What do I learn with a DBA?

Program content
  • Posted by jonathmill on 11/20/12 6:51pm

    Hello Thomas,

    the DBA is an interesting concept. But I wonder what I actually learn with it. And how interesting is it for me as a manager? I have received my MBA already many years ago and I am employed as project manager at an SME with focus on it management. I like the doctor title and I am looking for a new intellectual challenge. But what do I learn in a DBA program that I have not learnt already in my MBA or job? Furthermore how does the DBA knowledge help me in my job?

    Thanks a ton

    • Posted by Thomas Graf on 11/21/12 4:08pm

      Hi there,

      thank you for your message. You raise an important question and there is much confusion about it.

      Let me clarify that a doctorate in management - whether fulltime or part-time, whether a PhD or a DBA - NEVER has the purpose to increase your management capabilities. For this, here are MBA programs and Executive Education seminars.

      I am not saying that you won't get some take-aways from a doctorate that you can apply in business. But the primary reason for doing a doctorate in management is NOT to become better managers.

      So what do you learn in a DBA program? Well, you learn to become a researcher. This means that you will be able to identify a relevant research problem, to frame it in a terminology such that it can be studied, to design an apt methodology, and to actually study it.

      Of course, this research topic can and should be related to the real management world. And in a DBA program, this research topic will be even closer to your every day life as it may stem directly from your employer's practice. But at the end of the day, a doctoral student is learning the tools to do research on these problems on a higher level, abstracting from the one concrete company case to a more general level that can help explain similar phenomena in other settings as well.

      Best wishes,

      By Thomas Graf
      Founder DBA Compass
      Author of the DBA Survey

    • Posted by EvaN on 07/05/13 1:11pm

      Dear Jonathan
      Even though you asked this question quite a while ago, I think it makes sense to add to Thomas' response.
      I am the programme director of the Bradford DBA, and have experience with this programme for more than 12 years now.
      I fully agree with Thomas, that the DBA is no programme to gain management knowledge (that's why most DBAs require an MBA before starting a DBA), but:
      what I and most of our students find most exciting on the DBA are:

      • gaining a more critical and reflective thinking on working with literature ad research methods
      • how they widen their view on how to solve business related problems
      • that they become a (if not THE) specialist in their topic - worldwide
      • their contribution to not just knowledge, but also management
      • and finally the network they build with other managers from all over the world and how this influences their intercultural management skills.
        Several of our Alumni also started a second carreer as visiting lecturer at international business schools. Who would be better to teach at MBA programmes than those who got the MBA plus huge business experience plus education in how to do proper research?
        with regards from