Self-funded PhD opportunities

The Next Generation Strategist: Exploring the Competences Required for Engaging in Strategy

  • Application end date: 15th June, 2018
  • Funding Availability: Self-funded PhD students only
  • Department: Strategy, Enterprise and Innovation
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr Alan Tait; Dr Jana Ries; Professor Adrian Hopgood

Project code: BUSM4490618

Project in detail

The project aims to build on previous strategy research on the skills and experience required by strategists (Levine, Bernard & Nagel, 2017; Whittington, Yasik-Douglas, Ahn & Cailluet, 2017; Williams, Chen & Agarwal, 2017) by developing a learning-based decision support system (DSS) that identifies the key competence requirements of strategists, learning from emerging job adverts over time. In the initial stages, the project will explore the current profile of skills in recent job adverts to understand different profiles and key requirements. In collaboration with practising strategists, those skills sets will be further enhanced and validated. The core of the project will focus on designing and implementing a DSS that uses the core skills sets and enhances them over time based on newly emerging job adverts, using supervised learning techniques.

This successful candidate will develop an automated decision support system (DSS) using analytics in the context of job profile design for strategists. The study will provide the possibility to go beyond an understanding of the skills and experience requirements in isolation by developing competence profiles that combine the required skills and experience. Further to that, it will also offer the chance to gain an understanding of how those requirements differ according to the role in the organisation. Finally, the project has the potential to examine how these requirements change in real time as the business context within which strategy operates becomes increasingly turbulent. The impact of the understanding of core competences of strategists across sectors will have implications for future recruitment practices and Higher Education course design. 

You may also wish to consider the linked project, “Modelling Strategic Management with Multiple Intelligent Agents

Indicative References

  • Levine, S.S., Bernard, M., & Nagel, R. (2017). Strategic Intelligence: The Cognitive Capability to Appreciate Competitor Behavior. Strategic Management Journal, 38 (12): 2390-2423. Whittington, R, Yasik-Douglas, B., Ahn, K., & Cailluet, L. (2017).
  • Strategy Planners in More Turbulent Times: The Changing Job Characteristics of Strategy Professionals 1960-2003. Long Rang Planning, 50 (1): 108-119. Williams, C., Chen, P-L, & Agarwal, R. (2017).
  • Rookies and seasoned recruits: How experience in different levels, firms, and industries shapes strategic renewal in top management. Strategic Management Journal, 38 (7): 13791-1415.

Supervisor Profiles

Dr Alan Tait

Dr Jana Ries

Professor Adrian Hopgood

Entry requirements

You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (depending upon chosen course, minimum second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0. 

Specific candidate requirements 

  • Background in business and management
  • Competency in data analysis, text analytics or a related subject.
  • Excellent interpersonal and organisational skills 


Informal enquiries are encouraged and can be made to Dr Alan Tait at (02392 844429) or Dr. Jana Ries at (02392 844023).

For administrative and admissions enquiries please contact

How to Apply

You can apply online at  You are required to create an account which gives you the flexibility to save the form, log out and return to it at any time convenient to you. A link to the online application form and comprehensive guidance notes can be found at

Start date: 1st October 2018

Application deadline:  15th June 2018

Interview date: week commencing 25th June 2018

When applying please note the project code – BUSM4490618

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