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DBA vs PhD in Business Administration

Executive Doctorate Business Student in class at Drexel LeBow

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.

DBA vs PhD - Research and Career Outcomes

The primary difference between the DBA and the PhD degree programs has to do with the type of training and research students expected to perform. The classic PhD degree experience 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 administration focus on the development of new theory and prepare candidates for careers in academia, teaching and conducting highly specialized scholarly research. PhD graduates may also become senior researchers in government and some corporations.

Conversely, an Executive 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.

Overall, if applications of data and research to solve business problems interests you, consider a DBA degree. Students can request more information from our Advising and Admissions teams.

PhD in Business Administration - Degree Benefits

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.

Doctor of Business Administration - Degree Benefits

An ideal Executive DBA candidate is someone who focuses on hands-on business impact first, informed by advanced data-driven analytic techniques. Doctorate degree programs, including the Drexel DBA program, 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 program experience is designed to provide business professionals and executives with advanced research skills and the tools they need to be successful in their careers.

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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

2 West Liberty Blvd. (Malvern, PA) 203