First Year Exam Guidelines


The first-year exam is given to allow students to demonstrate their competency in the Economic, Sociological and Psychological Foundations of Management Research as well as Management Research Methods after completing the first year of classes. The exam is scheduled in the first-half of May.

The exam is designed and graded jointly by the instructors of MGMT 900, 933 and 953. The reading list for the exam is the joint syllabi for the three classes. All required readings from the syllabi are included even if they were not discussed in detail during class. Some instructors may choose to include optional readings as well.

The written component of the exam contains multiple questions. Students are typically required to answer certain questions and may be provided optional elections among other questions. Students are given two 6-8 hour periods over a 2-3 day window to complete their written responses. The exam is open book / open notes and is delivered and returned via email to the doctoral administrative coordinator. Students should not disclose their identities on the exams; they will be provided with a unique identification number from the doctoral administrative coordinator to facilitate blind-grading. Throughout the duration of each exam period, students are not permitted to discuss exam content with anyone except to clarify questions with the instructor (provided s/he is available).

In assessing answers, instructors will look first for clear evidence that the student has seriously engaged each question answered, without neglecting any part. Beyond that, instructors will look for evidence that the student has absorbed and internalized the intellectual substance of the course material, and has actively used that understanding in addressing the question. Various questions on the exam will be designed to test ability to (1) show knowledge in each of the subdomains; (2) integrate, compare, contrast and discuss theoretical arguments within the economic, sociological and psychological foundations of management; (2) integrate, compare, contrast and discuss theoretical arguments spanning economics, sociology and psychology; and (3) demonstrate an understanding of the philosophy and design of different methodological approaches to test these theoretical arguments.

The instructors grant either a pass, a conditional pass, or a fail on the exam. “Pass” means that the student has demonstrated his/her competency on the entire exam. “Conditional pass” means that the student needs a limited amount of remedial work; in this case, the instructors will require some additional writing on one or more components of the exam due within a maximum of two weeks. “Fail” means that the student has demonstrated serious deficiencies on one or more components of the exam; in this case, the instructors will indicate that either the entire exam or some components must be retaken and passed before July 31 in order for the student to retain good standing.