Reputation x Program Structure

Program content
  • Posted by Fabiano on 10/12/14 11:28am

    Hi Thomas,

    I have two main goals I wish to achieve with the DBA program: The ability to broaden my future career prospects by being able to teach/lecture (ideally part time) and, more importantly, to develop and deepen my critical thinking.

    The DBA programs of Southampton Management School and Nothingham Trent University have the same tuition fees but seem to be very different in terms of structure. While both schools are accredited, the international reputation of Southampton is far better than NTU since the University is amongst the best in the world. Nevertheless, the program of NTU looks much more organized and balanced where the DBA student is looked after during the entire doctoral process, which seems to be very important for me.

    My question is : By choosing NTU over Southampton my chances of teaching would be reduced due to lower reputation of the school? Or, in another words, having the DBA from Southampton would have more weight in the eyes of the academic community if I decided to purse an academic career ?

    NTU has a great DBA structure but I am a bit worried about how much it woud be recognized within the European community.

    Thanks for your help.

    • Posted by Thomas Graf on 10/12/14 1:31pm

      Hi there,

      reputation and program organization are indeed two important criteria to choose a program. When two programs have different strengths, this provides a conflict about which strength to emphasize.

      One approach is: Simply seach for a third program that provides a better balance between reputation and program organization.

      Another approach is: Is the difference between the two programs really so high on both dimensions, the reputation and the program organization? Let's split this in two questions, one for each dimension:

      Is the NTU DBA really so much better organized than the Southampton DBA? And if that's the case: Is the Southampton DBA organized such that it is sufficient for you?
      And a good approach would be to talk to current students and ex-students of both programs. Hence, you could ask the program managers to bring you in contact with students (and by this you also see how friendly and organized the program managers are...).

      Is the Southampton reputation so much stronger than the NTU reputation that it affects your future plans (e.g. teaching options) essentially?
      A good approach to tackle this woud be to talk to your future employer. For example, you could contact your target universities (where you want to teach later on) - e.g., the deans of the facullties - and simply ask them if one of the two DBA programs would provide you with greater chances to teach at that faculty.

      The advantage of this approahc is that you get a clearer picture of what you can expect. All you need to do is looking at the net effect: If Southampton brings you clearly better career chances and if its program organization is sufficient for you, you can move on with it. If Southampton brings you no or only marginally better career chances and NTU's progran organization will clearly help you to study faster and to achieve your other goal (train your critical thinking), then you move on with NTU.

      If you don't find a clear winner between these two, move on with a third schools.

      Best wishes,

      By Thomas Graf
      Founder DBA Compass
      Author of the DBA Survey

    • Posted by Fabiano on 10/12/14 3:25pm

      Hi Thomas,

      Thanks for the advice.

      I am already looking at two other schools which I had not come across before.

      What really strikes is that, no matter how hard you investigate, it will be an imperative decision which will only be clearer by the time you actually finish the program. I know the DBA is the next step for me and that is the path I will take but, four years from now is a lot of time and relevant things such as recognition, quality will certainly have evolved over time.

      I am quite convinced that the DBA route will significantly grow in importance over time and, more and more programs will be available in the market.

      For the time being, I will search the best program possible for me, taking into consideration (especially) its quality and reputation.

      Best regards,