PHD, DBA, or something else?


Cotall

Hello everyone,

Six years ago I was reading this forum up and down, and ended up doing the Global MBA at Manchester. I was selected based on my career progression, this was my first degree and a truly transformational experience. Thanks Duncan and all, who make this very special forum what it is, for the guidance.

In fact, I enjoyed the academic aspect of my MBA so much, that I have been toying with the idea of 'continuing on'. There are business strategy theories and concepts that I would enjoy diving further into, and exploring their relationship (or lack of) with real-life business -with a focus on certain industries. Through this research, I'd produce work to help decision makers.

After that, my goal would be to split my time between 1) continued research 2) monetising this "expertise" and 3) some teaching -- all these activities feeding nicely into one another.

My original plan was to aim for a PhD which I would self-fund, but I am so confused by the doctoral system (I am primarily looking at France PhDs but open to moving) and its admission rules that I am now thinking a DBA might just do it for me, especially considering the 'applied' angle of my research interest. I also don't think I am fully ready to discuss with a professor as I want to read up much more than I already have on the topic.

My questions:
1) Is my PHD strategy a viable pathway for my goal?
2) Should I aim for a fully funded PhD position, if so how?
3) If the above fails, is a DBA route relevant for my goal?

Thank you so much, sorry for the long-winded message.

[Edited by Cotall on Jul 09, 2024]

Hello everyone, <br>
Six years ago I was reading this forum up and down, and ended up doing the Global MBA at Manchester. I was selected based on my career progression, this was my first degree and a truly transformational experience. Thanks Duncan and all, who make this very special forum what it is, for the guidance.<br><br>In fact, I enjoyed the academic aspect of my MBA so much, that I have been toying with the idea of 'continuing on'. There are business strategy theories and concepts that I would enjoy diving further into, and exploring their relationship (or lack of) with real-life business -with a focus on certain industries. Through this research, I'd produce work to help decision makers. <br>
After that, my goal would be to split my time between 1) continued research 2) monetising this "expertise" and 3) some teaching -- all these activities feeding nicely into one another.<br>
My original plan was to aim for a PhD which I would self-fund, but I am so confused by the doctoral system (I am primarily looking at France PhDs but open to moving) and its admission rules that I am now thinking a DBA might just do it for me, especially considering the 'applied' angle of my research interest. I also don't think I am fully ready to discuss with a professor as I want to read up much more than I already have on the topic.<br>
My questions: <br>1) Is my PHD strategy a viable pathway for my goal?<br>2) Should I aim for a fully funded PhD position, if so how? <br>3) If the above fails, is a DBA route relevant for my goal?<br>
Thank you so much, sorry for the long-winded message.
quote
Cotall

Having done additional research I can now add the following:

> A DBA is really a very expensive essay, so I'm tempted to brush that aside unless someone here suggests otherwise

> My MBA alone won't be sufficient to get me into a PHD so I should probably embark on an MRes or Mphil program to strengthen research skills and write a strong research proposal

I'm now looking at distance learning options for MRes or MPhil+PHD or failing that at least a postgraduate certificate, diploma or course on research. Any suggestions would be welcome.

Thank you

[Edited by Cotall on Jul 09, 2024]

Having done additional research I can now add the following:<br>
&gt; A DBA is really a very expensive essay, so I'm tempted to brush that aside unless someone here suggests otherwise<br>
&gt; My MBA alone won't be sufficient to get me into a PHD so I should probably embark on an MRes or Mphil program to strengthen research skills and write a strong research proposal<br>
I'm now looking at distance learning options for MRes or MPhil+PHD or failing that at least a postgraduate certificate, diploma or course on research. Any suggestions would be welcome.<br>
Thank you
quote
Duncan

Your MBA probably would be good enough for a DBA, an online PhD or an PhD with an executive track like Cass, Cranfield or Edinburgh. However, your motivation sounds like a DBA student: someone who wants to contribute to business performance more than a specific pre-existing scholarly conversation in top-tier journals (which is what a PhD programme at an AACSB-accredited school would look for).

The alternative to a DBA could be to do an MRes and then start writing papers that contribute to the discussion you are focussed on.

Your MBA probably would be good enough for a DBA, an online PhD or an PhD with an executive track like Cass, Cranfield or Edinburgh. However, your motivation sounds like a DBA student: someone who wants to contribute to business performance more than a specific pre-existing scholarly conversation in top-tier journals (which is what a PhD programme at an AACSB-accredited school would look for).

The alternative to a DBA could be to do an MRes and then start writing papers that contribute to the discussion you are focussed on.
quote
Cotall

Thank you! I probably don't know enough about research as a professional occupation to answer for certain. I think there are definitely elements of my future research that would contribute to pre- discussions. Is that going to be sufficient to qualify for a PhD, maybe that is to be discussed with a prof., or maybe indeed I can start contributing with papers.

