Ph.D. vs. DBA – What degree is right for you?

6. 5. 2023

Are you interested in getting the highest degree possible, but not sure which one would suit you best? Don’t worry, we are here to help you decide. 

How do the prestigious DBA and Ph.D. degrees differ? From theory to practice, from academia to business - choose the right path to achieve your career goals.


Both of them, though, are hard work, sweat, and tears. Studying for a Ph.D. requires a lot of sacrifice of your time and commitment. 

Both the DBA and the Ph.D. are among the highest levels of higher education attained. What makes them different? In their focus, purpose, and career direction. So let's take a look at the main differences of the degree to help you clarify your intentions.


Ph.D. vs. DBA: Focus on research - theory vs. practice 


Do you want to focus on theory? With a Ph.D., you do theoretical research, develop hypotheses, and contribute your findings to the development of your chosen field. 

It is quite clear (and desirable) that Ph.D. students conduct their own research, emphasizing the generation of new theories, testing hypotheses, and publishing research results in peer-reviewed journals. The Ph.D. program requires detailed research of the available literature, mastery of research methods, and conducting in-depth analysis.


DBA vs. Ph.D


In contrast, the DBA will appeal to students with a passion for practice - applied research, with a practical focus, is a key element of the curriculum. At LIGS, we purposefully develop our students' advanced skills and guide them to solve problems that may arise in the practice of business management. Students examine current trends and practices widely used in business - identifying areas that have the potential for improvement and developing strategies that are then used in the corporate environment and benefit the industry.


Becoming an academic or rather career in a business field?


Ph.D. graduates are offered academic positions in universities - so it is suitable for those interested in an academic career or research. They publish scholarly articles, teach at universities and contribute to the academic community through seminars and conferences. In addition, Ph.D. holders can work in research institutions and government agencies. 

However, if you aspire to work in the business world, a DBA may be a better fit for you. DBA holders have specialist knowledge, hold senior management positions or work as consultants, and often start their own businesses. The study equips candidates with strategic thinking, problem-solving skills, and the attributes necessary to hold leadership positions. DBA degree holders often combine academic and practical knowledge to enhance the development as well as the success of a company.


Structure and length of the programs


While studying for a Ph.D., a doctoral student spends several years immersed in his or her research. This then culminates in the defense of the dissertation. Thorough training and extensive research prepare Ph.D. students for an independent career in research.

In contrast, DBA programs focus more on the practical application of graduates. The length of study is shorter than that of a Ph.D. Candidates pursue studies that combine theoretical knowledge with practice. Their dissertations deal with real problems that may arise in the management of a company.

To summarize this: at the end of the day, the decision depends on your career choice. If you’d rather be working in research, a Ph.D. is the right choice. However, if you want to dive into the world of business and have ambitions to succeed in running a company, we recommend DBA.

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