Congratulations on your MBA. That is a significant investment of time, effort, and money which should return rewards of increase opportunities and career advancement. Here’s the next step-up from the MBA.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, MBA degree programs produced the largest number of graduates of any programs in the entire USA for the last five years. The total MBAs awarded in 2016 (the latest data from NCES) were 186,834. Education degrees were second, with the MEd at 145,781, and in third place was health and related programs with 110,348 master’s-level graduates. This data from more than 4,500 degree-granting schools in the U.S. has interesting implications.

All three concentrations cited above also awarded the highest academic credential: doctorates. In 2016 health and related programs produced 73,682 doctorates, education produced 11,829 doctorates, and business produced 3,323 doctorates.

Let’s look at the percentage of doctorates compared to the number of master’s degrees awarded for a better comparison. The health and related programs produced doctorates at the rate of 66.7%; education produced at 8.1%; and business produced doctorates at the regrettably low rate of 1.8% (even with rounding up).

What do these results imply for these professions? Health and related programs produced MDs, DDs, ODs, and so on, because a doctoral degree is the expected credential required for licensure and practice in this field. Education doctorates are more focused on teachers who want higher compensation, a requirement for administrative jobs, and college teaching.  But business education normally stops with the MBA, which is generally recognized as the top of the professional business ladder. So, the erroneous belief exists that obtaining a doctorate in business means training to be a college professor. Not so, but this fallacy may explain the low production of business doctorates.

The development of business leaders and upgraded managers has been left behind by this antiquated thinking. The truth is that the advanced skills needed in the competitive business world include the ability for analysis, synthesis, and application of sound business concepts to solve current business problems.  Business now has its very own applied doctorate, the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). The DBA is focused on applied practical preparation that expands skills beyond the MBA. Even the capstone doctoral project (the applied dissertation) focuses on applying the latest management theories and practices to solve current pressing problems.

With more than 186,000 new MBAs conferred annually and only a handful of business doctorates, it is obvious that those MBAs with the foresight to earn a DBA will have the field to themselves.

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University Founder & President Emeritus

About Dr. Donald “Doc” Hecht — Doc is an Educator, University Founder, and President Emeritus writing and discussing the trends and challenges facing higher, online, and distance education, among other topics. Please feel free to comment, make suggestions, or ask any questions! You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

One Reply to “What Comes After the MBA?”

  1. Thank you Dr. Happy to hear from the founder. I am an Alumina of the DBA program, it is rewarding.

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