• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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The PhD versus DBA debate: Equipping the next generation of business leaders

The PhD versus DBA debate: Equipping the next generation of business leaders

By Sir Kingsley Ndubueze Ayozie

For ambitious professionals seeking the pinnacle of business education, the choice between a PhD and a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) can be a perplexing one. Both represent the highest academic achievement, demanding years of dedication and rigorous research. However, a closer look reveals a crucial distinction: the PhD’s focus on theoretical knowledge versus the DBA’s emphasis on practical application.

The Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) degree and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Business Administration degree are both doctoral-level research degrees in the field of business administration, and they require the holder to use the title “Dr” after his or her name upon successful completion of their studies, which involve both coursework, fieldwork, and research. In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, I firmly believe the DBA emerges as the superior choice for aspiring leaders seeking to make a tangible impact.

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However, both degrees are designed for different objectives, as captured below in this write-up.

A PhD certificate stands as a beacon of scholarly excellence, a testament to one’s unwavering commitment to the pursuit of knowledge. It represents more than just a piece of paper; it symbolises a journey of intellectual discovery and a relentless quest for understanding. Rooted in the tradition of academia, a PhD is a gateway to a world of deep inquiry and rigorous exploration, where the boundaries of human understanding are pushed ever further. From the hallowed halls of universities to the corridors of research institutions, holders of a PhD certificate are revered as the vanguards of wisdom, entrusted with the sacred duty of advancing the frontiers of human knowledge. It is a credential coveted by those who aspire to ascend the ranks of academia, to stand among the esteemed ranks of professional researchers and scholars within the ivory towers, shaping the minds of future generations and leaving an indelible mark on the tapestry of human intellect.

 “In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, I firmly believe the DBA emerges as the superior choice for aspiring leaders seeking to make a tangible impact.”

While the PhD equips scholars to delve into the theoretical underpinnings of business, its emphasis on pure research can feel removed from the everyday challenges faced by business leaders. The DBA, on the other hand, bridges this gap by applying rigorous research methodologies to real-world problems. Whenever a DBA student tackles a persistent issue within his or her organisation, such as optimising supply chains or streamlining marketing strategies, his or her research is not confined to dusty archives; it is conducted in the trenches, analysing real data and proposing solutions with immediate applicability. This practical approach not only yields valuable contributions to the field but also hones the critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential for navigating the complexities of the modern business world.

Further to the above, a DBA certificate equips the candidate further for a research-intensive career.

The ivory towers of academia have their place, but the battlefield of business demands a different breed of scholar – one equipped to not only analyse problems but also translate knowledge into action.

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The Doctorate in Business Administration equips professionals with the research acumen to delve deep into complex issues and the practical toolkit to design and implement effective solutions. It fosters a culture of innovation by challenging conventional thinking and encouraging graduates to experiment with new ideas. This approach empowers them to become not just observers, but architects of change within their organisations, leading the charge towards a more efficient, sustainable, and competitive future.

For those ambitious professionals seeking not just to understand the business world but to actively shape its future, the DBA stands as the undisputed champion. By honing their critical thinking, problem-solving, and leadership skills, DBA graduates are prepared to navigate the ever-evolving business landscape and make a lasting impact on their organisations and the broader industry.


Compiled and written by Sir Kingsley Ndubueze Ayozie FCTI, FCA