Should you get a PhD or a DBA?


If you are interested in furthering your career through higher education, then you might be asking yourself what kind of degree you want to pursue. When it comes to an education in business, there are two main academic avenues you can take: a Ph.D. or a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). Competition for high-level and high-paying positions is fierce and you need to give yourself every advantage afforded to you.

When you make the commitment to a Ph.D. or DBA, you are telling the world that you are ready for the challenge that comes with it. But what do they entail, and which option is right for you and your career?

What is a Ph.D.?

A Ph.D., or Doctor of Philosophy, is a doctoral research degree, and one of the highest academic qualifications you can achieve. Due to this academic nature, PhDs tend to show your interest in learning more about business and how it functions in a theoretical medium. People with PhDs go on to teach business principles in colleges, universities, and other organizations of higher learning or act as independent consultants. A Ph.D. graduate can also pursue a career in research and developing new theories in the field of business. It is more of an academic-focused degree for those who wish to pursue careers in teaching, research, or other areas of academia.

Some career options with a Ph.D. include:

  • College Professor
  • Business Consultant
  • Policymaker
  • Business Administration
  • Chief Executive
  • University Professor
  • Analyst

What is a DBA?

A DBA is often taken by individuals who want to focus on furthering their corporate career and gaining practical skills. An executive with a DBA is a highly sought-after commodity and it can mean a significant boost in position and salary. This degree is meant for future executives or those who are already on their way up in their organizations and want to accelerate their careers even further. When you get your DBA, you indicate to your organization that you are ready for any position in the executive suite. These are called C-level executives and can be a chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), and chief operations officer (COO).

Career paths available with a DBA include

  • C-level Executive
  • Consultant
  • Entrepreneur
  • Project Manager
  • Government Agent
  • Economist
  • College Professor
  • Management Analyst
  • Executive Administrator


When it comes to the amount of time it takes to get your Ph.D. or your DBA, the difference is negligible. The biggest benefit of both is that they can be taken online with institutions such as Aston University. This online university offers a Doctor of Business Administration online in four to six years. This program is mainly designed for those business professionals who want to enhance their credentials and be able to do it while they are still working full-time. The program is flexible enough to fit around the individual’s schedule.

Job Prospects

Job prospects for both types of degrees are positive but usually travel two completely different routes. As mentioned previously, Ph.D. students will learn more about research and building on business principles from an academic perspective. DBA students are already in the field, building their companies from the inside, and want to be able to move up in the corporate world. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers that generally require a DBA, such as management analysts, are increasing by 11% between 2019 and 2029. This is significantly above the average of 4%.


You will be able to call yourself a Doctor of Business and have that credential beside your name whenever you are mentioned in print. The distinction of having a DBA comes with great respect in the field and rosy prospects for the future.

When it comes to spending the next four to six years alternating between online studies and your full-time position, you want to make sure that you are heading in the right direction. That means deciding on the best choice of degree, a Ph.D. or a DBA.

Learn State-of-the-art Technology

When you are learning at the highest level possible and training for the executive suite, you will undoubtedly be using the most advanced technology available to business professionals. Software and hardware are constantly updating and changing, so it can only be to your benefit to know the latest programs being used in business today. This will be an impressive step up in your qualifications, and when it comes time to hand out the promotions, you will be first on the list.


When you are earning your degree, you will be spending a good deal of time with other professionals who are of the same mind as you. These people will consist of classmates, advisors, professors, and other valuable people to know who can help make a difference in your career in the future. The connections you make during this period will be invaluable, so make the most of the time you have with your fellow students. You are making an investment of time and money in your future.

Hone your Soft Skills

Learning online takes a whole set of skills that do not come naturally to most people. Organizing your time, getting your ideas across effectively, and connecting with people are all challenges you face as an online student. Teamwork, collaboration, and leadership are all soft skills that you will be working on all the way through the course, and you will come out the other side with incredible skills in dealing with people.

Learn from the Best

While you are acquiring your DBA, you will be learning from the best in the industry with years of experience. Soak in every word and let their combined wisdom mold you into a business genius.

When it comes to business, the more knowledge and credentials you have, the better your chances of success. When you make the commitment to get your Ph.D. or DBA, you are taking the first step toward the future you dreamed of.


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