Reading Time: 7 minutes

If you have ever worried about the competitive nature of your particular business industry and you are looking for a way to ensure that you always stand out from the crowd, then a Doctor of Business Administration degree program may be the way forward for you.

Usually designed to build upon the knowledge that someone has gained via a master’s degree in business, a DBA can transform you into an exceptional business leader with unparalleled problem-solving skills.

Everything You Need to Know About a DBA Degree

If this sounds like something that would interest you and your career, keep reading to discover everything you need to know about obtaining a DBA.

Within the below article you will find out:

  1. What is a DBA?
  2. Where can you study for a DBA?
  3. Who should choose to study for a DBA?
  4. What is the difference between a DBA and a Ph.D.?
  5. What are the entry requirements for this degree program?
  6. How can you apply?
  7. How long does it take to complete?
  8. What can you expect to study?
  9. How will you be assessed?
  10. What careers can you expect to go into with a DBA?

As you can see, there is a lot to cover, so let’s get started . . .

What is a Doctor of Business Administration degree?

A DBA is a widely recognized professional doctorate in Business and Management. It is typically the highest level of qualification that you can receive within the field of business and is designed for experienced professionals who are looking to enhance their leadership skills and learn ways to develop new business strategies and solutions.

One of the most appealing elements of this type of qualification is the fact that you will learn how to apply academic knowledge and research to real-world business problems. You can even choose a challenge that your business is currently facing for your thesis, allowing you to create a much-needed solution and obtain a high-level qualification at the same time.

Typically a DBA takes between 4 to 6 years to complete; this is based on a part-time DBA online degree that will allow you to study while you continue to carry out your current job. Click here to find out more information.

A DBA is equivalent to a Ph.D., and you will still receive the title “Doctor” upon completion of your program; however, your focus will be more on practical training rather than independent academic research.

Where can I study for a DBA?

As with most qualifications, you have the option to choose between studying in a classroom or via an online program. Both choices have their advantages, and it is entirely dependent on your situation which option you choose.

Most people who choose to complete a DBA are experienced working professionals, and therefore, an online course is better suited to their needs.

Part-time distance learning is becoming increasingly popular, especially in slightly older students. They want to continue to work and care for their family commitments while improving their career prospects.

There is a wide range of high-quality online DBA degree programs that offer exceptional support and excellent teaching scholars that will provide practical business support throughout your learning journey.

Who should study for a DBA?

As previously mentioned, DBA programs are designed for experienced, senior-level executives and other business professionals who already have an impressive track record in leadership and management roles.

You may be suitable for a Doctorate in Business Administration degree program if:

  • You are a driven manager who wants to move into a C-level or more senior executive role.
  • You are an experienced professional who is keen to develop new strategies and solutions that you can apply directly to your workplace.
  • You have an MBA or other executive degree and want to take the next step.

A DBA is not designed for someone who has just completed a bachelor’s degree or who does not have experience in a senior role.

What is the difference between a Ph.D. and a DBA?

If you are considering carrying out a Ph.D. in Business rather than a Doctorate in Business Administration, then you need to make sure that this is the right choice for you and your current professional situation.

Although academically, a DBA is equivalent to a Ph.D., there are critical differences between these two types of qualifications, which will affect what type of career you can pursue once you have completed your degree program.

A DBA has the below characteristics:

  • It is a professional doctorate
  • It is offered in Business and Management subjects only
  • It focuses on a combination of taught modules and independent research
  • It is commonly studied on a part-time basis alongside working commitments

A Ph.D. has a different set of characteristics:

  • It is an academic research doctorate
  • It is offered in all subjects where academic research is carried out, including in business
  • It focuses on independent research
  • It can be studied part-time or full-time

It is also worth noting that professional experience is necessary for a DBA but not for a Ph.D.

What are the entry requirements for a DBA?

There are strict entry requirements for a DBA, which include extensive experience and the appropriate qualifications.

These include:

  • An MBA, MA, MSc in business or management or a professional equivalent
  • A minimum of 5 years’ experience in a senior role

Most universities also ask for evidence that you have thought of a research project related to their specific areas of expertise, although this is not always the case.

How can I apply for a DBA?

Once you have chosen which university or business school that you would like to complete your DBA with, there are several documents that you will need to assemble for your application.

These include:

  • Evidence of your qualifications
  • A personal statement outlining your experience and detailing why you are interested in this particular degree program
  • Your CV or resume
  • A copy of your passport
  • Two references that are dated within the last two years
  • IELTs if you do not come from an English majority speaking country

You may also need to submit a strong research proposal, but this will be dependent on the specific entry requirements of the university that you have chosen.

