Choosing a Degree

Business Administration DBA: 5 Cutting-Edge Career Choices

There are plenty of good reasons to earn your Doctor of Business Administration (DBA).

Perhaps yours is one (or more) of these:

  • Personal fulfillment
  • Knowledge growth
  • Network expansion
  • Credentials recognition
  • Professional contribution

None, however, is more important than helping you go further and deeper in your chosen career. So, you’ll want to be sure that your professional doctorate in business administration will help open up your job opportunities – whether you enroll in an online or on-campus DBA program.

Even more great news? Because the DBA equips you to investigate practical issues from a theoretical standpoint, it has intrinsic value in today’s global economy and competitive workplace.

Sound too good to be true?

Actually, the DBA is fast becoming a designation distinguisher for those who want to make a mark in their field.

That’s because employers hold those with the DBA designation in high regard, seeing them as having crucial high-level skills, including leadership, communication and technology, as well as real-world problem-solving and decision-making capabilities.

In fact, according to a 2013 report of the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) International Doctoral Education Task Force, more than 2,300 doctoral students completed their programs and pursued a variety of careers at educational institutions, industry, public and not-for-profit organizations.

Clearly, the DBA is a far-reaching credential with unlimited potential for professional impact and personal reward.

In addition to finding that doctoral education expands the capabilities and employability of graduates, the same report found that:

“Decade after decade, business doctoral education has produced a stream of highly trained researchers who have advanced the intellectual foundations of business and management, sustained vibrant academic communities, and elevated the scholarly reputation of business schools within universities.”

Further, the report states that a professional doctorate helps graduates pursue a range of career paths both inside and outside of academia.

“There are many tried-and-true and exciting career opportunities that the DBA opens up,” says Wendell Seaborne, Ph.D., program chair for Franklin University’s DBA program. “Because the DBA skill set gives graduates the ability to research and frame a question in order to solve an issue facing them in the workplace, it really takes them to a whole new level. From C-level in any field to finance to marketing to training to the CEO of an organization, the DBA will equip graduates to perform better in their role.”

Here, we offer the 5 most cutting-edge career choices for DBA grads right now:

  1. C-Level Executive Officer
    C-suite executives, including the CEO, CIO, CTO, CFO and CMO, are responsible for oversight of an organization, including determining and/or implementing initiatives and leading senior management.
  2. Consultant
    Consultants are paid to assess a problem, challenge or opportunity and provide strategic action plans and initiatives to align business goals and outcomes.
  3. Analyst
    Analysts assess strengths, weaknesses and opportunities in order to recommend improvements and solutions to help organizations enhance performance and gain competitive advantage.
  4. Organizational Management
    These professionals are responsible for understanding organizational goals and creatively aligning human and capital resources to influence behavior and achieve results.
  5. College or University Educator
    Higher education faculty members plan and implement curriculum, teach and evaluate students in order to help them expand their skill set and knowledge in a particular subject matter or discipline.

For these and other job titles, Dr. Seaborne says that that DBA can enhance or extend a career – even among those who already hold a master’s of business administration (MBA).

“The DBA gives executives the opportunity to brush up on what they learned while taking their MBA courses 15 or 20 years ago. It also gives professionals the opportunity to take the next step in their career.”

The right DBA program will prepare you to investigate and understand what current literature says about a topic, as well as help you understand how to apply current research-based theories to solve an actual organizational problem. In addition to improving upon research skills, the DBA can also help you refine your writing and presentation skills, making you a more clear and concise communicator.

In addition to career enhancement opportunities, the DBA can open you up to career or industry change as well.

“The difficulty or ease of transition really depends on which industry you’re switching to,” explains Dr. Seaborne. “Some industries are fairly closed to individuals who don’t have, say, 20 years of professional experience. Other industries, however, are wide open so that someone with the right skill set can come in from another background and still be placed in on the executive track. Technology is a field that typically seeks out industry veterans, whereas retail is one that’s more open to those from other professional backgrounds.”

Before deciding to make the leap, Dr. Seaborne suggests doing some cursory research into employment trends within your desired industry. To help gauge how easily you might make the transition, he suggests finding out who has recently been hired and whether they came into the role as an insider or outsider.

Perhaps the easiest transition, says Dr. Seaborne (and one he made himself), is to go from business to academia.

“The doctorate is the ticket to play at the university level,” he explains. “If you truly want to teach in a master’s degree-granting institution, the doctorate can give you the ability to do that. Most accrediting bodies prefer educators to hold a degree higher than what’s being taught so being doctorally qualified helps you stand out.”

Be mindful that some research-based universities will require the Ph.D. over the applied doctorate.

The DBA has long been a well-respected degree, too – especially in the United Kingdom, Australia and Western Europe. In the United States, the degree has been gaining acceptance over the last decade or so with quality programs ranging from Franklin’s DBA program to Harvard Business School’s DBA program.

In addition to career enhancement or change, earning your DBA could lead you to, or enhance, a six-figure salary. If your DBA does lead you to a C-suite position, here’s some great news: according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, top executives earned a median salary in 2015 of more than $102,000 per year.

The Bureau also predicts employment across all occupations to grow about 6 percent through 2024. Although this is average for all occupations combined, employment growth opportunities can vary by industry and the Bureau says that top executives are expected to face very strong job competition. As such, a DBA could make the difference in whether or not you’re hired or promoted.

That’s not to say that the DBA is a guarantee, says Dr. Seaborne.

“The DBA is not the Willy Wonka golden ticket. It’s not. But what it will do, in combination with your own natural talent and work experience is give you the knowledge to help you stand out.”