Doctor in Business Administration

Doctor in Business Administration
The degree of Doctor of Business Administration, abbreviated, (DBA) or (D.B.A.) and equivalent to (PhD in Business Administration), is a research doctorate in business administration. The D.B.A. requires coursework and research beyond the masters degree that normally results in a dissertation and possible journal publication that contributes to business practice.

Purpose and recognition

The D.B.A. is usually identical to a PhD in Business Administration, except that it tends more towards applied research rather than theoretical research, especially during the thesis writing phase. A few schools, such as Harvard Business School and Boston University School of Management, UK’s Liverpool University Management School offer D.B.A.

The portion of the program that consists of coursework may be comparable to that of a PhD.  However the larger part of the program, consisting of independent research and the writing of a thesis, is geared towards more applied research in D.B.A. programs, with the research making a direct contribution to business practice. Another way to see the distinction is that PhDs aim at the creation of new theory, while D.B.A.s aim at applying theory to business problems.


A typical D.B.A. program has a dual purpose: (1) to contribute to both theory and practice in relation to business and management; and (2) to develop professional practice and to contribute to professional knowledge. Both the D.B.A. and PhD in Business Administration are terminal degrees, allowing the recipient obtain a tenure-track position.

Notable persons with D.B.A. degrees
Robert F. Bruner – Dean Charles C. Abbott Professor of Business Administration and Distinguished Professor of Business Administration at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia
Clayton M. Christensen – Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School
Scott Cowen — president of Tulane University of Louisiana
Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries – Raoul de Vitry d’Avaucourt Professor of Leadership Development at INSEAD and director of the INSEAD Global Leadership Centre
CK Prahalad – Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Corporate Strategy at University of Michigan, Ross School of Business
Michael E. Raynor – Canadian management expert and consultant with Deloitte Consulting LLP, the Distinguished Fellow with Deloitte Research
Lenos Trigeorgis – Real options pioneer; Professor of finance, University of Cyprus
John Quelch – Dean, Vice President and Distinguished Professor of International Management at CEIBS, previously Senior Associate Dean and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School
Birger Wernerfelt – J. C. Penney Professor of Management and Chair of PhD Committee, MIT Sloan School of Management
Robert B. Wilson – Adams Distinguished Professor of Management, Emeritus, Graduate School of Business, and Professor of Economics (by courtesy), School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University

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