The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a 32-month program that prepares students in many different fields to advance in their careers. Dr. Rick Mann, the program director, shared some insight on the program’s strengths and how it can benefit a variety of students.
Is there an ideal candidate for the DBA?
One thing that marks our program is diversity. About half of our students are not male and about half of our students are not white. There’s also a lot of diversity in terms of age; we have ambitious 30-year-olds who finished college, worked a bit, earned their MBA and wanted to keep going. We also have lifelong learners who are 55 and older and want to go into teaching or retire and go into consulting and coaching. There is also a diversity of background. Many of our students have an MBA, but some don’t, and often they don’t have much of a background in business either. If you don’t have a MBA or a business master’s degree, you do have to take a few prerequisite courses. However, we have learned that people without a business degree do just as well as those with a business degree. If you’re willing to put in the work, you can do it. This program will meet you where you are, no matter who you are and what your aspirations are for the future.
What topics are covered in the program?
Business is the focus. The first five classes consist of an introductory class followed by classes on leadership and management; accounting and finance; strategy; and marketing. After completing those courses, students are up to date on all things business. Then they can specialize, choosing from tracks in health care, enterprise leadership, consulting and coaching or higher education. That consists of three track-specific courses. As in any doctoral program, there is a research component. Students finish with four research courses that revolve around doctoral-level original research.
How can a DBA benefit an individual’s career?
So many fields today are speaking what I like to call ‘Business English.’ I have taught around the world, and everyone wants to learn English and everybody wants to learn business. ‘Business English’ is a dialect that contains all kinds of vocabulary and concepts. Fluency in these topics is important in any field. We have people in billion-dollar industries like health care and higher education who know they need ‘Business English’ to advance in their careers, and we provide those skills. It can really be helpful for individuals who want to move into positions in higher levels of management, like director or CEO. They’ll already speak the language.
The program also allows for career change. Someone may be in accounting, but they choose the health care track and they are prepared to switch industries. It allows you to do some career trajectory change.
How do you help students adjust to the rigor of a doctoral degree??
We recognize that some students may have just finished their master’s, and for others, it may have been 20 years. So we intentionally designed our first course, Introduction to Doctoral Business Studies, as an on-ramp to the highway that is the DBA program. It allows students to adjust to online learning and the APA format. Throughout the first few courses, we really build the capacity of students to do doctoral-level work and research. They build your muscles and get you in shape. It’s a challenging program, but we are not saying ‘it's Thursday, let’s run a marathon on Saturday.’ You will have the support, the time and all the tools you need to be successful.