PhD Program

Key Differentiators of PhD program: Full funding for five years. Freedom to choose an advisor. Unparalleled student-faculty ratio -- only ~5 students/year with 18 faculty. Close mentorship of each student by the division. Rigorous coursework. Cutting edge interdisciplinary research. Unrivaled placements in academia (Stanford, Kellogg, Wharton, Duke, ...) and industry (sharing economy platforms, consulting, quantitative trading, ...).

Apply here (Deadline: December 31, 2020)

The Doctoral Program in Decision, Risk, and Operations (DRO) at Columbia Business School is designed to lead a small group of outstanding students to successful research careers in academia and industry. Our recent graduates are faculty members at institutions such as Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Kellogg, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Duke, and NYU, as well as in leading research and development positions in industry.

The Decision, Risk, and Operations Division is a world leader in research in quantitative, data-driven decision-making through the use of modeling, optimization and the management of uncertainty, and all the other aspects of the operations and analytics functions in firms. Application areas in which the division has strong expertise include revenue management; logistics, distribution and supply-chain management; resource networks and service systems; healthcare operations; marketplace design; quantitative finance, modern market microstructure, and risk management; econometrics; and business analytics. For more information on research areas, visit the DRO Research page.

Our students having the opportunity to work with faculty who are leaders in the field; having top editorial positions, and regularly honored with society awards and recognitions. The DRO division consists of roughly 20 faculty members and 20 PhD students in total (with 4-5 students in each year), and as a result, our students benefit from close mentorship by the faculty advisor(s) they choose. Moreover, our weekly internal Brown Bag seminar gives students the opportunity to regularly present their research to the entire division and receive feedback.

Our students’ work has been consistently recognized as finalists and winners of society awards such as M&SOM Student Paper Competition, George Nicholson Student Paper Competition, George B. Dantzig Dissertation Award, etc. Most recently, our student Wenqi Hu was a finalist in the 2017 MSOM student paper competition and a runner up in the 2017 Pierskalla Best paper competition for her work with Profs. Carri Chan and Jose Zubizarreta.

2018-19 Placement

News: DRO PhD students accept faculty positions at UCLA, UNC, and Imperial College London.

Francisco Castro

Francisco Castro: DRO PhD student Francisco Castro accepted a faculty position at UCLA Anderson School of Management. He will be part of the Decisions, Operations and Technology Management (DOTM) area. Francisco was advised by Profs. Omar Besbes, Ilan Lobel and Gabriel Weintraub.

Zhe Liu

Zhe Liu: DRO PhD student Zhe Liu accepted a faculty position at Imperial College Business School. He will join the Analytics and Operations Management group. Zhe was advised by Profs. Awi Federgruen and Costis Maglaras.

Fei Long

Fei Long: DRO PhD student Fei Long accepted a faculty position in Marketing at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Fei was advised by Prof. Kinshuk Jerath.

Academia Alumni Spotlight

Daniela Saban

Daniela Saban (DRO '15)
Assistant Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Santiago Balseiro

Santiago Balseiro (DRO '13)
Associate Professor, Columbia Business School
Previously: Assistant Professor, Duke Fuqua School of Business

Industry Alumni Spotlight

Bar Ifrach

Bar Ifrach (DRO '12)
Head of Marketplace, Uber Freight
Previously: Postdoc at Stanford

Wei Ke

Wei Ke (DRO '09)
Managing Partner, Simon-Kucher & Partners


Admission to the program is highly competitive. All applicants are required to have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent, representing a four-year course of study in an accredited college or university. Superior academic performance is expected, and a strong background and ability in mathematics are essential for successful completion of the program. Applicants are strongly encouraged to take the GRE rather than the GMAT. The program is full-time only and is typically completed in five years.


Admitted students are awarded a four-year fellowship that covers their tuition and fees and provides a monthly stipend. (Students have the freedom to find their advisor.) During the course of their PhD career, students can receive supplemental support as teaching and/or research assistants. Funding for the fifth year is merit based and determined by the Department.

Summer Internship and Research Assistantship

Key Differentiators: Opportunity to support cutting edge research of renowned faculty and gain valuable experience. Segue to top PhD programs including our own. Stipend/salary provided.

Summer Internship: If you are two or three years away from finishing your bachelor's or master's, you can apply here. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Research Assistantship: Apply for this two year position at here. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Related Links

Degree Requirements →

Apply Here →


Recent Placements →