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Thread: Thoughts on DBAs?

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    Thoughts on DBAs?

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    Its only been a few weeks since I submitted my applications for a few local Management PhD programs, and I've heard crickets so far. Which isn't surprising considering my GMAT and undergrad GPA weren't the best.

    Anyway, presuming I am all but dinged, I have given some thought to pursuing a DBA instead, which there are a couple of these programs somewhat nearby me (I am staying "local" which is why the PhD programs I applied to were limited as well) that seem like they may place ok at non-research oriented AACSB business schools.

    What is the reputation of AACSB accredited DBA programs? I imagine they are viewed as inferior to business PhD's in academia at research universities. But if the goal would be to go work at a teaching school at some point down the line, would a DBA make you a competitive applicant?

    One thing that I do like about the DBA from what I have read is that they are more geared toward working professionals so that they can be pursued while holding down a full time job. Which my current career is very flexible and pays well, so it may be doable.

    Thanks for your input.


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    Re: Thoughts on DBAs?

    some DBAs are due to naming conventions. Harvard Business School confers DBA as PhD can only be awarded by The Graduate School.

    for non research oriented schools, placing in industry research roles might be easier than academic research positions.

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    Re: Thoughts on DBAs?

    It sounds like you are talking about DBAs at lower ranked schools. I don't know a ton about them, but there are a couple things worth mentioning.

    1. If your goal is to teach with it, make sure that it will make you academically qualified for AACSB purposes. That will seriously affect the job options you have. Ask for a detailed list of placements.

    2. You may be better off with an MBA and just being professionally qualified to teach if that is your goal. I can't imagine that you learn to conduct much research there. I may be a little biased, but a part time, 4 year program isn't going to teach you anywhere near as much as the very full time 5 year programs at research schools.

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    Re: Thoughts on DBAs?

    Thanks for the input. Yeah I am talking DBAs at lower ranked schools like Kennesaw State, Southern Alabama, Cleveland State, Louisiana Tech, Creighton. These programs are all AACSB accredited whereas I see a lot of unaccredited DBA's being offered by University of Phoenix type places, which I would not consider.

    From looking around at faculty online, it seems like the general minimum requirement to be an assistant non-TT professor on up at a lower ranked teaching school is "MBA+terminal degree in any somewhat related concentration". More than likely its MBA+EdD. I don't think I would do an EdD, and I have doubts that my MBA alone would get me into an assistant professor or better role at any point in the near future. I don't think I'll be able to give up my day job anytime soon now so this is why the DBA seems like it would make sense to me since it would qualify me to work at a teaching school without having to give up my day job like a PhD would require.
    Last edited by phd2017; 03-07-2017 at 04:43 AM.

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    Re: Thoughts on DBAs?

    In my opinion, if you are interested in lower ranked (or unranked) teaching schools afterwards, an AACSB DBA is a great option. I know a lot of smaller private colleges where the business profs have DBAs and have a similar career trajectory as you.

    They can be worth it, and if they are AACSB accredited they have a better chance of being worth it, but most of these will generally cost you, rather than being paid to do it like most PhD programs. If you're cool with the cost (which is likely not nominal), it could be a good fit for you.

    If you do decide to go down this route, please consider dropping by the site every now and then. It would be interesting to get someone's perspective from the inside of one of these programs. I think a lot of us on here tend to be academic elites, but there are plenty of jobs out there for DBA's and I'd love to learn more about how those programs work. Good luck!
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    Re: Thoughts on DBAs?

    Thanks, sounds like a DBA may not be that bad of a way for me to go then, and may be a better fit than if I had done a full time PhD. One of my biggest concerns about the full time PhD programs I applied to this cycle was the fact that I would have significantly less income coming in for 5-6 years which was a bit daunting at this point in my life. And as much as I like the business research I am conducting in my current MBA program, the amount you guys do in full time business PhD programs seems a bit overwhelming to even think about.

    As far as DBA costs, I would limit my choices to those programs that would cost no more than 50-60k total in tuition, which limits my options significantly. One of the programs in that price range is about a 2 hour drive one way but is in the evenings on weekdays which may make it hard with work even with my very flexible schedule. This would probably be my best option though because the program could be completed over a longer 5-6 year time frame so program costs would be spread out so that I would only be paying around 10-12k per year for the program, while I continue to work and bring in a good income. The others would require flying and lodging costs which would probably run around 15-20k on top of tuition.

    Yeah I'll definitely give an update if I decide to pursue it. I can't seem to find anywhere else where DBA programs are discussed so may as well start it up here.

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    Re: Thoughts on DBAs?

    I am interested in this topic as well, as I know I want to begin work on a terminal degree in the near future, yet am having difficulty deciding whether I want to apply to a DBA program or go the more traditional PhD route. For a while, I was leaning toward a PhD simply because I couldn't find a DBA program that met my three main personal requirements, with those requirements being 1) AACSB accreditation, 2) near enough to me that travel expenses would not be prohibitive, and 3) not targeted exclusively at executives. Recently, however, I came across a new DBA program (2017 will be the first cohort) at University of North Carolina - Charlotte.

    The program at Charlotte appears high quality, and in my mind there would be several advantages to pursuing a DBA. Perhaps the biggest of these is that I could complete it in three years as opposed to the four or five that a PhD program would require. Also, while such a degree would not allow for a tenure track position at a research university, it would carry with it a flexibility that it would enable me to either to get a position at a teaching university (my primary goal at this point) or to work as an industry practitioner.

    My biggest questions center around just how differently a DBA is perceived in academia than a PhD. Because UNC Charlotte's program is new, it is impossible to evaluate in terms of placements. Does anyone have any guesses as to what kinds of colleges one might be able to teach at with this degree? Is it something I could use to get a tenure track position at an AACSB accredited (teaching) university? I know that DBAs are technically considered to be academically equivalent to PhDs, but my worry is that they might be perceived within academia as something of a PhD-lite. Any input on these questions would be greatly appreciated, as I am struggling to weigh the pros and cons of the two alternate paths.

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    Re: Thoughts on DBAs?

    I've started to do some research looking at faculty background at non-research schools and it seems to me like it can be all over the board. I see full time faculty with maybe an MBA and a PhD in a non-business related field like psychology, or MBA/CPAs. And you'll see some DBAs. What I've realized is because there are not that many business PhD's from AACSB institutions coming out every year, there is a big gap between the qualifications of faculty at the big AACSB research schools and smaller teaching schools that may not be accredited or just have regional accreditation. And among the teaching schools the qualifications for faculty can vary widely.

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