Most universities will ask you to submit your application online. However, it is advisable to contact the university first if you are in any doubt about whether you have the right qualifications or experience to be able to proceed with this level of qualification.

You should also ensure that you meet the given deadline for applications at your chosen school or university as DBA programs often include timetabled modules.

How long does it take to complete a DBA?

Most professionals choose to study for a DBA on a part-time basis so that they can continue to work while they study. The majority also decide to complete their degree program online through a process called distance learning, which allows them to manage their workload with their other commitments.

This usually takes between 4-6 years.

If you are worried about the process of studying online and think that this will involve an inferior learning process than face to face tuition, then you will be pleased to know that distance learning is an effective way to study for a DBA and that you will be provided with many online learning tools to help facilitate your studies including:

  • Podcasts
  • Vodcasts
  • Directed reading
  • Live discussions
  • Video conferencing
  • Online tasks and quizzes
  • Research supervision
  • Virtual discussion boards

You may also be paired with an academic supervisor who can help guide you in your specialized topic, offering invaluable advice and knowledge.

What can I expect to study?

Although the course content will be set by the particular university or business school that you choose to study with, you can expect to cover topics including:

  • Business and management theory
  • Research principles and philosophies
  • Research method and design
  • Contemporary challenges and concerns that modern businesses face

How will I be assessed?

If you choose to undertake a part-time online program, then you have the opportunity to complete your degree on a flexible basis via online systems and resources.

You will be required to complete assignments linked to the set research modules and your own chosen research project.

You will then be asked to complete a Quantifying Report, approximately 6,000 words, which will determine whether you can continue to complete your final thesis. This will usually be assessed via a viva voce (a formal oral examination) where you will be required to defend your work in front of examiners.

If you successfully complete this part of the program, you will then move on to your final thesis, which can be up to 80,000 words in length. This will also need to be defended via a viva voce.

You can choose to publish your thesis and practically apply it to your current workplace.

What careers can I expect to go into with a DBA?

If you are hoping to change your career as a result of your new qualification, then it can be helpful to know what type of professions you can expect to be able to go into with a Doctorate in Business Administration degree.

Fortunately, a DBA will open up a lot of different avenues for you career-wise, enabling you to either move up the ladder in your current profession or start a completely new career in a different industry.

Some of the most popular sectors for those with a DBA include:

Academic careers

Although you may think this type of career is more suited to someone with a Ph.D. in Business rather than a DBA, many business schools will be impressed that you now have both academic expertise and real-world work experience that you can bring to the job.

Careers within the academic sector that you may wish to consider with a DBA include:

  • Professor/Instructor
  • Department Chair
  • Dean
  • Vice President/Chancellor

Executive Officers

If you have previously worked in a senior management role and now have your DBA, you can expect to be able to apply for executive officer positions.

Although it is not a pre-requisite for C-level executives to have a DBA, in an increasingly competitive business world, those with a Doctorate in Business Administration are definitely more likely to stand out in a sea of other applicants.

A DBA shows that you not only have the right skills, qualifications and experience to carry out the job to the highest standard, but it also proves that you have the determination and desire to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and to continually improve upon yourself professionally.

Executive officer positions you may want to consider include:

  • CEO – Chief Executive Officer
  • CFO – Chief Financial Officer
  • COO – Chief Operating Officer
  • Executive VP

Research Institutes

If you would like the chance to work with academic research, government agencies, and organizations within the private sector, then you may want to consider a position in a research institute, or a ‘think tank’ as they are also known.

There are thousands of research institutes to choose from, such as those within the arts and humanities, science and environment, national security and foreign relations, and arguably the most popular, economics and policy sector.

Careers within research institutes include:

  • Research Analyst
  • Research Associate
  • Project Manager
  • Strategic Planner
  • Executive Administrator

Independent Consulting

If you are looking for a lucrative and varied new role, then consultancy could be the way forward for you.

Consultants are typically hired by businesses that are looking for external help in assessing their strengths and weaknesses or for overcoming a particular challenge.

This type of role is ideal for those with an entrepreneurial spirit who are confident in their abilities and their communication skills.

Essentially as a consultant, you will have a completely new job every few months or even weeks, so if you thrive on spontaneity and embrace new situations and people, then this could be the career move for you.

Are you now feeling ready to look into DBA degrees?


What are you waiting for then?

Get started on the next step in your learning and development journey today and start planning for the future as early as tomorrow!

This content is a joint venture between our publication and our partner. We do not endorse any product or service in the article.