Should I Get a DBA or a PhD?

Congratulations on deciding to pursue a graduate degree! This is a big decision. One that requires time, commitment, and money. Deciding which program is right for you is another big decision that should not be taken lightly.

There are so many graduate programs to choose from. Here, we will take a look at the differences between a DBA and PhD. Below are generalities, as there will always be exceptions as to an individual’s desired outcomes.

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) students are typically:

  • Already successful in business, or looking to become more successful in their chosen field
  • Looking for a new intellectual challenge
  • Want to further distinguish themselves from colleagues and peers
  • Interested in management research and may have a practical research question in mind
  • Choosing dissertations that provide benefits to their companies and industries for practical, real-world application
  • Able to access data in their own businesses due to established connections and networks
  • Choosing to stay as working professionals in their field and want to remain in the business world after graduation. They may also teach as guest professors, teach at smaller schools, and publish in practitioner focused journals.
  • Taught in a hybrid learning approach
  • More practitioner based

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students are typically:

  • Earning a PhD to become a full-time professor at a research based institution
  • Motivated to become an academic and do research
  • Moving directly from an undergraduate degree to a PhD program
  • Focused on academics and usually have minimal work experience
  • Able to have less access to research data since they usually do not have access to organizations
  • Primarily focused on doing research, publishing in academic journals or books, and teaching
  • Often taught entirely in person
  • More theory based

After further exploring the differences between a DBA and a PhD program, I hope you will find that the Doctor of Business Administration Program at Concordia University Wisconsin is the right program for you.

— Dr. Jennifer Knowles, serves as assistant professor of business in the DBA program at Concordia University Wisconsin-Ann Arbor.

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