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Executive Doctorate Business Student in class at Drexel LeBow

The PhD in Business/PhD in Economics and the Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) are rigorous, doctoral-level programs that involve understanding advanced business concepts and conducting academic research. They also require candidates to learn how to communicate research findings, as they must each create and present a doctoral dissertation.

However, while having some similarities, the PhD and DBA programs differ greatly in their focus, candidate profile and career outcomes. Learn more below.

Please note, the Drexel LeBow Executive Doctorate in Business Administration is open to domestic students only.

PhD vs. DBA: Research and Career Outcomes

The primary difference between the PhD and DBA degree programs has to do with the type of training and research expected of students. Traditional PhD candidates usually plan to enter the academic profession upon graduation, so they are essentially training to become professional scholars, teachers and researchers. PhD programs in business administration, specifically, often focus on the development of new theories and prepare candidates for careers in academia, teaching and conducting highly specialized scholarly research. PhD graduates may also become senior researchers in government and select corporations.

Conversely, a DBA candidate is most often an advanced, high-achieving business practitioner from within the business field; they typically expect to remain professionally engaged in operating companies. The DBA’s research focus and training are designed to create experts in evidence-based business problem-solving.

In its simplest form, PhD candidates research, create and test theories, while DBA candidates use those theories and processes to solve complex, real-world business problems.

Are you interested in a PhD? Learn more about Drexel LeBow’s PhD programs and how they prepare candidates for academia through rigorous training in research methods, theory and quantitative analysis.

Are you interested in a DBA? An ideal DBA candidate is someone who focuses on hands-on business impacts first, informed by advanced data-driven analytic techniques. This coursework focuses more on the application of theory than on the creation of new theory — lending the DBA to a more practical application in managerial settings than the PhD. The DBA experience is designed to provide business professionals and executives with advanced research skills and the tools they need to be successful in their careers.

Overall, if you’re interested in applying data and research to solve business problems, a DBA degree may be the best fit for you. We invite you to  request more information  from our advising and admissions teams.

Connect with Us

For more information or questions about Drexel LeBow's DBA program, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.

Mark Dierkes

Director of Recruitment

(215) 571-3272

Gerri C. LeBow Hall 424