DBA vs. PhD
While both are rigorous, doctoral-level programs that involve understanding advanced concepts and conducting research, the Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) and PhD in Business/PhD in Economics programs differ greatly in their focus, candidate profile and career outcomes.
They both require the candidate to learn how to conduct and communicate academic research findings in the field of business and involve the creation and presentation of a doctoral dissertation, based on a topic chosen in collaboration with academic faculty.
The primary difference between the DBA and the PhD has to do with the type of training and research students expected to perform. The classic PhD comes with expectations that candidate will enter into the academic profession upon graduation. They are essentially training to become professional scholars, teachers and researchers. Traditionally, PhD programs in business focus on the development of new theory and prepare candidates for careers in academia, teaching and conducting highly specialized scholarly research. PhDs may also become senior researchers in government and some corporations.
A DBA candidate is most often an advanced, high-achieving business practitioner from the within the business field who expects to remain professionally engaged in operating companies. The DBA’s research focus, as well as training, is designed to make create experts in evidenced-based business problem solving. An ideal DBA candidate is someone who focuses on hands-on business impact first, informed by advanced data-driven analytic techniques. DBA programs focus more in their coursework on the application of theory than the creation of new theory – lending the DBA to a more practical application in managerial settings than the PhD. The DBA is designed to provide business professionals and executives with advanced research skills and the tools they need to be successful in their careers.
In its simplest form, PhD candidates research and create and test theories, while DBA candidates use those theories and processes to solve complex, real-world business problems.