 3 Davide Castellani 75e5pfi5e
Professor Davide Castellani


This PhD programme will offer you the opportunity undertake original and business relevant research in International Business and Strategy. In this programme you will develop your critical thinking, intellectual capacity and creativity. Our postgraduate research students are drawn from all over the world. You will benefit from a dynamic research environment and supervision from internationally renowned faculty, dedicated support and outstanding facilities.

For over 50 years we have stood at the forefront of teaching and research in International Business. We continue to help define the research agenda in the field as well as in International Business History and International Human Resource Management. High quality teaching spans a broad range of programmes and focuses on critical developments in international business. Also on organisations’ strategic response to these developments.

As a part of the PhD in International Business and Strategy, we offer Henley International Business Masterclasses. We provide these intensive courses on current debates and conceptual issues in International Business to give you broader learning opportunities. Each masterclass offers the opportunity to engage in key International Business topics taught by notable intellectual figures in the field.

Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI)

Alongside the PhD in International Business and Strategy, we offer a Double PhD with the Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering (DIG) at POLIMI. POLIMI has a strong commitment to the excellence, distinctiveness and relevance of its teaching and research activities. The Doctoral Program at POLIMI is highly international and PhD graduates are held in high esteem. Not only in academia, but also in public institutions and companies where their research qualifications are increasingly demanded. More information on POLIMI can be found here.

This four-year programme allows you to spend a period of normally six-nine months at Politecnico di Milano, when enrolled at Henley. You will benefit from joint supervision by one member of faculty from each institution throughout your career. There will be one oral examination (“Viva”) and one thesis to be submitted for the Double PhD Programme. If you’re interested in applying for this programme, you should clearly mention it in your PhD application.

Leading research centres

Henley Business School’s research in International Business and Strategy is driven through centres that are at the forefront of research. This includes the John H. Dunning Centre for International Business and the Centre for International Business History.

We welcome applicants seeking to conduct postgraduate research in the following fields:

  • Business History
  • International Business
  • International Human Resource Management
  • Strategy

Please see our Research areas for more information.

The module descriptions set out on this page are correct for modules being taught in the current academic year. Optional module listings are indicative and may be subject to change.

Year 1

During your first year of studies, you will be required to:

  • Attend and obtain at least 60 credits from PhD/Masters level courses in Research Methods and other relevant courses plus a no-credit bearing course (see below);
  • Attend some short courses (2-3 hours each) required for the Reading Researcher Development Programme at the Graduate School (overseeing PhD studies within the University of Reading);
  • Attend the Preparing to Teach training programme (which is necessary to be able to complete any teaching-related activities within Henley Business School);
  • Participate in weekly research seminars organised by your Department and others relevant to your area of interest;
  • Hold regular meetings with your supervisor(s).

Required Taught Component

We have a slightly different path of taught components for students primarily using quantitative vs. qualitative research methods.

Quantitative Path

Compulsory modules Credits

This module aims to equip new PhD students with a clear understanding of the necessary requirements for obtaining a PhD at Henley Business School and at the ICMA centre.

Academic authors
Dr alfonso dufour 397 3 Alfonso Dufour 75e5pfi5e
Dr Alfonso Dufour
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module is designed for advanced Master’s students and doctoral students. It has a very high technical content. It aims to equip the students with the foundations of theoretical asset pricing and with the relevant skills for performing empirical tests. The objective of the module is to prepare students to become independent and quality researchers.

Academic authors
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Professor Marcel Prokopczuk
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to introduce students to the understanding of qualitative research, (in social science and particularly in the area of business and management studies). It is designed for students mainly using quantitative methods in their PhD studies who wish to have an introductory class in qualitative research.

Academic authors
Kleio Akrivou Updated Photo
Professor Kleio Akrivou
0 [0 ECTS credits]
20 [10 ECTS credits]

Qualitative Path

Compulsory modules Credits

The module aims to provide students with an understanding of all the issues involved in researching, preparing and writing a literature review for their thesis, together with the specific techniques and resources involved.

Academic authors
Professor peter scott 397 3 Peter Scott 75e5pfi6j
Professor Peter Scott
20 [10 ECTS credits]

The module aims to deepen students’ understanding of qualitative research, particularly in the areas of business, organisational, social and management studies.

Academic authors
Karen Jansen Staff Profile Photo 75nku62ws
Professor Karen Jansen
20 [10 ECTS credits]

The module aims to broaden students’ understanding of data analysis by providing an overview of key methods and particularly focusing on regression analysis.

