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What is Doctor of Business Administration? All you need to know

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24th Feb, 2023
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What is Doctor of Business Administration? All you need to know

Doctor of Business Administration, also known as DBA, is a relatively new degree designed specifically for individuals who want to expand their knowledge of business practices and pursue education further. Before we delve deeper into DBA’s nuances, let’s get to know its history first. 

The very prestigious Harvard Business School first offered a Doctor of Business Administration course in the early days of the 1950s. Since then, it has gained significant momentum among professionals who want to explore the different innovative solutions to some of the most common challenges faced by the business world. With the Indian entrepreneurship ecosystem skyrocketing to reach an unreal prominence globally, obtaining a degree as coveted as DBA can be a huge step towards establishing yourself in the dynamic business world.

Let’s explore everything one needs to know about DBA, its significance in the market, the courses covered under it and the potential opportunities awaiting skilled candidates in the domain. 

What is a Doctor Of Business Administration?

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is currently considered one of the highest postgraduate degrees, especially in academic management education. Simply put, a DBA is a follow-up course to an MBA, Master of Business Administration. It is a professional degree, meaning that if you wish to apply for this course, you need relevant experience and knowledge in business management. 

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Unlike most other degrees, like MBA or PhD in Business Administration covering general business management topics, a DBA targets individual areas of study. Their main focus is on the latest research and theories related to business. Thus, you can imagine this degree has a very niche audience. 

Why Should You Opt For A DBA Degree?

Before we discuss some of the standard topics that are usually included in most DBA programs, let’s look at some of the important benefits you can obtain from pursuing this degree. 

Advanced Skills and Techniques

With the right DBA course, you get to enjoy a first-hand experience with the latest innovative techniques and acquire advanced skills, which are beneficial, especially when applying for a job. Recruiters always look for candidates with in-demand knowledge and innovative skills, and that’s where a DBA graduate shines. 

Furthermore, DBA courses can be quite rigorous, and as stated earlier, it attracts a very niche audience base. Therefore, when you flaunt your degree in your resume, it will automatically create a positive impression in your recruiter’s mind, thus taking you one step further to gaining employment. 

Stand Out From the Crowd

DBA is a perfect choice for those who want to make it big in business management or leadership. Most DBA programs specialise in providing executives with advanced research skills and techniques required for strategic decision-making and planning. 

Furthermore, it also gives you a certain edge over other candidates, which will undoubtedly prove beneficial, especially when competing against hundreds of applicants at a job interview. 

Multiple Career Options

Yet another reason why you should opt for a DBA degree is that, with this course, you get to explore various career options across different fields, such as education, business, government or even healthcare. If you are interested in continuing your academic career, you also get the chance to apply for a researcher or consultant position. Thus, the options are endless. All you need to do is make a well-informed decision based on your preferences. 

Look at the diverse career options available after a candidate completes their DBA program.

  • Economist
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Professor
  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Business Consultant
  • Human Resource Director
  • Logistician
  • Organisational Development Manager
  • Entrepreneur

Lucrative Career

Lastly, companies are always looking for candidates with strong educational backgrounds. The more qualifications you have, the better your chances are of securing a senior-level position. Thus, adding a DBA degree to your resume will not only help you create a positive impression on the recruiter’s mind but also increase your chances of landing a high-paying job. Many big companies across the world usually are known to provide a six-figure package to candidates who meet these qualifications. 

Let’s look at the average salaries offered to diverse roles obtained after completing DBA.

RolesAverage Annual Salary (INR)
EconomistINR 700,073 
Chief Financial OfficerINR 3,501,051
ProfessorINR 1,000,467
Chief Executive OfficerINR 2,992,503
Business ConsultantINR 1,048,585
Human Resource DirectorINR 2,774,412
LogisticianINR 611,745
Organisational Development ManagerINR 1,311,313
Entrepreneur INR 600,000

Topics Covered in DBA

The following list contains some of the standard topics that are usually covered by most DBA programs. It is important to note that many DBA programs usually let the candidates incorporate specific areas they want to include in their research, thus creating a built-in concentration to meet all your needs. 


