The PhD programme in Business at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, is currently composed of three articulations based on the location of delivery:

  • International Business School Suzhou (SIP),
  • The School of Intelligent Finance and Business (Taicang), and
  • The Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Hub (Taicang).

Each articulation of the PhD programme in Business builds on the specific focus of the School or unit in which it is delivered.


International Business School Suzhou (IBSS)

International Business School Suzhou (IBSS) is located in Suzhou Industrial Park and is one of the first Schools to have been established at XJTLU. IBSS, along with other Schools in the SIP campuses, is structured and organised based on academic fields of research, which translates into five departments: Economics, Finance, Accounting, Intelligent Operations and Marketing, and Strategic Management and Operations.

IBSS is a research-led School as reflected by the contribution of its research-active academic staff to international academic publications, as well as the growing research laboratories and centres it hosts and manages. This includes the IBSS Biometrics Laboratory, the Economics Experimental Laboratory, Centre for Fintech Studies, and Smart Mobility Analytics Centre, to name a few.

IBSS is one of 105 “Triple Crown” business schools in the world (as of 2022) as it was awarded AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA/BGA accreditations. At the same time, IBSS was also an early signatory of the UN PRIME initiative in China (Principles for Responsible Management Education).

The School of Intelligent Finance and Business (IFB)

The School of Intelligent Finance and Business (IFB) is founded on the philosophy of Syntegrative Education (SE). The University aims to reshape the future of business education by proposing SE as the response to the challenges brought by AI in the innovation-driven era. IFB is committed to combining academically rigorous education with business practice, to educate and cultivate the next generation of top international industry talents.

The PhD in Business programme at the IFB creates an innovative education mechanism with the integration of industry, education and research. The PhD features strong engagement with the industry, which can be reflected through research idea generation, data collection, and impact creation.

Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Hub (EEH)

Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Hub (EEH) is founded on the philosophy of Syntegrative Education (SE). The SE is an innovative educational model targeted to produce international high-end applied talents with profound disciplinary knowledge and practical industry attainments as well as cross-cultural leadership, management, and entrepreneurship skills. EEH is committed to harnessing SE and combining creativity and inspiration with commercial value to contribute to a growing economy.

The PhD in Business programme at the EEH seeks to train students in original research with a cross-disciplinary methodology in entrepreneurship and innovation, and to create a solid foundation for cultivating resourceful and innovative thinking for a strong knowledge foundation.

On all our programmes, PhD candidates pursue their own research projects and are jointly supervised by a team of academic staff members from both XJTLU and the University of Liverpool. The candidates will also have the opportunity to work with industry supervisors, who will be involved in providing research, guidance, and industry support. The academic and industry resources from the school will enable you to utilise both theoretical and practical methods to achieve world-changing research outcomes.

Why should I do my PhD in Business at XJTLU?

Key benefits of this PhD programme:

  • You will receive supervision from a team of experts with world-class academic publications in leading academic journals;
  • Our PhD programme equips you with a range of professional skills to maximise your future employability;
  • Our supervisors will guide you through one of the most intellectually satisfying experiences of your life;
  • During the programme, there will be opportunities to work as a teaching assistant and develop fundamental academic and professional skills; and
  • As a registered full-time PhD student, you have the opportunity to apply for a research visit to the University of Liverpool for up to six months. Your accommodation and travel costs will be covered by XJTLU and the University of Liverpool.

Research areas in International Business School Suzhou (IBSS)

The main research areas in IBSS include (but are not limited to):

Department of Finance:

  • asset pricing and financial markets
  • corporate finance
  • corporate governance
  • green finance and climate finance
  • financial technology (fintech)

Department of Economics:

  • environmental economics
  • energy economics and resource economics
  • experimental economics and game theory
  • economics of money and banking
  • development economics, regional economics, and international economics
  • housing markets
  • FDI and innovation
  • econometrics

Department of Intelligent Operations and Marketing:

  • marketing
  • supply chain management and logistics management
  • information management and information systems
  • project management

Department of Strategic Management and Organizations:

  • strategy and law
  • human resource management
  • innovation and entrepreneurship

Department of Accounting:

  • accounting and digitalisation
  • accounting, taxation, and financial management
  • auditing, accountability, and sustainability
  • accounting, organisations and institutions

Research areas in the Entrepreneur College (Taicang)

The research areas in the Entrepreneur College (Taicang) include (but are not limited to):

School of Intelligent Finance and Business:

Intelligent Business and Marketing

  • Digital marketing and intelligent business (for example, how developments in location-based technology, Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence affect marketing efforts)
  • Social media marketing (such as word of mouth) and content management and their interactions with a firm’s financial performance
  • Enhancing business-to-business marketing performance with support of intelligent technology