Academic authors
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Dr Min Zou
0 [0 ECTS credits]
20 [10 ECTS credits]
Confirmation of Registration

In the middle of the second year, 15-18 months from the start of your PhD (see differences between departments), you will submit a substantive Research Proposal of 10,000 words that will be defended in front of Faculty members and/or assessed by independent examiners. This process will coincide with your confirmation of registration and, if successful, it will grant you the status of a PhD candidate.

The research proposal will be a significant development of the initial proposal you submitted for your application. It will include material you may have produced during the first year courses in research methods (e.g. literature review, methodologies, data description, etc.). If you plan to do a PhD thesis combining three papers, you are expected to include a draft of the first paper in your research proposal. Alternatively, if you intend to use a book-like structure for your thesis, the document should include the draft of at least one of the three/four key chapters.

Year 2 and 3

During your 2nd and 3rd year you will:

  • Continue to work on your PhD dissertation drafting the other two papers / key chapters;
  • Hold regular meetings with your supervisor(s);
  • Attend some short courses (2-3 hours each) required for the Reading Researcher Development Programme at the Graduate School;
  • Participate in weekly research seminars organised by your Department and others relevant to your area of interest;
  • Contribute to Business School and Departmental teaching/research activities and events;
  • Present posters/papers at national/international conferences;

Your thesis should be completed before your viva examination at the end of your third or fourth year (4 years is the maximum registration period according to the University rules).

*The module or course content descriptions set out on this page are correct for those being taught in the current academic year. Modules or course content marked as optional are indicative and may be subject to change. Please note, constraints in timetable scheduling may mean you are unable to take some optional modules at the same time as others.

How Henley careers can help you?

We have an award-winning careers team here to support you through your time at Henley and 4 years after graduating.

Henley Careers and Professional Development run numerous events throughout the autumn and spring terms to help you gain industry experience. These events are aimed to enhance your professional development and network with employers. We also offer one-to-one career coaching appointments where you can talk to a Careers Consultant about your professional development. This may include planning your ideal career journey or building confidence in a particular area. It could also involve practicing for interviews or having your CV checked.

For more information please see our Careers page.

Continuing your career

A PhD in the area of International Business and Strategy from Henley can open doors to a highly successful career. This includes academia, in large multinationals, leading consulting firms and governmental and non-governmental organisations worldwide.

What our students have gone on to do
  • Steve Altman, Senior Research Scholar, New York University
  • Tom Buckley, Lecturer in International Business Strategy, University of Sheffield
  • Eko Budi Harjo, Faculty Member, Telekom Corporate University, Indonesia
  • Pattana Buonchoo, Assistant Professor, Thammasat University
  • Maggie Cooper, Lecturer in Management Accounting, Henley Business School
  • Chipoong Kim, Senior Researcher at Samsung Economic Research Institute
  • Sylvia Kim, Assistant Professor of Accounting, Fresno Pacific University
  • Jongmin Lee, Lecturer in International Business and Strategy, Henley Business School
  • Sirinuch Loykulnanta, Lecturer Prince of Songkla University, Thailand
  • Quyen Nguyen, Associate Professor of International Business and Strategy, Henley Business School
  • Karina Pavlisa, Teaching Fellow, Henley Business School
  • Ziyi Wei, Lecturer in Chinese Studies, University of Sheffield

Research Proposal

A key element of the application is a research proposal. Guidance on writing the research proposal can be found here. It is important that the applicant spends some time exploring the research that we are involved in to see if it fits alongside their own. Below are the main research areas of our staff.

Research Interest and faculty: International Business and Strategy

International Business:

  • Theories of MNE; Economic analysis of supply chains: Professor Mark Casson
  • Firms’ internationalisation choices, innovation, and economic performances; MNEs location decisions; MNEs and the cities: Professor Davide Castellani
  • Strategic leadership of the multinational enterprise. Micro-level antecedents of international business strategy. Executive careers, turnover and pay: Dr Peder Greve
  • Foreign direct investment, local labour markets and educational choices; Global Value Chains and human capital development; Emerging market MNEs’ internationalisation strategies: Jose Eduardo Ibarra Olivo
  • International management; staffing strategy; knowledge management; Regional diversification; Headquarters and subsidiary relationships; Emerging market MNEs: Dr Jongmin Lee
  • The role of MNEs in development, innovation and industrial policy; R&D alliances; Outsourcing: Professor Rajneesh Narula
  • Multinational subsidiary strategy and performance: Dr Quyen Nguyen
  • Internalization theory and its applications to a wide variety of international business phenomena, such as the internationalization of family firms, the creation of subsidiary specific advantage, the impact of regional integration on entry mode choices, the growth of emerging economy multinational enterprises, the rise of international new ventures: Professor Alain Verbeke
  • Value co-creation with suppliers; Business unit strategy using a capabilities-based perspective: Professor Marc Day
Research Interest and faculty: International Human Resource Management
  • International and comparative human resource management; new technology and work; international mobility: Professor Chris Brewster
  • International HRM strategy of MNE’s; transferring HRM practice across countries in MNEs; knowledge creation and sharing in MNEs: International experiences and subsidiary staffing: Dr Chul Chung
  • Alternative work arrangements; Flexible working practices; International human resource management and links with attitudes, behaviour and performance: Dr Rita Fontinha
  • Strategic HRM and the processes that hinder/facilitate employee-organisation relationship; Individual interpretations and reactions to HRM practices, strategic management of human capital, well-being, counterproductive work behaviours, workplace justice, trust and leadership: Dr Charmi Patel
  • International Human Resource Management, Expatriation, Migration, Social Status, Diversity & Inclusion: Washika Haak-Saheem
Research Interest and faculty: Business History

Professor Chris Brewster

Professor of International Human Resources Management

Professor Mark Casson

Professor of Economics

Dr Chul Chung

Associate Professor in International Human Resource Management

Professor Davide Castellani

Professor of International Business

Dr Peder Greve

Associate Professor in International Business

Dr Rita Fontinha

Associate Professor of International Business and Strategy

Dr Washika Haak-Saheem

Associate Professor in Human Resource Management

Dr J. Eduardo Ibarra-Olivo

Lecturer in International Business & Strategy

Dr Joe Lane

Lecturer in Strategy

Professor Peter Miskell

Professor of International Business and Media History

Professor Rajneesh Narula

Director of the John H. Dunning Centre for International Business (stakeholder engagement)

Professor Lucy Newton

Professor in Business History

Dr Quyen Nguyen

Associate Professor in International Business and Strategy

Dr Charmi Patel

Associate Professor in the International Human Resource Management

Professor Peter Scott

Professor of International Business History

Prof James T Walker

Head of International Business and Strategy

The Henley International Business Masterclasses are an initiative developed in the International Business and Strategy unit at Henley Business School. We provide these intensive courses on current debates and conceptual issues in International Business to give broader learning opportunities to PhD students and post-doctoral researchers. Each masterclass offers the opportunity to engage in key International Business topics taught by notable intellectual figures in the field.

The masterclasses are delivered in two sets each academic year, in the Autumn and Spring session.

Masterclasses Modules:

Autumn Term:

Spring Term:

For more information about upcoming masterclasses and application process is available here.

To find details about our previous Masterclasses click here

“The International Business Masterclasses provide an incredible platform to Ph.D. students from all over the world to understand the finest nuances of key theories of International Business and how the contemporary issues are making it imperative to revisit these theories thereby providing an opportunity to push the boundaries of IB as a field of study. Attending both the modules, Strategy and International Business taught by Prof. Alain Verbeke, and the Economics of International Business by Prof. Mark Casson and Prof. Gabriel Benito has immensely added to my knowledge of the subject and helped me develop a more holistic perspective on my ongoing Ph.D. research work. The classes are very well-structured and designed in a manner to allow free flow of discussion among the participants and with the professors. All the professors were very committed to understand and resolve the queries raised by the participants. The module on strategy and international business included students’ presentations of their current research and provided an excellent opportunity to take critical feedback from professors as well as the peers. Besides the academic content, masterclasses are a wonderful forum of meeting and developing network with fellow researches across the globe. I am extremely grateful to the organizers at the Henley Business School, University of Reading for giving us this opportunity and especially to Jana Oslejova for her exceptional assistance, support, and hospitality. She has been excellent in her job and pivotal in the running of the Masterclasses. Finally, my heartfelt thanks to the organizers for selecting me for the Alan Rugman Scholarship and Mrs. Helen Rugman to fund the same. It was an absolute honor to meet the very gentle lady, Mrs. Helen Rugman, and receive the award and attendance certificate directly from her. The masterclasses are the powerhouse of invaluable learning and meeting people with similar intellectual pursuits, because of which I strongly recommend them to every aspiring International Business Scholar and/or researcher.”
Rishika Nayyar, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, PhD Candidate, November 2018

Contact us

If you have any questions, please contact Jana Oslejova

Telephone: +44 (0) 118 378 7667

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