Accounting is usually one of the most common topics that you can find in most DBA programs. It covers areas of research that are required for being an analyst or chief financial officer, such as investments and taxes.

Healthcare Leadership

This mainly focuses on the different systems, laws and regulations currently followed by the healthcare industry. 


This includes in-depth knowledge of all the different types of the latest tools used by the finance industry for modelling and analysing. 

Business Management

This includes a study of the different methods for managing people and projects or implementing the necessary changes, especially beneficial for those who wish to apply for roles such as executive or consultant.

How To Select The Right DBA Specialisation?

Choosing the right DBA programme can be a bit tricky if you do not conduct your research well. For example, if you are a working professional hoping to apply for a DBA course, you can always opt for online DBA programs. That way, you can align your professional and personal goals.

Here are a few DBA specialisations:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • International Business
  • Human Resource Management
  • Marketing
  • Leadership
  • Project Management 
  • Accounting
  • Healthcare Management

Alternatively, you can also attend physical courses if you prefer face-to-face sessions over online DBA programs. Furthermore, there are also quite a few schools available that provide a mix of both online and physical, a hybrid mode of study for their applicants. 

However, making a choice for your DBA specialisation must rely on certain factors you must reassess before selecting. 

Duration of the Programme

Typically, the duration of a proper DBA programme should be three years since, unlike MBA, it is a full doctorate program targeting practitioners. Therefore, if you come across programmes that offer a less time frame, then you might need to reconsider. 

Design of the Programme

Another aspect to look out for is the design of the programme and what is its main focus. The ultimate aim of a DBA degree is to train students on the nuances of conducting research properly. This includes literature review, data analysis, data collection methodologies, and writing up, among others. Research seminars and social events are also organised to help the students hone their skills. Therefore, if you are looking for professional network development, you should definitely choose a programme that prioritises all these areas. 

Longevity and Alumni Testimonials

Last but not least, looking out for longevity as well as alumni testimonials are also important since a DBA programme is a long-term investment. One way to check these is through social media platforms and official websites. The longer the programme has existed, the more assurance you get of its quality. 


With this, we come to an end with the Doctor of Business Administration. Hopefully, this has cleared all your doubts and queries regarding what exactly DBA is, why it is important, and the various points to keep in mind while choosing the right DBA. 

While opting for cheaper DBA programs can be quite tempting at times, DBA is a research-based course; hence you might need to look out for other factors apart from money. A low-price DBA might not be able to fulfil all your needs and demands. Therefore, make your decision very wisely. 

To assist you with your search for a prominent DBA online program, upGrad brings you the Global Doctor of Business Administration course powered by the Swiss School of Business and Management, Geneva. Along with a catalogue of in-demand specialisations like Data Science, Machine Learning and Marketing, the program leverages top-class faculty to ensure candidates inherit innovation directly from industry experts. 

Take a step towards your dream with upGrad, and apply now!

You can also check out our free courses offered by upGrad in Management, Data Science, Machine Learning, Digital Marketing, and Technology. All of these courses have top-notch learning resources, weekly live lectures, industry assignments, and a certificate of course completion – all free of cost!



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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1Who can apply for DBA?

DBA is currently regarded as one of the highest levels of qualification in business administration. It is specifically designed for those individuals with job roles as middle and senior corporate executives.

2Are DBA and PhD the same?

No, DBA and PhD are not the same, although they both represent the highest level of academic achievement. Unlike a DBA, which is a professional doctorate, a PhD is an academic doctorate. PhD courses are usually suitable for those individuals who wish to pursue a career in academia as a researcher or professor. On the other hand, DBA is suitable for individuals who aim for higher managerial positions.

3Is DBA very hard to study?

DBA can be quite a rigorous course and takes enormous hard work, time and effort. Nonetheless, it is also extremely rewarding at the same time, and for those who are interested in the field of academics, a DBA is the highest level of achievement.

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