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Doctor of Business Administration. All About the DBA Degree

Academics Research

Doctor of Business Administration. All About the DBA Degree

Doctor of Business Administration

(Newscko) ─ The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a research-focused terminal degree. It is offered in the academic discipline of business administration. In general, the DBA program is designed for those professionals who typically hold a master’s degree with 5-10 years of meaningful practice experience.

The DBA program provides:

  • Experienced professionals with advanced skills and knowledge to solving business issues.
  • The curriculum includes business-related theories.
  • Apply quantitative or qualitative research methods. 
  • Interdisciplinary focusing on general management and business subjects.

While most of the DBA programs are mainly interdisciplinary, focusing on general management (e.g., business issues or leadership areas), a few DBA programs offer a concentration or specialization as follows:

  • Management
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Human Resources

Doctor of Business Administration Salary

Notably, DBA graduates make a practical contribution to their career or company’s success. Hence, they are one of the most sought-after leaders by corporations and earn a median salary of $102,320.

DBA graduates with specialization (e.g., accounting, finance) and that is a scholarly academic research degree (e.g., AACSB-accredited) provides an opportunity to seek a full-time, tenure track position for careers in academia. It appears the 9-month average salary for an Assistant Professor of Accounting (2019-2020) is $ 147,440.

Indeed, those DBAs with a specialization from an accredited institution (e.g., from AACSB accredited institution) could offer you the Academic Route in research institutions, Industry/Practitioner Route, or Both.

Career opportunities after the Doctor of Business Administration

Doctor of Business Administration showcases your competency to handle business challenges at a high level. Further, it projects your expertise in applying research methodologies in innovative real-world scenarios. In fact, DBAs are experts to solving complex business problems of the 21st century. As a result, companies offer C-Level positions and positions like business analysts or research analysts. Furthermore, DBA strengthens your case for getting promotions to higher roles. The following are some lucrative career opportunities with a doctor of business administration:

1. C-Level Executive Officer (e.g., CEO, CFO, COO, CIO)

2. Management consultant – to help businesses solve problems

3. Professor– full-time, part-time, or adjunct faculty

4. Entrepreneur– quit working for others, instead start their own business.

5. Director of Human Resources– to handle complex human resources requirements and management

6. Government Employee

7. Economist

8. Logistician

9. Market research analyst

Which degree is “better’ a DBA or Ph.D.?

Is a DBA or Ph.D. a “better” degree?  The straight answer to that question is neither. Indeed, both are creditable and respectable degrees. It depends mainly on the university which awarded the degree. For instance, Harvard Business School awards the DBA. The holders of that degree are unquestionably amongst the best-trained business professionals in the world.

Difference between PhD and DBA?

Both PhD and DBA are doctorate programs. This means that both the programs involve dissertations. While PhD focuses more on academic research, DBA is more theoretical application oriented. However, both aim to provide new insight into the related discipline.

1Generally full-time.Generally part-time.
2On average, up to eight years to complete.On average, three years to complete.
3Building theory in a specific discipline.Applying theory to address professional practice.
4Program designed for candidates to pursue a career in academia.Program designed for professionals to use theory in business applications.
5Conducts research to contributing to theoretical knowledge.Conducts research using theory to contributing to the practice of management.
7As Ph.D. candidates do not require work experience, a Ph.D. does not necessarily indicate a level of practice expertise in their chosen fields.DBA indicates a practitioner’s expertise in their chosen fields as DBA candidates are business practitioners in their fields.
8Ph.D. candidates may receive a scholarship once admitted, including several financial aid options depending on the institutions.DBA candidates may get such sponsorships from their businesses. Besides, several financial aid options are available, as DBA candidates are working executives; they pay themselves in most cases.
9Ph.D. can lead to careers mainly in academics. The career options include:
-Government sector policy advisors,
-Academic Writers/Authors,
DBA can lead to a variety of career options, including:
-Management Consultants,
-C-level Corporate Executives,
-Professors/Faculty Members,
Difference between PhD and DBA – (Newscko).

