dba vs mba differences you must know before enrolling
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DBA Vs MBA: Which One Should You Choose?

Apr 5, 2024 1.2K Reads

Being a business professional, you must have felt the need to upgrade your career with a higher educational degree. In this competitive era where every management professional is running behind an MBA degree, exploring other course options might bring you some unexpected opportunities.

The “other course option” is used here for the Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) course. This terminal degree in the business field is quite new to the industry and most of the field professionals are not even aware of it. 

In this article, we will be jotting down the points of similarities and differences between an MBA and a DBA program to help you make a smarter choice for your career!

An Overview of the MBA Program

A Master of Business Administration or MBA is a postgraduate degree program that has a duration of 2 years. It is the most obvious choice for a graduate business professional seeking better employment opportunities in the field.

The curriculum of an MBA program is a blend of theoretical and practical topics making it the prime choice for both working professionals and fresh grads. 

An MBA program is delivered in different learning formats: regular, online, and distance. All of these three modes are equally credible and hold similar recognition in the industry as per the University Grants Commission, UGC’s approval.

Top MBA Universities

There is a long list of Indian and International universities offering an MBA program.

Here is a list of top Indian universities offering MBAs in India along with their fee range - 

Name of the Institution City Starting Fee Range
IIM Calcutta West Bengal INR 27.00 L
IIM Ahmedabad Gujarat INR 23.00 L
IIM Bangalore Karnataka INR 23.00 L
IIM Kozhikode Kerala INR 22.50 L
SPJIMR Mumbai Maharashtra INR 22.10 L
IIM Lucknow Uttar Pradesh INR 19.25 L
IBS Hyderabad Telangana INR 12.06 L
XLRI Jamshedpur Jharkhand INR 11.80 L

An Overview of the DBA Program

A Doctorate of Business Administration or DBA is the highest degree in the business field. It is a 3-year long doctoral program that adds the “Dr.” title to its learner’s name just like a Ph.D. program.

This doctoral program online is not approved by UGC and hence is not offered by Indian Institutions. However, accredited foreign universities offer this course to all aspirants around the world in an online learning format. A DBA program online is specifically designed for working professionals who hold 7+ years of experience in management or related fields. Thus, for those who entered the corporate world right after their graduation, this doctoral program serves as a golden opportunity. 

Top DBA Universities

Since Indian universities do not offer DBA programs, a list of the top foreign universities for DBA with their fee range is listed below - 

Name of the Institution Location Starting Fee Range
Golden Gate University San Francisco, California, USA INR 12.50 L
SSBM Geneva, Switzerland INR 9.00 L
Rushford Business School Valencia, Spain INR 8.00 L
ESGCI International School of Management Paris, France INR 8.00 L

Similarities Between an MBA and DBA Program

Before jumping onto the differences, let’s look at some of the similarities between an MBA and a DBA program. 

  • The first similarity that draws more applicants to these courses is that both of these programs can be pursued after graduation.
  • The next one on the list is the specialization range that allows individuals to opt for a business major as per their interests.
  • The final and most important similarity that is there between an MBA and a DBA course is that both of them open doors to new career opportunities for learners in the global business world.

DBA Vs MBA: Differences You Must Know Before Enrolling

To start with the discussion of an MBA Vs DBA, let’s point out the key differences between the two. 

  • Universities Offering the Course: Starting with the institutions providing these courses, it is notable here that DBA is only offered by international universities whereas MBA is available at the best B-schools and other universities in India.
  • Duration: Just like any other master’s program, you will complete an MBA course in 2 years but a DBA unlike a traditional Ph.D. course lasts for 3 years.
  • Eligibility Criteria: Another major point of difference between the two is that an MBA is open to all applicants with or without prior work experience but for a DBA, you require around 3-5 years of work experience after your graduation. For DBA aspirants who have completed their postgraduation, there might be some relaxation in the years of experience. 


  • Fee Range: Considering the global trends imparted by foreign universities in a DBA program, its cost of 8-12 Lakhs INR is quite affordable. On the other hand, for an MBA program, you will end up investing around 20-25 Lakhs INR at the top Indian management institutions.
  • Admission Process: Another point to be noted here is that for the MBA course, you need to crack entrance exams like CAT, GMAT, MAT, XAT, etc. However, a DBA program comes with a direct or entrance-free admission process.
  • Course Structure: In an MBA course, you will get to study the conceptual and practical topics of the management domain. Whereas a DBA program is designed to equip professionals with a research-focused approach toward any business issue.

