While a Master of Business Administration (MBA) qualifies you for the highest levels of business management, a PhD in a field related to business is needed to get into academia and conduct groundbreaking research. It can also give job seekers in private industry a leg up on candidates with MBAs. The following PhDs are among the best choices for business professionals.
PhD in Business Administration
A PhD program in business administration focuses on economics, statistics and research as they apply to business operations. Students can opt for concentrations in areas such as corporate finance, information systems and entrepreneurship. Since these programs are heavy on the use of statistics and quantitative analysis, there are usually prerequisite requirements in mathematics (such as calculus and algebra). A PhD in Business Administration generally requires 40 to 85 course credits to complete. Those who hold a master's degree (such as an MBA) may have a significant amount of these credit requirements already covered by prior coursework.
PhD in Management
A PhD in Management program covers much of the same ground that a PhD in Business Administration does. The two degrees might seem interchangeable at first glance, but there can be significant differences. A PhD in Business Administration program may put more focus on the student's chosen area of concentration, while the PhD in Management may specifically focus on the managing of people and resources in a business setting. It may also emphasize advanced research methods, management theories and academic teaching preparation. Common specializations may include human resource management, leadership and information system management.
The specific coursework requirements and focus will vary by program. Courses that can be expected include financial economics, marketing, operations and organizational behavior. Expect these programs to take about 40 to 64 credits to complete; as with the PhD in Business Administration, programs may accept significant amount of transfer credits from holders of master's degrees.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Accounting and Bookkeeping
- Business Economics
- Business Finance
- Business Management and Operations
- Business Marketing
- Business Support and Administrative Services
- Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development
- Hospitality Management
- Human Resource Management
- Information System Management
- International Business
- Sales and Merchandising
- Specialized Sales
PhD in Business Economics
As the name indicates, the PhD in Business Economics program focuses on economic analysis as it pertains to business. Coursework often includes micro and macroeconomic theory, econometrics, public policy and statistics. Students may be able to choose a core specialty such as international trade or labor economics. Students should expect about 60 to 80 credits of coursework as well as a teaching requirement (generally teaching a related class to undergraduate students).
General Admission Requirements for Business PhDs
Programs may or may not require a master's degree in a related field as a prerequisite, but it should be expected that they will require at least a bachelor's degree of some kind. There may also be a specific GMAT or GRE score or grade point average in addition to a letter of recommendation or work experience requirements. International students may also have to demonstrate some proof of English proficiency, and there may also be a requirement that the student reside on campus for some amount of academic years.
If you're interested in a PhD in a business discipline, you'll want to look at business administration, management and business economics as strong possibilities. A PhD in these fields opens up a new world of opportunity in academia and also helps private industry applicants to stand out from an increasingly crowded MBA field.