Academic publishing and research

Pursuant of PhDs are more inclined towards lectureship, academic publication or education-related roles. Ph.D. graduates mainly explore careers in academics. Whereas, typically, DBA graduates aspire to move into advanced roles in the corporate world.

However, rigorous research-based Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programs equip DBA graduates with the academic publication or education-related roles with the advanced skills and credentials needed to secure and succeed in full-time tenure-track faculty positions at accredited universities.

For example, the University of Scranton’s DBA program concentrates on accounting. The Scranton DBA students research a topic of interest, produce a high-quality manuscript as part of the course work, and submit it for publication consideration. Therefore, experienced professionals with the DBA can transition into teaching in addition to those who want to continue making contributions in their organizations.

Eligibility to pursue Doctor of Business Administration

Doctor of Business Administration has strict eligibility criteria. Usually, DBA candidates require 5-10 years of significant practice experience in the industry. In addition, it requires an MBA or a Master’s degree from an accredited university. Moreover, there are other requirements like GPA, recommendations (professional references), and submission of a statement of interest/personal essays. Applicants also submit their professional resumes and pass the final interview.

Additional Requirements: DBA concentration programs (e.g. accounting concentration) have additional requirements. Typically, a recognized professional accounting certification (i.e., Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor, Certified Fraud Examiner).

Course Curriculum for Doctor of Business Administration

The DBA course content depends on the institutions. But, there are few common subject areas irrespective of colleges or states. Students learn research methods and frameworks, case studies, qualitative and quantitative analysis, including courses on dissertation design, proposal, and defense.

Few DBA course examples are below:

  • Business Theory & Constructs
  • Managerial Finance
  • Marketing Strategy & Consulting
  • Business Research Process & Design 
  • Managerial Economics
  • Business Literature Review 
  • Leadership
  • Advanced Analytics and Insights
  • Research Methods
  • Business Strategy & Consulting
  • Technology & Information System
  • Dissertation Design
  • Research Proposal
  • Dissertation Defense

DBA students in most cases must clear a comprehensive, written exam at the end of their course work. Moreover, they must finish an applied doctoral research project. The research topic must be from one’s chosen discipline and the availability of experienced faculty in that chosen discipline. Besides, it must aim to showcase professional expertise.

Mode and format for Doctor of Business Administration

You can study Doctor of Business Administration in full-time or part-time formats. The mode of study for DBA can be online as well as in person. Few programs are even hybrid, which means once in a month or fortnight students must attend on campus. Online programs are hybrid — instructor-led classes along with on-demand course videos.

Fees and course duration for Doctor of Business Administration

The cost to pursue a Doctor of Business Administration varies across the universities. Tuition fees for DBA depend on the popularity of universities and course format. Institutions offer DBA full-time or part-time. And, the usual mode of delivery is online or offline. Other expenses like educational materials, also add up to your cost.

Doctor of Business Administration takes three years to complete. Yet, students can opt for a faster path to graduate via accelerated programs.

Notable persons with a DBA degree

Is Doctor of Business Administration worth it?

It depends on your situation. DBA is a time-consuming and costly program, and it might ensure you a high executive role. And, investing in any higher education can be your strategic choice too. But, pursuing a DBA can have several in-tangible benefits too. And, hence calculating its ROI is not a straight guess.

As shown above, a Doctor of Business Administration degree can be a worthwhile investment. However, it depends on your financial and professional circumstances and commitments. Indeed, there is no limit to what a DBA can achieve. It is a similar terminal degree to a Ph.D.

To conclude, DBA programs answer to the changes in the business field. DBA provides experienced professionals with the advanced skills and credentials to succeed in academia and contribute to practice. Therefore, it continuously evolves to consider the needs of students. As a result, it offers students advanced skills for management practice while offering exceptional success in academics-teaching and researching at top-tier institutions of higher learning.