Going back to school can be a difficult decision to make, especially if you are already part of the workforce. However, in the business field, a postgraduate degree and relevant work experience are precisely what make you eligible for a DBA degree. Enrolling in a DBA program can equip you with practical knowledge and skills to apply in the business world.

What Is a DBA Degree?

The acronym DBA stands for ‘Doctor of Business Administration. A DBA degree is a higher education degree or a professional doctorate in business administration. A DBA is one level higher than a Master’s degree in chronological order. Though both doctoral-level degrees, a DBA and a Ph.D. in business administration, are two different qualifications one can get, students usually go for one or the other. Students that have decided to pursue a DBA have to meet certain requirements to enroll in a DBA university program.

DBA degree entry requirements

Because a DBA is a doctorate-level degree, the quality and quantity of entry requirements differ from those of a master’s degree. The entry requirements differ based on the university; however, to enter a DBA program, students generally must:

  1.  Hold an MBA (Master of Business Administration) or a master’s degree related to the field.
  2. Have notable professional experience—preferably in a management or leadership position (usually a minimum of three years depending on the university).
  3. Provide a promising research proposal that appeals to the university you are applying to.

Concentrations in a DBA program

There are several career paths that people with a DBA degree can pursue. Students enrolled in a DBA program can choose to minor or major in a field that interests them. There are five DBA degree concentrations:

1. Business management


This concentration is sort of a given. Most of the people who pursue a DBA degree intend to apply their specialized knowledge and skills to the business field. Students interested in business administration can further specialize in a variety of subfields such as human resources, international relations, tourism, sports, etc. Those more interested in business processes can focus on learning more about strategic management.

2. Finance

Another field that students enrolled in a DBA program can specialize in is finance. A specialization in finance opens doors for careers in accounting, economics, and international banking. The ability to apply research to solve present-day financial problems is what makes DBA candidates specializing in finance so sought after by government agencies, investment firms, and Fortune 500 companies.

3. Marketing

This specialization appeals to those interested in perfecting skills that can be applied in marketing, including branding, product development, and public relations. During a DBA program, students learn about marketing theories and strategies and how to put them into practice to solve marketing issues and overcome challenges.

4. Computer information systems (CIS)

DBA candidates specializing in computer information systems will not be your run-of-the-mill IT guy. They are equipped with specialized knowledge to ensure all the processes within an organization run smoothly on the IT front.

5. Customized professional concentration

Due to the nature of the business field, customized professional concentrations are possible in many universities. This is a concentration where students can choose what they want to specialize in based on their career goals. Students combine learning about basic business concepts with developing their original research in a program like this.

What to Expect in a DBA Program?

Students who pursue a DBA degree are in for an exceptional learning experience. A DBA program incorporates all the best learning methods such as advanced teaching, training, practical work, and research.

How is a DBA program organized?

Generally, there are two stages to a DBA program:

  1. First, during this stage, students learn about specific subjects. The learning methods applied during this stage include advanced teaching techniques, training, and practical work.
  2. Second, during this stage, students get to put the knowledge and skills they gained during the first stage into practice for their independent research, a.k.a doctoral thesis.

Most DBA programs offer classes in:

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  • Business and management theory
  • Research principles and philosophies
  • Research methods and design
  • Contemporary issues and concerns

Skills you get in a DBA program

Enrolling in a DBA program is an excellent way to gain specialized knowledge and develop advanced skills applicable to the field of business administration, such as problem-solving and research skills.

Is a DBA Worth It?

Pursuing a doctoral degree, whether a DBA or a Ph.D., is a choice one makes based on personal preferences and circumstances. A DBA degree requires time, effort, and money, and that is why not everyone has the means to pursue it. However, a dedication this great is bound to produce a sweet reward. In the case of a DBA, the reward presents itself professionally and financially.

What Is the Difference Between DBA and Ph.D.?

A DBA and a Ph.D. are the same in the sense that both are doctorates, so the one who obtains either degree is referred to by the title “Dr.” However, a DBA and a Ph.D. are significantly different in terms of course content and manner of study. A DBA and a Ph.D. differ in:

  1. Subject- one can obtain a DBA in the business management field only. At the same time, a Ph.D. is a doctoral degree offered in many other fields in addition to that of business management.
  2. Research topics- a DBA focuses more on how research can be used in regard to business issues, whereas Ph.D. candidates usually propose an original research topic.
  3. Tuition fees- a Ph.D. is more affordable than a DBA.
  4. Entry requirements- students who apply for a Ph.D. must hold an undergraduate and postgraduate degree, whereas those who apply for a DBA must hold an MBA and relevant work experience.

People choose to pursue a DBA degree for many reasons. A DBA program can be just what you need to broaden your knowledge of the field, provide opportunities for different career paths, and set you apart from others when you decide to join the workforce for good.