Faculty: Assess the Doctorate in Business Administration quality

Published: 11 August 2017 | by Thomas Graf

So far there are no internationally recognized rankings for Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programs. Hence, we need some proxies to assess the quality of a DBA program. One way is looking at the quality and number of publications that a faculty achieves.

Doctorate in Business Administration: Why looking at the faculty?

The faculty of where you do your DBA is key. This is the environment where you acquire your research capabilities. Here, the qualiy standards for you are set. Here you choose your advisor - the most important person for you as a future scholar. Assessing the quality of a faculty hence can be seen as a very good way to assess the quality of a DBA program.

One indicator of quality: Quality and quantity of publications

What is a high quality faculty? Given the primary tasks of academics, the quality of a faculty is expressed in its competence in doing research and teaching. And the quality of research can be proxied by the number of publications in top journals. A DBA student will receive a different education and will develop different capabilities as a researcher if the faculty consists of top researchers or professors that only rarely publish in top journals.

The UTD Top 100 Business School Research Rankings™

The Naveen Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas provides a worldwide business school ranking based on the faculties' research contribution. The higher a business School is ranked here, the more publications it has in academic top journals. Excluding Harvard, whose DBA is not a part-time DBA for professionals, four schools are listed here that offer Professional DBA programs.

The FT Global MBA Ranking: Research Rank

The Financial Times Global MBA Ranking also uses the research activities of business schools as a ranking criterion. The research rank of each school is calculated based on the number of publications that fulltime professors of each school have in the FT 45 top journals list for research in management. The number of publications is weighted by the faculty size and as such provides a good proxy for a school's research capabilities. If you visit the FT Global MBA Ranking page, click on "Show all available fields" at the top and only select "Research". Then you automatically see the ranking according to the number of top publications only. Excluding Harvard, you will find seven schools that offer a Professional DBA and are listed according to their research rank.

The BloombergBusinessweek MBA Ranking: Intellectual Capital Score

Finally, also the BloombergBusinessweek MBA Ranking of US schools uses the research contribution of faculties to build the ranking. In contrast to the Financial Times, however, it does not count the number of publication in the FT 45 academic top journals list but their own selection of 20 top journals as well as reviews in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg Businessweek. The resulting Intellectual Capital Scoreaccounts for 10 percent of the final ranking score. However, the only school that offers a DBA and is listed in this ranking at the moment is the Olin Business School, Washington University in St.Louis.

The Research Assessment Exercise RAE

An alternative tool to assess the quality of a faculty, at least for the UK DBAs, may be the Research Assessment Exercise.

What's the value of these rankings - with respect to finding a Doctorate in Business Administration?

Does this tell you that these four schools have great DBA programs or that their DBA programs are better than others? Clearly, this would go to far as the quality of DBA programs may be affected by other criteria as well. It does, however, tell you something about the research ability of the respective faculties. Given that members of these faculties will teach you if you enrol in a DBA at one of these schools, it may provide you with some information on the quality of the DBA.

By Thomas Graf