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Short facts

DBA is the abbreviation for Doctor of Business Administration, a professional doctorate that is equivalent in status and challenge to the PhD, though more suited for managers not longing for an academic career.

A DBA is usually seen as the highest level of academic achievement for today's managers and is thus ranked over the well-known MBA.

The DBA was once established at Harvard University and is mainly offered at Anglo-American Universities. Though, there has been a strong increase by other institutions worldwide - similar to the MBA over the last two decades.

Just like the PhD, the goal of the DBA is the completion of an original piece of academic research - though with likely more practical focus for the benefit of both, academia and the business world.

In general, DBA courses are offered as part-time courses. Thus, it is intended that students work in their management job and study at the same time.

The duration of the programs vary between 3-4 years, though, depending on the institutions rules and regulations these can be extended in most cases up to even 7-8 years.

Main target group for a DBA program are middle- and top-management executives, who have already earned their Masters or MBA degree.

Quality of teaching, student support by the academic office and the international mindset or seniority of student bodies differ greatly from institution to institution. Thus, it is recommended to research well before signing up for a professional doctorate journey that takes many years.
DBA vs MBA vs PhD - explaining the differences

Often, managers realize that they have only few options to advance in their career - they can work hard and smart for many years and climb up the ranks of the company, switch their employer to find better challenges or try to get a postgraduate degree. However, in today's business world, many managers have already earned a postgraduate degree - likely a Master or most probably the worldwide known MBA.

Thus, a manager might find him- or herself left without a new challenge ahead. One, that gives the edge to pursue new heights, conquer the top management circle or maybe just focus on a real business problem from an academic view point - as this might have been a passion before.

Here, the DBA offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience and solution. It is the highest possible academic achievement for a manager, who does not wish to pursue an academic career necessarily. Compared to a PhD, which requires students to make a significant contribution to the world of academia and to drop out from the management career for many years, the DBA asks students to contribute to professional practice, while staying on the job.

Both research degrees confer the title "Dr" and hence managers receive the highest form of credibility as part of their name (please be aware that certain local or national, legal restrictions still apply).
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Big myhths

Myth 1: "The DBA title is worldwide standardized and qualitatively comparable throughout the world"

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Similar to the MBA programs of today, the quality of Doctor of Business Administration courses varies to a great extent. Thus, do your research well when you are thinking about pursuing a DBA.

In order to find a quality-driven program, you might like to consider the
DBA ranking of DBAstudies.com, however, please also consider personal visits to your 2-3 most favorite universities. Talk to the professors, the administration staff and get your very personal opinion - no ranking will be better than your very own.

Myth 2: "As the DBA program originated at Harvard University, the university's DBA is a part-time program as well."

The Harvard DBA is a full-time program and although routes trace back to Harvard, today's program differs widely from the rest of the DBA studies out there. In fact, it is one of the few DBA courses worldwide, which can not be studied part-time. Locate your DBA course

Myth 3: "A DBA title can be studied for free."

Universities and institutions offering DBA courses usually rely on the fees associated with taken a DBA. Similar to the MBA a few decades ago, the DBA will be a major source of income for most institutions in the years to come to cover their costs in providing highest academic support. As with most things in life - nothing comes for free.