Research track

Research track for Master students

Everybody knows Google’s “20% time” rule, where employees can spend one day per week learning new skills, working on their pet projects, and having the freedom to launch initiatives of their own.

Now, imagine that level of freedom for your career, but five days a week instead of just one.

In academia, the visible tip of the iceberg --the one students are the most familiar with-- is that ESSEC faculty teach courses. However, outside the classrooms, a faculty’s time is largely dedicated to research. In a world where immediacy and speed are paramount, and everything seems rushed, research faculty are given the luxury of time to study the world, explore business problems in-depth, and recommend innovative solutions.

Academic research is a rewarding path for students who are self-driven, hard-working, and wish to work in-depth on interesting research topics. While highly competitive, a career in academia can be fulfilling and intellectually stimulating and provides a level of freedom and independence that few professions offer.

To embrace an academic career, however, a key requirement is that the candidate must hold a Ph.D. or a Doctorate. The Research Track in the Master in Management program is a path to embark on that journey.


The aim of this track is to promote a career in academic research and encourage students to pursue a Ph.D., either at ESSEC Business School or in a different institution. The track is designed to coach students and help them apply to the best Ph.D. programs in the world (including the one at ESSEC) and give them a head start in their Ph.D. journey.


The research track offers seven different concentrations and many more specializations, mimicking the structure of the Ph.D. program at ESSEC. Please visit this page for an overview


Students apply to the track no later than 12 months prior to fulfilling their graduation requirements and no earlier than 24 months prior to that same deadline. When they apply, students are invited to send the following documents to the Coordinator: (1) a motivation letter, (2) their resume, (3) their course transcripts, and (4) their results to GMAT or GRE tests, if available.

Research advisor

With the help and guidance of the Coordinator, the student needs to secure the involvement of a Research Advisor (a research-active ESSEC faculty) who agrees to work with the student on a research project of shared interest to both parties.


Students need to validate three courses at the Ph.D. level or equivalent. The courses are selected from the standard Ph.D. student roadmap in their selected concentration, with the help and guidance of the Coordinator and Research Advisor. The UV will be registered as equivalence and will count toward the total number of UV students needed to validate to graduate in the Master in Management program.

Research projects

Students need to validate two independent research projects under the supervision of their Research Advisor. The UV will be registered as equivalence and will count toward the total number of UV students needed to graduate in the Master in Management program. Please see “personal research projects” in the Master Student Guide for more details.


The students in the Research Track will also attend a seminar (one afternoon) where they will be coached about the requirements to apply to a Ph.D. Program (ESSEC or otherwise), the pros and cons of an academic career, what makes a good file or motivation letter, how to select a good Ph.D. program in their field, etc.

Research seminars

Students accepted in the research track will be invited to attend research seminars and research events organized by their concentration. Attendance is encouraged but not required.

Key information on the track

Research Track

Number of mandatory courses



3 UV

Number of mandatory personal research projects



2 UV

Total number of credits (UV) required for the Track graduation

5 UV


Contact information

Coordinator: Arnaud DE BRUYN, ESSEC Professor and Associate Dean for the Ph.D. Program
Assistant: Christine GIL - 01 34 43 30 85 - Office: N309

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