MBA vs. DBA: which program is right for you?

MBA vs. DBA: The difference between these two degrees

In today’s workplace, change is constant and decision-making skills are a must. As a professional, you might be looking for opportunities to grow the essential leadership skills needed to keep up with the demands of your industry. Both MBA and DBA programs are designed to help professionals level up their knowledge and skillset. But, what is the difference between these two degrees?


If you’re wanting to grow in your understanding of key business concepts, an MBA could be a great fit for you.

An MBA is a Master of Business Administration. Most MBA programs offer broad courses in management, such as entrepreneurship, accounting, statistics, economics, and communications. In fact, many programs have core courses that align to both the university’s philosophies as well as industry-required skills.

Additionally, some programs offer concentrations for you to specialize your skills. Then, outside of this core content, you can choose the path that best aligns with your goals. For example, Concordia University offers 14 specializations for the MBA program.

Why choose an MBA?

A degree can’t change your life all by itself. But, if you’re looking for ways to grow as a leader, an MBA requires you to dedicate time and energy to focus on business administration concepts that you can apply in the workplace. According to Investopedia, “An MBA can provide the skills and knowledge necessary to start a new business, and many employers require an MBA for certain management or leadership positions.” Having an MBA shows others that you’ve taken the time to focus on your professional growth and development. Also, if you choose to specialize in an area, that is one way to show your experience in a certain concentration.

The myth that you have to have an MBA to “make it” in business has been disproven, but there are still really good reasons to pursue your MBA.

Read more about those reasons here.



The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a terminal degree in business. A DBA is designed to build on top of what you’ve learned in your MBA program. So, in order to earn your DBA, you’ll need to have a master’s degree. Some programs might require prerequisites in order to make sure you’re ready for the content and research portions.

Each university will have its own take on the DBA curriculum. Commonly, you’ll find a core requirement, options for concentrations, and a research component. The concentration might seem unusual for a doctorate, but DBA Program Director Dr. Matt Hurtienne reflects on the importance of the DBA concentration:

“Why is having a concentration important? Becoming focused in our respective industries allows us to truly become subject matter experts and be viewed as a leader within our organization. A hospital administrator with a focus using safety and quality metrics to reduce incidents in the operating room is a very different focus than becoming a leading change management expert, consulting and leading organizations worldwide on intervention at the group, team, and individual levels. Both individuals may come from the Concordia University DBA program, and both will have very different impacts in their industries.”


Why choose a DBA?

If you’re wondering why you’d want to choose a DBA, one of the key benefits is the research component. Unlike a Ph.D., a DBA is practical by design. You’ll learn quantitative and qualitative research methods that will help you use data to solve everyday problems in the workplace. DBAs are often designed especially for working students. This means that you’ll be able to apply the theories you study in class to your workplace right away.


MBA vs. DBA: Understanding the difference

You can see that while the MBA and DBA cover similar content, these two degrees are for different stages of your professional development. Are you interested in learning more about earning your MBA? You can visit us here. Do you want more information about our DBA? Visit us here.



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