I like the MRes because it enables just that. It is also a faster (and cheaper) fail than a DBA should I realise I misconstrued what research in business is. On the downside, I don't see many good distance options. I'm not based in the UK at the moment and would like to avoid the punitive 'overseas' rate. Does it matter to pick a great university or B-school for this post-MBA MRes? I see there are a couple of second-tier uni in France offering distance learning MRes in management or the equivalent as a PG Dip. Are those worth a shot or should I also aim for a great name + AACSB accred for this part of my journey?

Thank you again Duncan

[Edited by Cotall on Jul 10, 2024]

Thank you! I probably don't know enough about research as a professional occupation to answer for certain. I think there are definitely elements of my future research that would contribute to pre- discussions. Is that going to be sufficient to qualify for a PhD, maybe that is to be discussed with a prof., or maybe indeed I can start contributing with papers.<br>
I like the MRes because it enables just that. It is also a faster (and cheaper) fail than a DBA should I realise I misconstrued what research in business is. On the downside, I don't see many good distance options. I'm not based in the UK at the moment and would like to avoid the punitive 'overseas' rate. Does it matter to pick a great university or B-school for this post-MBA MRes? I see there are a couple of second-tier uni in France offering distance learning MRes in management or the equivalent as a PG Dip. Are those worth a shot or should I also aim for a great name + AACSB accred for this part of my journey?<br>
Thank you again Duncan<br>
quote
Duncan

There are book length answers to these questions and there are lots of books on PhD strategy, so I won't try to repeat that. And of course you can hire me for a consultation.



However, there are really three scenarios:

- 1. You want to be a permamanet faculty member in a AACSB accredited school. You need an PhD from another AACSB school. To get in, you either take a long US format PhD where you are an apprentice to a professor whom you shadow, or you take a short European PhD where you will need to have an academically rigorous project when you apply, steeped in one current academic debate which that school is contributing to.

- 2 You want to teach somewhere else that requires a doctorate, but it doesn't have to be a good one. Hire a writing coach and an editor to support you through that journey. Barely legal doctorates could work.

- 3 You really don't need a doctorate, but would like one. Again, barely legal doctorates could work.



In an MRes or MPhil. you'd get two things. One of research training. The second is supervised reading where you would develop a masters thesis. In term of research training, you'd be better off if you know whether you will use qualitative or quantitative methods for your research. In practice, the methods you use will be more important than the data you use. PhD candidates are very passionate about a topic. That doesn't really matter as much in a doctoral process as the methods and what current relevant research discussion you want to supply an answer to a research question question. Your masters dissertation should be an initial outline of that one focussed debate in current management journals. If it's not, it won't help you get into a good PhD. And to get the best supervision, you'd want a school with a supervisor available to is close to the debate you want to contribute to.



So, read journal articles and find a current scholarly discussion you can contribute to. Ideally, focussed on the top journals identified by the Chartered Association of Business Schools. Don't look for scholars in those journals discussing your domain or business problem. Look for people discussing theories that could contribute to explaining what's surprising or interesting in your data. Ideally look for people in the countries or schools you could target for your PhD.

PS I will message you with some more direct thoughts.

[Edited by Duncan on Jul 10, 2024]

There are book length answers to these questions and there are lots of books on PhD strategy, so I won't try to repeat that. And of course you can hire me for a consultation. <br>
<br>
However, there are really three scenarios:<br>
- 1. You want to be a permamanet faculty member in a AACSB accredited school. You need an PhD from another AACSB school. To get in, you either take a long US format PhD where you are an apprentice to a professor whom you shadow, or you take a short European PhD where you will need to have an academically rigorous project when you apply, steeped in one current academic debate which that school is contributing to. <br>
- 2 You want to teach somewhere else that requires a doctorate, but it doesn't have to be a good one. Hire a writing coach and an editor to support you through that journey. Barely legal doctorates could work.<br>
- 3 You really don't need a doctorate, but would like one. Again, barely legal doctorates could work. <br>
<br>
In an MRes or MPhil. you'd get two things. One of research training. The second is supervised reading where you would develop a masters thesis. In term of research training, you'd be better off if you know whether you will use qualitative or quantitative methods for your research. In practice, the methods you use will be more important than the data you use. PhD candidates are very passionate about a topic. That doesn't really matter as much in a doctoral process as the methods and what current relevant research discussion you want to supply an answer to a research question question. Your masters dissertation should be an initial outline of that one focussed debate in current management journals. If it's not, it won't help you get into a good PhD. And to get the best supervision, you'd want a school with a supervisor available to is close to the debate you want to contribute to. <br>
<br>
So, read journal articles and find a current scholarly discussion you can contribute to. Ideally, focussed on the top journals identified by the Chartered Association of Business Schools. Don't look for scholars in those journals discussing your domain or business problem. Look for people discussing theories that could contribute to explaining what's surprising or interesting in your data. Ideally look for people in the countries or schools you could target for your PhD.

PS I will message you with some more direct thoughts.
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