The business world is constantly evolving, and key leadership skills involve keeping up to date with effective methods and holding an attitude for lifelong learning. Extending your higher education and earning a doctorate degree can advance your academic skills and help you exceed in your profession. A DBA can open many doors to new opportunities and let you take charge of your career.

So, what does this degree look like?  

What is a DBA? 

A Doctor of Business Administration is an applied degree designed to support the growth and development of business leaders. This degree is recognized as the highest qualification in business administration. The DBA has the same status as a Ph.D., though there are major differences in program structure. The Ph.D. in business works with existing theories, whereas the DBA applies theories and develops skills to put into practice. 

DBAs are required for those who wish to become university professors or postdoctoral researchers. Additionally, the degree provides job opportunities outside of academia as well, for consultants, business leaders, and entrepreneurs. Earning a doctorate degree also awards an individual the title of doctor or abbreviated “Dr.” which is a huge honor and accomplishment on its own.   

Learners in doctoral programs study management theory and applications in business. They also choose a specialization such as Finance, Marketing, and other business endeavors. Students participate in extensive research that applies to strategic decisions in the real-world.  

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DBA candidates must submit an ambitious project, known as a dissertation or doctoral project which is original academic research published in a peer-reviewed journal. Before earning their degree after approximately 4 years in the program, candidates must brave doctoral examiners and defend their projects to gain their titles.  

Earning a DBA can take up to seven years, though the average completion time is 3.5 years. This timeline depends on your current profession and other obligations. Full-time students can take several courses each semester, while part-time students take one to three courses per term.  

In addition to coursework, the dissertation or doctoral project takes a significant amount of time. Depending on the resources needed to complete a project, students often spend between 12 and 18 months to write it. Finding data or completing research also takes a significant investment, as well as the organizations you work within the process. Collaborating with the assigned doctoral committee will streamline the process and there are doctoral mentors available for hire as well. 

The purpose of a DBA is to contribute to business theory and extend professional knowledge in business. Candidates typically have backgrounds in positions related to the specialization they choose. DBA candidates can specialize in entrepreneurship, finance, human resources, healthcare administration, information technology management, and similar topics.  

The Benefits of Obtaining a DBA 

A DBA offers specialized skills for professionals who pursue roles in executive leadership in various industries. Holding this degree allows graduates to hold leadership positions at the executive level, to take on more responsibility in other leadership roles, and address unpredictable situations in the workplace. A DBA program also gives opportunities to learn new management techniques and research methods. 

Since the doctorate degree involves a great deal of research, students gain substantial knowledge in their chosen field based on the topic presented for their dissertation or project. Earning this degree brings leaders to the next level in their careers. Skills in writing, research, and problem-solving are enhanced in the DBA program, which proves graduates to be exceptional in their field.  

Another benefit of obtaining a Doctorate in Business Administration is applying existing knowledge in a new setting, expanding a professional’s ability to adapt to new environments. Students can enhance their applied knowledge as well as their research knowledge, both of which complement the other. Graduates with a DBA hold highly dynamic skills that open unseen professional doors. The program also offers significant networking opportunities, allowing students to increase career opportunities as well as business partnerships. Studying alongside like-minded individuals also increases the likelihood of program success. 

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Apply the DBA to Your Career  

A Doctor of Business opens a variety of career opportunities. This degree allows you to possibly oversee major corporations, interact with international companies, and teach business courses for universities or colleges. Becoming an executive for a multi-billion corporation, you run the day-to-day business operations. Being a professor, you get to work closely with college students furthering their education in business.  

In addition, positions held by those with a DBA can range from senior managerial consultant, marketing director, CFO, operations management, and other upper managerial positions. 

Job responsibilities vary depending on the chosen career path. Professionals working in management or executive positions enhance the operations of the business. DBA graduates develop innovative strategies, creative initiatives, insightful solutions, or ambitious goals to enhance business results. These positions have qualities of leadership and strong problem-solving skills.  

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As a business professor, Drs of Business Administration can teach a range of classes from business administration, finance, accounting, economics, and marketing. Professors who divide their time between teaching and researching also guide graduate students in their research projects. Professors are expected to contribute to the overall business field by reviewing research papers, attending business conferences, and helping other business professionals.  

Those with doctorate degrees and other professional degrees earn a higher salary than even those with PhDs. Doctoral degrees require a significant investment of time and effort, which sets graduates apart from most applicants in upper management and C-Suite executive roles. The DBA proves that recipients have the skills to succeed in top positions. 

Depending on the level of experience and responsibility within the organization, salaries for executive and managerial positions vary but remain highly competitive. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that chief executives earn a median salary of $189,600. The median salary of other related operations is $100,930 (2018).  

Professors are paid according to their ranking within their field. Members who are on the tenure-track are paid on a sliding scale from making their way up from an instructor to a tenured professor. Post-secondary business teachers earn a median of $83,960. Some professors also take on additional work to earn more income such as consulting, writing a book, or teaching classes at multiple institutions.  

A doctorate degree better compensates in other ways in addition to salary, earning preferred health and dental insurance, competitive retirement plans, signing bonuses, and more. 

Is the DBA Worth It?  

While the DBA is a huge time, effort, and money commitment, it pays off financially as well as professionally and personally by offering unique and prestigious job titles, responsibilities, and benefits. Those with professional degrees report high levels of job and life satisfaction as well.  

DBA programs set students up for real-world, business-oriented skills and thinking. Earning this degree helps students gain more knowledge in business research, theories, development, and application. Graduates also become experts in a specialized field, which allows them to make strong decisions and qualifies them for upper-level leadership positions with more growth opportunities.  

The MBA still holds significant prestige, though a DBA acts as the next step in business leadership. There are many online opportunities to earn a DBA that can work around your current job so as not to interrupt your ongoing initiatives. CalSouthern’s DBA program works to complement workplace experience in order to show immediate value to learners. 

All college and university DBA programs are different; however, students are all working towards this special goal. At CalSouthern, we offer a vast selection of subjects and topics in leadership, technology management, statistics, organizational development, and more. Some of our courses include Managerial Economics, Business Research Methods, Consumer Behavior Theory, Analysis, and other business-related classes. The Doctoral courses are to help students gain more knowledge and expertise in the highest academic level.  

This degree is the highest educational challenge available. Whether you want to continue your current career path or launch your own business, a DBA will ensure you are ready for the next challenge. If you’re ready to start earning your DBA, click here!


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.

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