Business graduates, even without a Ph.D in business, have a world of choices when it comes to career tracks. This program of study is diverse enough that you can find a niche in almost any industry. Business majors who invest in a Master’s in Business Administration expand their choices even more, so earning an MBA is not an uncommon strategy. However, a doctorate in business is not nearly as popular for various reasons. Nonetheless, an advanced degree in business could have real value other than dressing up your resume.

Types of Business-focused Doctorate Degrees

A Ph.D. in business is a doctor of philosophy program that can lead to specializations in accountancy, economics, finance, entrepreneurship and other fields. It is typically a full-time program that requires candidates to demonstrate prior credentials in the field as senior executives. This program of study may also be referred to as a Ph.D. in Management. The coursework focuses on theoretical research related to business issues.

A Doctor of Business Administration is the highest degree you can attain for a business-focused career. The advanced coursework focuses on applied research in fields that are specifically relevant to business.

Resource Requirements

A DBA or a Ph.D. typically takes four to six years to complete. Some Ph.D. programs require full-time commitment and residency requirements, which might make it difficult if you cannot take a sabbatical to complete the course work and dissertation. Stringent completion requirements may include passing a proficiency exam, a doctioral dissertation presented before a committeee and publication of research work in peer-reviewed journals.

Employment Outlook

Candidates for a doctorate degree in a business-related field are usually planning for careers in the academe as professors or administrative leaders. With an advance degree in business, you are well-suited to work in social and economic research at universities, government institutions and private organizations such as think tanks or lobbyists.

You can choose to work in a salaried, full-time position. In the case of professorial jobs, you should seek tenure at colleges and universities. Some business Ph.D. graduates may choose to work as consultants working on a per-project basis while others may choose to work for themselves, which is the logical progression if you are specializing in entrepreneurship.

Weighing the Value of a Ph.D in Business

Without any doubt, a doctorate in business is a big investment in terms of financial, personal and professional opportunity costs. Expect courses to be intense and demanding as they are delivered by highly qualified faculty. You may have to weigh the opportunity costs of putting your career on hold to earn a business doctorate especially if you have to make a multi-year commitment.

If you are entering graduate school without corporate sponsorship, expect to shell out a significant amount for university fees including seminars, practicum and dissertation preparation expenses. Consider finding funds sources other than your own money before committing to a Ph.D. program. These sources can be your employer, professional organizations and other grant sources.

Earning a Ph.D in business demonstrates your passion and commitment to the field. The doctorate initials attached to your name indicate your high-level expertise on business matters and especially in your field of specialization. As with any degree, what you get out of a doctorate depends on how you chart your career path. Doctorate degree holders from fields such as engineering, sciences and technology are finding relevance in the business world, so you should be on track to make a mark in your own field.

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