DBA is the Crown of All Business Degrees

Executives, experienced managers, consultants and technical staff working in support of managerial functions can have their crown degree of DBA "Doctorate of Business Administration" as the highest, reputable and strategic title for their business or academic life. The Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) aims for graduates to discern the emergent orientations to be applied within a company. This doctorate will assist you in acquiring and mastering the methodology of research to apply for your job.

  • LENGTH Part-time 4 years, 5 days per quarter
  • LANGUAGE English
    • Grenoble, France
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DBA Degree From the Triple "Crown" Accredited Grenoble Ecole de Management

GEM is among the 1% of business schools worldwide to possess the three accreditations, EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA that distinguish the leading international business schools from the rest. These three accreditations are international recognitions of the quality of the organisation, its programs and the degrees it delivers. They provide an independent assessment for the quality of the school’s organisational processes, ensuring that the content and quality of the programs delivers satisfactory education build up-on internationally established standards.

Director of Doctoral School, Grenoble Ecole de Management

“The GEM Doctoral Knowledge Community brings together our students, alumni, mentors and researchers around our mission: changing lives and organisations through research. With more than 25 years of experience in doctoral programs, Grenoble Ecole de Management has developed a unique know-how in attracting, managing, and coaching doctoral talents. Join us to learn what we can change for you and take advantage of 1200+ intellectual contributions by our 400+ DBA graduates.”


"I am a proven business executive and already have an MBA, why would I need a DBA?"

Intellectual challenge

Executives take part in a DBA when they are already successful in business for many years and look for a new intellectual challenge. They often have an MBA and want for further and higher education to distinguish themselves. At the same time, they are interested in management research and have a practical research question in mind - a specific problem from their work environment for instance - that they can approach in their dissertation.

Motivation for personal change

DBAs are primarily driven by a search for personal challenge. The DBA provides them this challenge which goes beyond searching for practical knowledge (MBA). The DBA challenges them to prove their capacity as potential researchers. They are in their 30s, 40s and some even older. They have a good salary, lots of ambition and motivation.

New and complementary career goal as a part-time academic

DBA graduates usually stay working in their companies and want to stay in the business world after their graduation from the DBA. However, now, the DBA qualifies them for doing research as well. They may teach as guest professors, invited or adjunct faculty occasionally and publish in practitioner or academic journals. Also, the “doctor” title may open new doors for them in the management and consulting hierarchy.

Knowledge creation

The DBAs are not required to create new theory or extend existing ones. Their contribution is the combination of research with concrete business problems. Their starting point may be a business problem from their place of work and the DBA dissertation may generate a theoretical model that explains the specific problem and at the same time abstracts from it so that the model can be applied in other contexts as well. The core idea is that in the center of a DBA dissertation is a practical problem from the business which is considered relevant from both sides; business managers and scholars.

Creative learning mode

Since the DBA students do not want to give up their work during their studies, DBA programs are designed and organized as blended-learning programs, which mix distance or online learning with residential periods. The students can communicate online with professors and their peer group and need to come together only for a few weeks per year. DBA programs offer their students a lot of flexibility and once the required coursework is over, it is up to the academic supervisor how often the DBA student needs to show-up physically.

Access to data

Central for any research is the data. One of the greatest advantages of many DBA students is their access to data in their own place of work. These data are often unique and can sometimes only be used under serious confidentiality clauses. In other cases, the DBA student may have to create a unique database by resorting to field interviews or conducting surveys with specifically defined target audience rather than the public at large.

Gaining recognition

Gaining recognition The value of the DBA also depends on the reputation of the institution where it has been achieved. The DBA gives the graduate a new recognition because it represents the pinnacle of personal and academic recognition earned from an internationally recognised academic institution.

Financing DBA studies

DBA students very often pay for their own education because they keep on earning money during their studies and many have accumulated savings. Some companies fund DBA students when they use data from their employers and when their research is relevant to their companies.

Differences between a PhD in business and the DBA

Both the Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) and the PhD in Business are doctoral degrees and
so have similarities. But, they also have important differences:

DBA programs are strictly part-time spread over four years. A very large majority of PhD programs require full-time attendance for the completion of doctoral-level coursework. In some universities this period may be completed by attending evening courses.

The AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA all consider the two degrees to be academically equivalent. Universities at large also consider the two degrees equivalent. Those who place a special value on business professors with real/applied experience favour the DBA.

Who qualifies for admission to the DBA program ? What is the typical age to start?

DBA: Experienced (at least 5 years) business managers with a Master's degree in business, management or similar fields. PhD: Work experience is not required nor sought. Master's degree in the field is a normal requirement. But in certain countries like the USA, admission may be given to those who yet to have a Master's degree in business. These students are expected to complete a rather long list of business/management courses and earn a Master's degree first. Then, they can become PhD students.

DBA: Most students cumulate more than 10 years of experience and ages vary mostly between 35 and 50.

PhD: Experience is not mandatory. A Masters in Management Sciences is compulsory (or must then be attended). Age: 25-30 years old.

Content and learning methodology differences between the DBA and the PhD in Business

DBA: is a research-based doctorate. Each DBA student is assigned a personal supervisor right after admission. Participants qualify into degree candidacy after two years of part-time study in workshops during which they are trained on how to conduct academic research and write research-based academic articles. At the end of this period, they are required to defend their proposed thesis topic of research. PhD students are required a minimum of two years of course work on campus and then sit for a Qualifying Examination before they become degree candidates. Choosing a Supervisory Committee and thesis topic starts only after this stage.
DBA students come into the program with an already-defined research problem because of their prior work experience.


The objectives of the DBA Program

The DBA aims for graduates to discern the emergent orientations to be applied within a company: This doctorate will assist you in acquiring and mastering the methodology of research to apply to your job. The program is a research-based doctoral degree that offers participants the opportunity to obtain the highest level, unique, and issue-driven qualifications in business. The DBA is particularly focused on the management of technology, organizational change, and innovation. However, the program may also cover more traditional research topics in fields such as management, finance, marketing, and organizational behavior.

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Career Benefits

• Understand the content of the state-of-the-art research in your field of study;
• Acquire the necessary understanding and expertise in methods and techniques for research design, data collection, and data analysis;
• Conduct, write, and disseminate high -quality-doctoral-level research;
• Achieve a greater level of effectiveness as a professional practitioners in managing technology, innovation, and change;
• Gain legitimacy as researchers and faculty members in both academic and non-academic environments.

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Program Curriculum

In the first phase of the program; DBA participants start by learning methods and techniques for research design, data collection, and data analysis in order to conduct, analyze, author, and publish research that meets doctoral standards.
In the second phase of the program; DBA participants are required to show their ability to conduct original investigations; test, apply, and examine their own and others’ ideas ; and understand the relationship between their themes and wider fields of knowledge.

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Alumni Profile

Female Participants
Avg. Years of Experience
Average Age


DBA candidates are experienced managers from diverse sectors who display a high level of maturity and intellectual curiosity. Candidates should have proficiency in written and oral communication in English and should be open to cultural diversity.
Admission requirements:
◗Master’s degree in business, management or related field, such as MBA, MA, MSc or equivalent.
◗Preference will be given to candidates with a Master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher learning.
◗ 5 years of management experience (pre- or post-master’s).




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