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7 Reasons to Choose a DBA Over a Ph.D. in Business Management


( 21, 2020)--There has always been a certain kudos around studying for a Ph.D. The ability to earn the title of “Doctor” is an appealing one for many. However, you need to consider whether this is the right choice for you and your career aspirations or whether it is merely a way to boost your ego and appear more qualified. 

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Traditionally a Ph.D. is studied by those who wish to excel in an academic career. For example, becoming a lecturer or working in a research institute. 

However, a DBA is an ideal choice for those who see themselves as the business leaders of tomorrow. Those you want to be seen as forward-thinking and innovative in their ability to lead a team.

Plus, you will also be able to call yourself a “Doctor”! 

Intrigued to learn more about the benefits of a Doctor of Business Administration degree? 

From the accelerated career growth to the highly sought-after practical skills you will learn, keep reading to find out the top 7 reasons why you should choose a DBA degree over a Ph.D. in Business and get started on your journey to a more rewarding career today.

What is a DBA degree?

For those of you that do not already know, a DBA, or Doctor of Business Administration degree is a research doctorate awarded based on advanced study and research in business administration. 

In academic terms, a DBA is equivalent to a Ph.D., yet there are several key differences between the two qualifications. Namely that a DBA includes more taught modules and practical training than a Ph.D., which focuses more on independent academic research. 

A DBA degree can help you to learn how to:

  • Evaluate current and emerging business theories and practices
  • Formulate effective solutions to current challenges that businesses face 
  • Apply current research to practical problems in business and leadership roles 
  • Evaluate research in business and management 
  • Implement positive change in the workplace through the acquisition of business and management knowledge 
  • Apply professional business ethics to the workplace 

What is a Ph.D. in Business Management? 

A Ph.D. in Business Management is the highest academic degree awarded for the study of management science. It is designed for those who wish to seek out academic research and teaching careers within the study of management. 

Many people who undertake this degree program enter careers at either university as researchers or professors, or as consultants within businesses or government agencies.  

Why choose a DBA over a Ph.D. in Business? 

  1. A DBA focuses on experience over education 

If you are already an experienced professional within your industry and have lots of hands-on experience within your field but are looking to further distinguish yourself from other employees within your organization, then a DBA degree could be the right choice for you. 

With the opportunity to focus on a specific doctoral degree that you can directly apply to your current workplace, a DBA degree offers you the opportunity to provide your employer with a clear and evident benefit, showcasing yourself as a valuable employee and a substantial investment for the future. 

A Ph.D., however, is more suited to those who have just finished university and are keen to continue their studies before finding a position within the academic world. 

  1. A DBA is less financially demanding 

The majority of Ph.D.’s in Business are fulltime, and therefore, those who choose this type of degree program will have to forgo work for a substantial length of time. 

However, if you choose to undertake a DBA degree, you will be able to study on a part-time basis. This means that you can continue to work in your current position while improving upon your business skills, as well as having the ability to immediately start implementing what you are learning to your place of employment. 

Aston University offers Aston Online DBA degree programs that are flexible and that allow you to pay for your tuition in installments if necessary, making this further education option accessible and affordable to anyone. 

  1. A DBA will give you access to unique business information 

If you are keen to extend your knowledge of an industry and want to be partial to critical trends and information that others are not, then a DBA can help you achieve this. 

Many DBA degree programs offer their students the chance to access unique and confidential data relating to their industry, which can be invaluable in creating crucial insights into your specific business sector. 

A Ph.D., however, will require you to carry out your own research, building up databases from scratch, and processing your own data. Although this can be beneficial, it is better suited to those who have the time and the inclination to do this, rather than those who are seeking to improve upon their practical business skills quickly and effectively.

  1. A DBA can be completed in less time

Many people who choose to study a Ph.D. in Business have yet to establish themselves in the world of work, and therefore, they are happy to invest a long period in their studies. Demographically speaking, many are in their 20s and have little in the way of experience in their preferred industry. 

A Ph.D. in Business can take nearly 6 years to complete, whereas a DBA degree can be achieved in under four, making it the optimal choice for those who are keen to progress within their career sooner rather than later. 

  1. A DBA can be about setting a personal challenge

If you are already secure and confident in your current professional role, but you fear becoming complacent or even bored in your daily working life, then a DBA is a great way to push yourself professionally and ensure that you stay motivated. 

Many professionals who choose to undertake a DBA already have an MBA and are keen to seek out a new challenge that will enable them to look at the world of business in a different light, focusing on combining research with current business challenges. 

On the other hand, a Ph.D. student will be keen to carve out a career within the academic sector rather than looking to improve upon their current position and their own self-development.

  1. A DBA can rapidly accelerate your career growth 

If you are already in a senior or executive management role within your company but would like to move even further up the career ladder, then a DBA degree program could be the perfect solution for you. 

A DBA will train you for senior leadership roles such as C-level and organizational management positions in corporations, non-profits, and government agencies. You will have the opportunity to choose your own specific niche, with popular options including:

  • Financial management 
  • Public administration 
  • Project management 
  • Marketing 
  1. A DBA can result in enhanced employee benefits 

A DBA degree will train you in advanced business studies and research that are vital for strategic planning and key decision-making practices, with both of these skills being highly sought after by today’s employers. 

By obtaining these crucial skills, you can prove your long-term value to your employer resulting in the strong possibility of a higher wage and improved employee benefits. 

What are the top DBA job opportunities? 

If you do choose to undertake a DBA degree program, the possibilities for your career are extensive. There are certain notable positions that many professionals choose to pursue once they have achieved their qualifications. 

These include:

Management Analyst

Also known as a management consultant, this role requires you to advise managers on how to improve their bottom line through cost reductions and increased revenue. 

Average salary: $83,610 

C-Level Executive

A C-level executive is responsible for the operational direction of a company, designing policies and strategies to drive a business forward and to ensure that they meet their set objectives. 

Average salary: $107,000 


If you are intrigued by economic trends and want to spend your days conducting research and performing data analysis to understand how society distributes its resources, then this could be the career path for you. 

Average salary: $97,000


Market Research Analyst 

Requiring you to explore which specific products or services people want and at what price, a market research analyst is the ideal career for those who have an analytic mind and an ability to handle data to work in quantitative research. 

Average salary: $63,120 but the highest 10% can earn over $120,000 per year 

Is a DBA the right choice for me? 

If you are looking to increase your knowledge within your particular industry, explore emerging business trends and technologies, learn how to formulate effective solutions, and hone your ability to influence your colleagues, then a DBA degree could be the ideal next step for you in your career. 

Let’s quickly recap all of the above so that you can be sure you make the right decision for your professional goals and aspirations:

  • A DBA focuses on work experience over education 
  • A DBA can dramatically and quickly accelerate your career 
  • A DBA focuses on practical skills 
  • A DBA will earn you the title of ‘Doctor.’
  • A DBA offers multiple career options 
  • A DBA provides skills that are in high demand 
  • A DBA is affordable 
  • A DBA is flexible and convenient