Frequently Asked Questions

What is a DBA?

Here are excerpts from AMBA (www.mbaworld.com), the accreditor of Grenoble Ecole de Management’s DBA degree program:

The DBA is a Doctoral-level, research-based qualification, designed to make a contribution to the enhancement of trans-disciplinary professional practice in management, as well as a contribution to knowledge through the application and development of theoretical frameworks, methods, and techniques. A DBA places emphasis on the novel application of theory, rather than the creation and testing of theory.

A DBA may be right for you if you are an experienced manager wanting to stretch your research abilities while still working towards something that has a direct practical application. You must also be motivated by intellectual curiosity and a desire for self-fulfillment. Unlike a traditional PhD, the DBA is a bridge between academic knowledge and professional practice. A DBA student will therefore be seeking a solution to a real management problem. A comparison of the PhD to the DBA can be found here.

We have been accrediting DBA programmes since 2006. Our accreditation provides an independent mark of quality and helps to clarify the way the term DBA is understood, setting it apart from the PhD.

Which profession / career is the DBA relevant to?

One of the attractive characteristics of the DBA is its breadth of application, as it's not specific to any particular business. For example, DBAs are often undertaken by:

  • Senior business professionals
  • Managers looking for innovative strategies for new and emerging issues
  • Consultants or those about to start their own consultancy business
  • Prospective teachers in business schools, who currently lack the necessary academic qualifications (AQ)

How much study time is required for a DBA?

Unlike a traditional PhD, which requires a significant amount of theoretical study and frequent campus visits, the practical nature of the DBA allows you to conduct research in your chosen business field, thus optimizing workload. Further synergies can be created by using existing business problems from your work environment as the basis of your research.

The DBA is a part-time degree program with two stages: Stage 1 is completed over 2 years, requiring attendance at only 5 workshops (held over weekends in Geneva) and two week-long workshops held in Grenoble, in November. Stage 2 takes a further 18-24 months, during which the candidates execute their already approved research model and subsequently write and defend their theses.

If my aim is to teach in a business school, what are the chances of getting a well-paid and rewarding teaching job during or after the DBA?

There is a critical shortage of doctorally-qualified faculty with business management experience, so a DBA will immediately put you in a strong position. In recent years, some business schools have resorted to employing professionally qualified (PQ) faculty, to ensure a focus on teaching excellence. PQ faculty, however, normally do not divert as much energy into research and publishing as their AQ counterparts. This means accreditation bodies don't tend to look favorably upon schools with an overwhelming percentage of PQ faculty.

As a practical example, several DBA students (Stage 1) and candidates (Stage 2) are currently teaching at Webster University and GEM, respectively.

How would a DBA help me if I'm planning to start a new consulting business?

The DBA is the ultimate achievement in practical business education and training, which instantly proves to prospective clients that you have in-depth expertise in your field. In such a notoriously competitive environment, the DBA will therefore ensure you remain differentiated and stand out from the crowd.

Is it possible to use a real, complex problem, which I'm currently facing at work, as the subject of my DBA research?

Yes. On successful completion of Stage 1 (and provided you have approval from your DBA supervisors) you can conduct research on a work-related problem. GEM policies and procedures to guide this process are already in place.

Is the DBA degree accredited? How is it recognized in business and academia?

Yes, the DBA is awarded by the Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM) and administered by Webster University, both of which are accredited institutions.

GEM is one of the leading business schools in Europe, with an international presence across Asia and North America. It holds the much coveted triple crown of business accreditations which distinguishes it as one of the world's leading business schools:

  • AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business)
  • EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System)
  • AMBA (Association of MBAs)

Webster University degrees have been continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools of the USA since 1925. In addition, all professional business and management degrees offered by the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology are accredited by ACBSP of the USA.

I already have a PhD in a non-business field and years of work experience, but I now want to teach in a business school. Is there an alternative to the DBA that would give me the necessary academic qualification (AQ)?

Yes. With GEM's 'Post-doctoral Bridge to Business' (the only AACSB-endorsed program in Europe) you can attain AQ-in-business status in only 1 year.

What's the next step?

Email a message of interest to Maureen Gisiger, Assistant to the Director of the DBA program Geneva (gisiger@webster.ch), and attach a current and detailed CV. She will quickly acknowledge your interest and guide you through the subsequent steps.