Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to elicit the views of students on their experiences of being part of a doctoral community. In doing so, this paper will shed light on the success of doctoral schools and the degree to which students identify with the wider community of postgraduate researchers. Design/methodology/approach: This research adopted an in-depth interview method based on interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Findings: The findings indicate that Higher Education still has some way to go before all students identify as being part of a doctoral school. The data suggest that significant differences exist between PhD and Doctor of Business Administration students on their perceptions of being part of a doctoral community. Originality/value: This paper contributes to the growing corpus of work produced through IPA, and also provides insights into the development of a doctoral school.