If you want to pursue a successful managerial career, going for a higher degree in management is certainly an advantageous step. In this regard, a professional doctoral degree in business administration opens new doors of research with diverse career opportunities. But, most of the time, people ask what is the major difference between a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) or a PhD in Management.

So, should you earn a DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) or a PhD in Management?


Well, it essentially depends on your career goals. Both the terminal degrees are extremely valued in the business world. However, the DBA degree is still less explored and little known and understood. A DBA degree majorly focuses on delivering the practical as well as ground-breaking business management acquaintance which can apply to any workplace.

Generally, DBAs are planned for qualified practitioners like senior managers, advisers and entrepreneurs who wish to upgrade and refine their practical aptitudes. On the other hand, a PhD in Business Administration offers someone with a specialised along with research-based context for a topic in the business management.

The Major Differences Between DBA & PhD in Management

The Target Groups

If we talk about the target groups, both degrees address different target groups. In PhD, candidates often come directly from the university and start the PhD after graduating. On the other hand, candidates usually pursue a DBA when they are successful in business already for several years and look for a new intellectual encounter. Generally, DBA candidates often have an MBA degree as well.

Research and Career Outcomes

Well, the chief difference between the DBA and the PhD degree deals with the kind of training and research candidates are expected to conduct. In a PhD, the degree experience frequently comes with opportunities that the candidate will go into the academic profession upon graduation. Students are majorly trained to become professors, teachers and researchers. On the other hand, a DBA student is frequently a cutting-edge, high-achieving business expert who expects to continue staying professionally engaged in operating businesses. The DBA degree is planned to make professionals in evidenced-based business problem solving.

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Curriculum Differences

Needless to say, in both the degrees, the coursework or the curriculum will help you develop a better understanding of the basics, theories, research, and expansions within the field of business, management as well as leadership. But it doesn’t mean it has no difference. A PhD in Management curriculum includes the evolution of the field of business management with its association with human and societal growth.

In contrast, DBA degree curriculum includes effective solutions to intricate and real-world problems common to the practice of business and management. It also includes the use of existing research and literature to practical problems found in business and structural management.

Career Differences

Well, these degrees typically take somewhat different career paths. For example:

A PhD Careers include –

  • University teaching
  • Professional researcher
  • Consulting
  • Upper-level public policymaking
  • Leadership
  • Policy advocate 

A PhD Careers include –

  • Organizational leadership
  • Upper-level corporate policymaking
  • Consulting
  • Entrepreneur/business owner
  • College and university teaching 

Now, if you ask about the entry requirements, DBAs are planned for experienced practitioners. Also, the DBA graduates earn more than business management PhD graduates, typically.

To End With

Well, if you are an expert already and if you want to progress to the higher ranks, you can choose to pursue a DBA instead. Our online professional doctorate programs in business are internationally accredited. We have especially planned the degree for working professionals seeking to advance their education as well as careers.

Best of luck in your hunt for the degree!

Written By : Elizabeth Garcia