#22. Best PhD Universities in France for management studies.

In the post “how to choose a PhD university“, we have seen 2 metrics–course structure and funding–that are important to evaluate a PhD university. Continuing on this line, I will share the best business schools in France for doing a management PhD. Let us deep-dive into their funding and course structure in this post. If you are looking for the best universities in Spain, check out the post “Best PhD universities in Spain“.

  1. INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France

Course Structure

The total duration of the PhD programme is 5 years. In years 1 and 2, students will explore research areas, do coursework, and write field comprehensive exams. In years 3,4 and 5, the proposal, submission, and defence of the dissertation takes place. Other skills development activities such as PhD teaching preparation, teaching practicum, soft skills training, participation in conferences etc. will be conducted throughout the programme. INSEAD offers 8 areas of specialisation–Accounting, Decision Sciences, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing, Organisation behaviour, Strategy, and Technology. The summary paragraph written under each specialisation captures the essence of each discipline and is easy to understand for anyone who wants to get an overview. The programme also provides opportunities for campus exchanges.


INSEAD offers fellowship to all admitted students that cover 100% tuition fees–65000 euros. In addition to that, students will get an annual stipend of 32000 euros to manage living expenses, 2000 euros to cover research and conference budgets, and an international comprehensive health insurance package that covers student, spouse and child. As per my research, INSEAD offers the best funding for the PhD program in Europe and no wonder, it is ranked within the top 10 business schools of Europe in all reports.

2. HEC Paris, France

Course Structure

The HEC PhD program is structured into 2 phases: Research master in management science and Doctoral studies. In the first two years, students will focus on 4 areas: research foundation, research methods, research thesis, and professional development. During the doctoral phase, students prepare and defend their dissertation. Academic conferences and research visits are encouraged in the doctoral phase where students move out of HEC to present their research works. Overall, the total duration of the program is 5 years.


Since the admissions are selective, all PhD students will get 4 benefits: 1) 5-year cost of living scholarship, 2) a full tuition waiver, 3) financial support to conference visits, research visiting positions, and job market events, 4) Additional financial support for specific research needs. The cost of a living scholarship is 23000 euros per year and is not tied with teaching/research assistant (TA/RA) jobs. So, doing a TA/RA job is an additional income for PhD students.

3. Grenoble Ecole de Management, Grenoble, France

Course Structure

The duration of the PhD program is 5 years. It is divided into 2 phases: Training in research (years 1 and 2) and Dissertation work (years 3 to 5). In phase 1, students receive extensive training in state-of-the-art research techniques through courses, seminars, and joint research projects with faculty members. In phase 2, students will choose a PhD supervisor and two committee members who will give guidance on dissertation work. In this phase, students devote their full time to prepare, submit and defend their dissertation.


All admitted students will receive a 100% tuition waiver. They are treated as a regular employee with an annually renewable contract pending performance evaluation. So, the salary covers the monthly living expenses of the student. The exact amount is not specified.

In summary, I have shortlisted the 3 best business schools in France based on funding and course structure. Out of which, my first preference is INSEAD.

Thanks for reading the full article. I hope you agree with my selection. If I left out any major business schools with PhD options in France, please share them in the comments section.

Published by Portgas D. V

I am a self-motivated person who likes to explore different themes of lifestyle. In the process, I enjoy guiding my inner psychic energy for the betterment of self. When I am free, I would like to read and listen. My long term goal is to become a good writer.

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