The table below will give you a summarized view of DBA Vs MBA - 

Parameters MBA DBA
Level of Education Postgraduate Degree Doctoral Degree equivalent to Ph.D.
Universities Offering Indian and International Universities Only International Universities
Course Duration 2 years 3 years
Mode of Learning Regular/Online/Distance Online/Hybrid
Eligibility Criteria Graduation Postgraduation or graduation with 3-5 years of experience
Selection Criteria Entrance-based No entrance exam required
Fee Range 2-30 Lakhs INR depending on the mode chosen 8-12 Lakhs INR
Curriculum Design Theoretical and practical mix Industry-specific and research-oriented topics
Job Roles Management level opportunities CXO level opportunities
Median Salary Range at the Global Level $85,000 $128,000 
Salary Range in the Indian Market 7-15 LPA 10-30 LPA

Career Opportunities for DBA Vs MBA Professionals

The major factor where the debate of DBA Vs MBA heats up is the career opportunities. This point of difference between these two courses is even considered as the deciding factor for the professionals seeking better employment options in the long run.

The job roles that will be accessible to you upon completion of an MBA or a DBA program are provided in the sections below.

Career Opportunities for MBA Grads

Upon completion of an MBA program, junior or mid-level executives can climb up their organizational ladder to senior roles easily. MBA grads earn a better package and are frequently hired by the top domestic and international firms. 

A few job profiles available to MBA grads are listed here - 

Marketing Manager Sales Manager
Logistics Manager Financial Analyst
Investment Banker Project Manager
Business Consultant Senior MIS 
Human Resource Manager Business Operations Manager

The job roles at which MBA holders are hired depend on the specialization they have completed their degree. 

Career Opportunities for DBA Holders

Being a terminal degree in the management field, a DBA program opens a new world of opportunities to its learners. Professionals with a doctorate degree in business are hired by the organizations for the following positions:

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Executive Vice President Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Vice President Guest Lecturer

This suggests that a DBA program gets you recognized as a master of your field and reflects your research-based knowledge in accomplishing the vision of your company. Apart from the “Dr.” title, it even helps you evolve as a thoughtful leader with innovative industry trends and business practices.

How To Decide Which Degree Is Right For You?

Selecting a course is entirely your decision and it must be taken after considering your career goals.

However, certain points must be accounted for before choosing between an MBA and a DBA program -

  • Do give a thought to your long-term career goals before enrolling in any of the two programs.
  • Do you want to study an academic-oriented or an application-focused course?
  • Analyze your budget and choose a barrier-breaking program that is worth your time and money.
  • Monitor your professional needs and choose a course that can help you take a long jump in your career.

Perks of Choosing A DBA Instead of An MBA

In the debate of an MBA Vs DBA, there are certain facts about a DBA course that could not be missed!

These benefits of pursuing a doctorate degree in the business sector are  - 

  • Well-suited for Working Professionals: A DBA course is a specially tailored program for working professionals holding more than 7 years of experience in the field after graduation. 
  • Industry-driven Curriculum: The course structure of a DBA program is quite practical and designed to fulfill industry-specific needs. 
  • Addition of “Dr.” Title: The best part about a DBA course is that it adds a “Dr.” title to your name upon successful completion. This feature of the program makes it similar to the Ph.D. courses which demand high dedication in terms of time and money. 
  • High ROI: Upon completion of the DBA course, you will have CXO-level career opportunities which increases your earning potential multiple times making it one of the beneficial higher degree courses.

  • Global Networking: Since the DBA program is offered by International universities, it provides you with an exciting opportunity to connect with their faculty members, international industrialists, and students from different backgrounds. This helps you build a strong and diversified professional network.
  • Budget-friendly Study Abroad Program: With a DBA program, you can easily fulfill your dream of studying abroad that too at an affordable fee package without facing the hassle of Visa and entrance exams.


After getting to know all about an MBA and a DBA program, you must choose one that is better for your career. Based on the experience you have in the business sector, you must decide on this. Moreover, do consider your long-term career plans before enrolling in any of the two courses.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

An MBA is a postgraduation degree and a DBA is a doctoral program that is certainly above any graduate or postgraduate degree.

No, international universities offering DBA courses do prefer an MBA program but it is not mandatory and professionals with 7-10 years of experience in the business sector after graduation can also apply for it.

Yes, despite not being offered by Indian Institutions, a DBA course holds global recognition.

A DBA from an accredited international university will make you add a “Dr.” title to your name.

Being a highly experienced professional with 5 years of experience, you must go for a DBA program which will help you reach the CXO positions in your firm.

USA, Switzerland, France, and Spain are some best countries for studying a DBA course.

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