Global DBA Survey: Program Characteristics | Student Characteristics | Career Outcomes of professional doctorates in management

Published: 20 June 2024 | by Thomas Graf

The Global DBA Survey informs about professional doctorates in management worldwide. These part-time programs allow professionals to achieve a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), an Executive PhD, or a Doctor in a specific business function.

The Global DBA Survey 2014 is the main survey. It was conducted by the DBA Compass between October 2013 and April 2014 and includes two parts. Part one provides an overview on the geographic distribution, teaching modes and program lengths of nearly 300 doctorates in management worldwide - including their special tracks, concentrations, and full-time counterparts. Part two provides an in-depth analysis of 46 selected programs offered in 15 countries, with a particular interest in program characteristics, student characteristics, and career outcomes.

The Global DBA Surveys of 2015 and 2017 were only quick updates on the most important statistics.

Global DBA Survey 2014: Main findings

  • What are professional doctorates in management? Such doctorates are part-time programs for professionals who want to achieve a doctoral degree by doing applied research, often based on data from within their employers. Overall, we identified 196 unique part-time professional doctorates in management plus 56 concentrations or special tracks of the same. Furthermore, we found 45 full-time doctorates - 40 of them are just different study modes of the corresponding part-time program, while 5 grant a DBA degree without being a professional doctorate (e.g., without targeting professionals).
  • Degree: Most professional doctorates in management (86 percent) grant a DBA(Doctor of Business Administration); some also grant a PhD or a Doctor in a specific business area (e.g. Doctor of Organizational Change). However: Not every DBA program is a professional degree. In fact, some few schools offer DBA programs that target graduates without professional experience.
  • Trend: Professional doctorates in management are offered worldwide, mostly in Europe (42 percent), North America (28 percent), and Asia (22 percent). Moreover, there seems to be a trend toward such programs, as most professional doctorates in management were founded in the last 10 years and more than half of them in Europe.
  • Importance: Four out of five program managers see the demand for professional doctorates in management increasing worldwide. The strongest demand comes from students from Asia, the Middle-East, and Africa, followed by Europe and Latin America. One in two program managers are also seeing rising demand from North America, Australia, and the Pacific region.
  • Program characteristics: On average, professional doctorates in management take four years up to graduation. As a rule, they require EUR 36,000 (USD 49,000) tuition fees and at least some basic idea about the research topic. About a third even requires a research proposal at the point of application. The average class size is 13 students; four out of five programs have a coursework period (that lasts for 1.5 years on average) before the actual research period; and about 10 percent of the programs run the program itself while another institution grants the degree.
    • Internationally accredited programs (AACSB, EQUIS, AMBA) have higher tuition fees than programs without such certificates. It seems they can use their AACSB, EQUIS, or AMBA accreditation to signal quality and ask for correspondingly higher prices. Also, these programs have more male students and more students in senior management positions, who may have more financial resources to pay the higher tuition fees.
    • How selective are the programs? More expensive programs such as internationally accredited programs seem to be more selective, not only due to the higher fees but also based on other criteria. Likely explanations are that such programs may assess the applicant’s intellectual capability or the feasibility of applied research in the applicant’s company more strictly.
  • Student characteristics: As a rule, students have 15 years of professional experience and 40 years of age; two out of three are male; they come from all sorts of industries – for instance, from financial service industries, consulting firms, or IT and telecommunication industries – or run their own businesses. On average, a third of the students are international students, and most of the students are working full-time, primarily in senior and middle management positions.
    • Gender differences: On average, male students tend to study in expensive and internationally accredited programs, are older and have more professional experience. Female students, by contrast, are younger, have part-time positions, and study programs with lower fees and higher acceptance rates.
  • Career characteristics: Four out of five students achieve academic publications during or after their studies, but only few in academic top journals. Only a minority attend academic conferences. Half of the students achieved academic positions. Many schools reported, however, that such academic outcomes are neither the primary goal of the program nor the aspiration of the students. Instead, they mentioned career shifts or internal promotion together with a higher salary as actual career outcomes, while a smaller group emphasized “more critical and reflective thinking”, “stronger leadership skills”, and specialist knowledge in a special area.

Participating schools and doctoral programs


  • Australian Institute of Business: Doctor of Business Administration
  • University of Southern Queensland: Doctor of Business Administration


  • City University of Hong Kong: Doctor of Business Administration


  • Scandinavian Art and Business Institute*: Doctor of Business Administration


  • ESC Rennes: Global DBA
  • Grenoble Ecole de Management: Doctor of Business Administration
  • Horizons University: Doctor of Business Administration
  • International School of Management**: Doctor of Business Administration
  • Scandinavian Art and Business Institute*: Doctor of Business Administration
  • SKEMA: Executive PhD in Project and Programme Management


  • Fachhochschule des Mittelstands (FHM), in cooperation with the University of Gloucestershire (UK): Doctor of Business Administration
  • Reutlingen University, International Institute for Strategic Leadership: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


  • Waterford Institute of Technology: Doctorate in Business Administration


  • Open University Malaysia: Doctor of Business Administration
  • Universiti Sains Malaysia: Doctor of Business Administration

Puerto Rico

  • Turabo University School of Business & Entrepreneurship: Doctor in Business Administration

South Africa

  • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University: Doctor of Business Administration
  • Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria: Doctor of Business Administration


  • IE Business School: Doctor in Business Administration


  • Business School Lausanne: Doctorate of Business Administration
  • HWZ University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration Zurich: Doctor of Business Administration
  • International University in Geneva Public Administration: Doctor of Business Administration, Doctor of
  • SBS Swiss Business School: Doctor of Business Administration
  • UGSM-Monarch Business School: Doctor of Business Administration

The Netherlands

  • Business School Netherlands: Doctor of Business Administration
  • Maastricht School of Management: Doctor of Business Administration
  • TiasNimbas Business School, Tilburg University: Executive PhD***

Trinidad & Tobago

  • Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business: Doctor of Business Administration

United Kingdom

  • Bradford University School of Management: Doctor of Business Administration
  • Cass Business School, City University London: Executive PhD***
  • Cranfield School of Management: Cranfield International Executive Doctorate (DBA)
  • University of Reading, Henley Business School: Doctor of Business Administration
  • Leeds Metropolitan University: Doctorate of Business Administration
  • Manchester Business School: Doctor of Business Administration
  • Regent University: Doctor of Strategic Leadership
  • University of Portsmouth: Doctor of Business Administration
  • University of South Wales: Doctor of Business Administration


  • California International Business University: Professional Doctorates in Management
  • Case Western Reserve University School of Management, Weatherhead: Doctor of Management Program
  • Lawrence Technological University: Doctorate of Business Administration
  • Georgia State University: Executive Doctorate in Business
  • Oklahoma State University: Ph.D. in Business for Executives Program
  • Liberty University: Doctor of Business Administration
  • Rollins College: Executive Doctorate in Business Administration
  • Sacred Heart University: DBA in Finance
  • The Fox School of Business at Temple University: Executive Doctorate in Business Administration
  • University of Dallas, Satish and Yasmin Gupta College of Business: Doctor of Business Administration
  • University of Wisconsin, Whitewater: Doctorate of Business Administration

* The Scandinavian Art and Business Institute is registered both in Finland and France under authorization of the Academie de Paris.

** The International School of Management (ISM) is an American school located in France.

*** This Executive PhD is offered by the TiasNimbas Business School and the Cass Business School together.

By Thomas Graf