PhD or DBA ?

Both DBA and PhD correspond to doctoral-level training courses and share several common features in this respect.
However, there are significant differences:

Student background

The DBA is designed for executives with substantial managerial experience who are seeking a new intellectual challenge.
After obtaining an MBA, they wish to continue to develop their skills and differentiate themselves from other managers by conducting a genuine doctoral project. They often choose to address a research issue related to their company and aim to continue their careers in the professional world, while sharing their expertise by intervening on an ad hoc basis in seminars in business schools.

Students who register for a PhD wish to engage in an academic career.
They register for the PhD directly after obtaining their Master's degree and are generally younger than DBA trainees.
Participants' motivations
DBA trainees are above all in quest of a personal challenge. They have already achieved many successes in their careers and usually hold an MBA. The DBA offers them the opportunity to acquire more knowledge than the MBA, by conducting their own doctoral project.For PhD students, the motivation is an academic career. Obtaining a PhD is a prerequisite to become a tenured faculty member of the best business schools in the world.
Data access

Accessing data is a key issue for all research, whether quantitative or qualitative.
DBA trainees generally benefit from easy access to data they can collect in their own company, while complying with its confidentiality rules.

PhD students need access to public data or rely on their network and that of their thesis advisor.

Programme organization


The DBA is a part-time program and as such is fully compatible with the pursuit of a high-level managerial activity.
To this end, seminars are grouped by blocked weeks that are scheduled for the whole program. The important work required between seminars and for the doctoral project can be organized according to each participant's agenda.
The PhD is a program requiring full-time availability from the students. During the first year, there are many classes.
Subsequently, PhD students may be asked to deliver training courses or to become a research assistant.
DBA trainees do not necessarily have to enhance the theoretical framework, but rather to make a contribution in terms of management.
Their doctoral project often stems from a practical issue identified within their company, even though the ultimate goal is to provide a useful contribution to other companies and organizations.

PhD students should contribute to developing management science theory, especially if they wish to publish in leading academic journals. Their research normally identifies gaps in the academic literature to provide a theoretical contribution.

Programme funding

Les frais de scolarité du DBA sont financés par le participant ou son entreprise. Aucune bourse n'est attribuée pour le DBA.
DBA tuition fees are covered by the participant or their company. No grants are allocated for DBA trainees.


The best PhD students can obtain a grant as from the second year of the program.