Supply Chain Management

  • The Industrial Internet, with the support from our partner Shanghai Qiyuan Technology Co., Ltd. (AMT)
  • Sustainable supply chain/business, considering the symbiosis with the community
  • Application of intelligent technology in industry 4.0’s supply chain
  • Smart supply chains and intelligent logistics


  • Investigation of growth opportunities in corporate social responsibilities (carbon emission, recycling, energy-efficient initiatives)
  • Investigation of how business transformations related to environmental, social, and governance matters impact Industry 4.0

Intelligent Finance

  • Financial institution’s portfolio and the climate risk, and the shift to green finance
  • Application of machine learning techniques in capital markets
  • Venture valuation and financial risk assessment with the support of intelligent technology

Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Hub:

  • Digital Innovation: digital technology innovation, product innovation and service innovation
  • Digital Entrepreneurship: digital entrepreneurial agency, processes and outcomes
  • Digital Business Models (Leveraging digital technologies (e.g., AI, blockchain, 3D printings… for new business models, revenue models, and target new customer segments)
  • Digital Transformation and Technology Management (Converting incumbent business models, integrating digital technology, product/service delivery mechanisms into digital ones and managing dual offsite and onsite business)
  • Global Business Environment and Entrepreneurship (internal business relations, multinational business-to-business partnerships, mutual sharing of resources to develop new products/services and capture new customer segments)
  • International Entrepreneurship: Born Global, Expatriates’ Entrepreneurship, International Social Enterprise, Global Mindset
  • Corporate Governance, Sustainability and Innovation (Government regulations, organizational policies, and environmental impact (carbon footprint, emissions, plastics, recycling)
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (Green innovation, technological innovation for better environmental impact, green supply-chain, social welfare projects, socially responsible business design and products)
  • Leadership and Employee Behaviors (modern Leadership styles of young entrepreneurs and their impact on various employee outcomes, e.g., responsible leadership, servant leadership, inclusive leadership and employee innovation performance, psychological welfare)
  • Entrepreneurial Performance Management (exploring the predicting factors for improved entrepreneurial performance at firm level, team level and employee level)
  • Strategic Human Resources & Talent Management (Innovation management through R&D, HR planning/performance management, HR planning/sharing)
  • Enterprise Management (family-owned business management, Multiplatform integration and marketing techniques for customer retention, B2B collaboration in digital age, Decision support systems, IoT based Enterprise information management system, Financial/asset management
  • Change Management perspectives (social exchange theory, social identity theory, self-determination theory, social information theory).

Research funding, environment and facilities

XJTLU offers an intellectually exciting environment in which to conduct original research, recognising the importance of both fundamental and applied study in generating new knowledge and ways of thinking.

All supervisor teams for PhD students will consist of at least one supervisor who has supervised a PhD to completion. That supervisor will play a supportive and mentoring role of the co-supervisor. Additionally, supervising staff have access to training provided by the Academic Enhancement Centre as well as being mentored by the Departmental Graduate Studies Officer. Regular progress reports and reviews, as outlined in the programme specifications, will ensure that both candidate progress and supervisory support will be monitored.

Students will also be co-supervised by scholars based at the University of Liverpool, who will be appointed based on the convergence of research specialisms and the PhD research proposal.

Potential supervisors

International Business School Suzhou

Find out potential supervisors from Department of Accounting.

Find out potential supervisors from Department of Intelligent Operations and Marketing.

Find out potential supervisors from Department of Economics.

Find out potential supervisors from Department of Finance.

Find out potential supervisors from Department of Strategic Management and Organisations.

XJTLU Entrepreneur College (Taicang)

Find out potential supervisors from Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Hub.

Find out potential supervisors from School of Intelligent Finance and Business


There are two types of scholarship available for candidates applying for a full-time doctoral programme.

1) Apply for a scholarship for a funded PhD project:

You can apply for a pre-defined PhD project which has received funds from the University or external funding bodies. The research topic and supervisory team for these projects have already been established.

There is no specific application deadline for each project as they will remain open for applications until the position is filled. The start date of a PhD programme is usually the first day of March, June, September, or December. You can visit the Postgraduate Research Scholarships Page for information about the specific PhD projects available or contact potential supervisors to discuss funding opportunities.

2) Apply for a postgraduate research scholarship with your own project:

You can also apply for scholarship with your own project. There will be two application rounds for each academic year:

Application Rounds Application deadline Release of results
First Round 17:00 CST(UTC+8), 15 October End of December
Second Round 17:00 CST(UTC+8), 15 April Early July
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