Doctor of Business Administration: Detailed Guide [2023]

Doctor of Business Administration

In the ever-evolving domain of business, professionals continually seek opportunities to enhance their knowledge, skills, and career prospects. One path that holds immense promise is the pursuit of a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore the DBA in detail, shedding light on its significance, unique attributes, and how it can catalyze your success in the dynamic world of business.

What is a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)?

A Doctor of Business Administration, which we call DBA, is a special degree for experienced professionals who want to do really well in business management. It might seem similar to a Ph.D. in Business Administration, but there are important differences that make the DBA unique.

1. Applied Research: Unlike a Ph.D. which delves deep into theoretical research, a DBA has its roots in practical, real-world applications. DBA candidates undertake research projects centered on addressing complex business challenges and devising solutions firmly grounded in empirical evidence.

2. Executive Focus: DBA programs primarily cater to mid to senior-level executives, entrepreneurs, and business leaders who aspire to deepen their expertise and elevate their strategic decision-making acumen.

3. Flexibility: Recognizing the demanding schedules of working professionals, DBA programs are typically structured as part-time endeavors. This flexibility enables candidates to seamlessly juggle their professional, personal, and academic commitments.

DBA and PhD Comparisons

The DBA and Ph.D. are degrees that focus on research and help students learn about scholarly information they can use in different business situations. The main differences between them are in how much and how deeply they cover various topics.

Student ProfilesExecutives with significant managerial experience looking to transition to tenure-track teaching or develop skills to advance in leadership or consulting roles.Professionals pursuing a career in research at an academic institution. 
Career DestinationAcademia, executive leadership or consulting.Academia.
Faculty Teaching OptionsFull-time, tenure-track positions at research institutions.Full-time, tenure track positions at research institutions.
Program GoalsAddress significant business challenges using applied research skills and bring this knowledge back into the workplace and classroom.Theoretical research training to qualify for securing a position as an assistant professor.
Courses & ResearchResearch is interdisciplinary and focuses on linking theory to current business problems. Focuses on addressing contemporary business and management issues.Research is highly specialized, usually by a single, specific discipline. Less attention on connections to business practice.
ResidencyStudents attend classes one weekend a month, with online assignments in between sessions.Students typically attend class full-time.
Time Commitment3 years; 30-40 hours per week4-5 years; 60-100 hours per week
(Source: University of Dallas)


Benefits of Pursuing a DBA

Now, let’s delve into why you should consider embarking on the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) journey:

Expertise Enhancement

DBA programs offer a deep dive into advanced concepts in areas such as leadership, management, strategy, and innovation. This equips you with the knowledge and skills needed to make informed, strategic decisions.

Research Proficiency

DBA candidates develop strong research skills through their applied research projects. These skills are transferable to real-world problem-solving and contribute to the advancement of business knowledge.

Contribution to the Field

DBA candidates often conduct research that has practical implications for businesses. By addressing real-world challenges and proposing solutions, DBA holders contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the business domain.

Credibility and Prestige

A DBA is a prestigious qualification that commands respect in the business world. It demonstrates your commitment to continuous learning and expertise in your field, enhancing your credibility as a business professional.

Career Advancement

If you aspire to ascend the corporate ladder or secure leadership roles, a DBA can be your ticket to success. It opens doors to higher executive positions, consultancy opportunities, and executive-level networking.

Entrepreneurial Empowerment

For those with entrepreneurial ambitions, a DBA provides a solid foundation in both business theory and practice. It empowers you to build and sustain a thriving venture with a firm grasp of the intricacies of the business world.

Global Perspective

Many DBA programs have an international focus, exposing candidates to diverse business practices and global perspectives. This broadens your understanding of the global business landscape, which is increasingly important in today’s interconnected world.

Personal Growth

Pursuing a DBA is not just about professional development; it’s also a journey of personal growth. It challenges you to think critically, analyze complex problems, and innovate solutions, fostering intellectual and personal development.

Also Read: How to Get A PhD: A Step-by-Step Guide

Choosing the Right DBA Program

Selecting the ideal DBA program is pivotal to your success. Here are some key considerations:

1. Accreditation: Ensure that the program is accredited by recognized accrediting bodies. Accreditation lends credibility to your degree.

2. Faculty Expertise: Investigate the qualifications and expertise of the faculty members. World-class educators can greatly enrich your learning experience.

3. Research Opportunities: Assess the program’s research opportunities and whether they align with your interests and career goals.

4. Networking Potential: Evaluate the networking opportunities the program offers. Interaction with fellow professionals is invaluable.

5. Flexibility: Consider the program’s schedule and format. Ensure it aligns with your current commitments and allows you to balance work, life, and academia.

Institutions Offering the DBA

In the United States, you can find several AACSB-accredited business schools that offer the DBA program, and a good portion of them belong to educational institutions classified as “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” by Carnegie. As of June 2023, there are 17 R1 institutions in the United States that provide accredited DBA programs with a research focus. Internationally, many educational institutions offer the DBA program, and a considerable number of them are part of The Executive DBA Council.

Athabasca UniversityNoNoNo
Baruch College (CUNY)YesYesNo
Case Western Reserve UniversityYesYesYes
Drexel University (LeBow)YesYesNo
Edgewood CollegeNoNoNo
Florida International UniversityYesYesNo
Georgia State UniversityYesYesNo
Golden Gate UniversityNoYesYes
Harvard University
(Transitioned to PhD in 2019)
Old Dominion University
(Transitioned to PhD in 1995)
Pennsylvania State UniversityYesYesYes
Royal Roads UniversityNoNoNo
Rutgers UniversityYesYesYes
St. Ambrose UniversityYesNoNo
Temple UniversityYesYesNo
University of CalgaryYesYesNo
University of FloridaYesYesYes
University of MarylandYesYesYes
University of Michigan – FlintYesYesNo
University of North TexasYesYesNo
University of PittsburghYesYesYes
University of South FloridaYesYesYes
University of Texas – DallasYesYesNo
Washington University in St. LouisYesYesYes
West Virginia UniversityYesYesNo


  1. AACSB: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  2. R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity (Carnegie Classification)
  3. AAU: Association of American Universities


A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is more than just a degree; it’s a transformative journey that can elevate your career or business to unprecedented heights. Whether you’re an executive aiming to reach the pinnacle of your field, an aspiring entrepreneur seeking a competitive edge, or a professional eager to contribute to the business world’s advancement, the DBA is your gateway to success.

Embark on this journey, embrace the opportunity to conduct groundbreaking research, and witness the transformation unfolding in your business journey. Enrolling in a DBA program is not just an investment in your education; it’s an investment in your future success in the ever-evolving world of business.

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