In today’s competitive global economy, it’s more important than ever to make sure that you distinguish yourself with clear competitive advantages. It is no longer enough to rely on a basic undergraduate or even a master’s degree to equip yourself for a successful future in business. Instead, it has become crucial that you are dedicated to a lifelong learning mindset.
Mid-career business professionals and students of traditional age are both turning to graduate education in growing numbers. What are they finding? The need for a singular, high-level credential that immediately communicates bottom line value to potential employers. One business credential that can truly meet today’s needs is a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA).
At a time when conventional Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees are becoming a commodity, the DBA provides a fresh new take on the core competencies needed for strategic thinking in today’s business environment. It synthesizes practical business skills with top-level insight into complex challenges, allowing you to create data-driven strategies for innovative enterprises.
LET’S CONSIDER SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT REASONS YOU SHOULD PURSUE A DBA.
According to the Wall Street Journal and other publications, the U.S. is facing an influx of MBAs. Universities throughout the United States are conferring 74% more MBAs than they did in the 2000-2001 school year. As a result, employers can no longer be certain they are getting a “sure thing” when they hire someone fresh from what’s intended as a rigorous course of study.
Many mid-tier schools are pushing hard to attract working professionals to “accelerated” MBA programs, further diluting their value. The end result? New MBAs have lost about 4.6% of their average pay since the start of the recession. There are many benefits of a Doctor of Business Administration degree because the DBA takes a very different and distinctive approach, equipping those who earn it with skills to help them leverage emerging market trends.
An MBA is fast becoming a commodity, but a Doctor of Business Administration is something far more. It signals to employers that you have research competencies to address complex and novel business challenges. It also speaks to your strong commitment to continuing professional development and a unique ability to lead others – unlocking potential throughout the enterprise.
Today, brands across many industries are talking about thought leadership. But what is it, really? Thought leadership content is touted as an important part of developing deep relationships with discerning customers, but many of the blog posts, white papers, and other material intended to be illuminating will turn out to be little more than rehashed information.
Is a DBA degree worth it? As a DBA graduate, you’ll truly have something important to say – using an unparalleled understanding of the latest business research. This equips any company you work for with the ability to make smart decisions about integrating the latest best practices. With fluency in top-level business publications, you’ll be able to recognize and capture opportunities as they arise.
What’s more, you’ll have the chance to add your voice to the conversation about tomorrow’s business challenges. The DBA gives you the tools to synthesize disparate facts into cohesive research – the cornerstone of true “thought leadership.” You’ll be prepared to add new knowledge to the field instead of just recycled content. In a global economy that increasingly relies on information, the ability to generate new knowledge and insights will set you apart from others, even if they happen to have comparable experience.
Where will it all lead? C-level executives in respected companies tend to be leaders who can envision and architect a new direction. With the insight to turn the latest theories into practical business approaches, you’ll have greater opportunities to become an expert in your field. Board appointments, chair positions, and senior executive roles may be easier to attain, too.
Even the most lucrative career is hardly worth the effort if you don’t feel personally invested and satisfied with what you’re doing. Any job that the incumbent doesn’t enjoy on some level will become a chore, no matter how skilled you become. A DBA degree can be the cornerstone of your strategy for building a fulfilling business career that enriches you on multiple levels.
What really makes a career satisfying? Experts in workplace psychology cite factors such as autonomy and the ability to make a meaningful difference with your efforts. Stakeholders with greater “say” take more satisfaction from their experiences. As a DBA, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a sense of professional achievement that many other people aspire to achieve.
There's a difference between a DBA and a Ph.D.The versatility and flexibility of the DBA means you can apply your new skills to any kind of business challenge that resonates with you. At the forefront of these tough challenges, you’ll be able to design innovative strategies that could be more efficient and effective than anything else in the market. That creates a virtuous cycle that allows you to focus on the kind of issues that interest you the most – by building an unrivaled reputation for great solutions.
Employees who stay at one company for more than two years run the risk of being paid up to 50% less than their peers. By contrast, moving from one organization to another yields 10% to 20% gains, on average.
There are lots of career options with a Doctor of Business Administration. In business, many people remain in a single functional area throughout their entire career. While this allows them to specialize, it can also stifle their creativity and keep them from pursuing opportunities outside their “comfort zone.” With a DBA degree, you’ll have knowledge that applies to all functions throughout a company and touches every level of the enterprise. That means you can switch fluidly from one paradigm to another as the situation demands.
Naturally, a DBA positions you to climb the corporate ladder and make an impact in executive ranks. As a pioneer in your field, you’ll also find it easier to seek new organizations, whether you want to change industries or grow into a position with larger scope. This can make a difference in lifetime compensation: Research reported by Forbes shows that employees who stay at one company for more than two years run the risk of being paid up to 50% less than their peers. By contrast, moving from one organization to another yields 10%-20% gains on average.
Higher lifetime earnings represent just one benefit: As a Doctor of Business Administration, you have remarkable opportunities to construct a career path that makes sense for you. That could involve a large number of flexible opportunities, such as management consulting or starting your own businesses. The research skills from your DBA can also be applied to challenges outside pure business operations, such as making investments or bringing new innovations to market. A DBA degree truly helps you to become an expert problem-solver.
There are plenty of interesting opportunities outside the 9-to-5 business world, too. As recently as 2014, CNN Money reported that business schools were hiring aggressively in anticipation of a shortage of qualified business professors. Even though the number of business faculty increased 22% nationwide between 2008 and 2013, demand is still high. DBA graduates can top the list of potential hires thanks to skills that help them publish academic papers, supporting the grant-seeking efforts of research-heavy institutions. Professors often enjoy great benefits like pension on top of a supportive, collegial atmosphere that respects achievement.
Thinking about entrepreneurship? A DBA helps you construct effective business plans and lead an enterprise from the startup phase through to maturity and ultimate disposition. Your DBA equips you to communicate effectively with investors and evangelize a clear, compelling vision for a new market entrant. Follow through to the very end and you could build your personal fortune through M&A activity or rapid operational turnarounds of businesses in need. Any of these approaches can be successful either in a full-time or consulting role.
If you want to accelerate your career journey and expand your horizons, the Doctor of Business Administration is a proven asset. Although the path to a DBA can be challenging, it will help you maximize your potential now and in the future. The most challenging part of the journey may be the first step – make the commitment to achieve your DBA and you will be on the path to a more lucrative and fulfilling leadership role in business.