What Can You Do With a PhD in Business Administration?

A business professional may seek a PhD in Business Administration as preparation for teaching at a college or university. However, the degree also provides the skills needed to work as high-level corporate administrators and international business leaders.

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A PhD in Business Administration graduate seeking interesting and well-paying work outside of academia has options. There are many private and public sector employment opportunities for those with the degree. Graduates have the analytical and leadership skills for jobs that require the ability to manage people, delegate duties, and make critical decisions.

Careers Available for PhD in Business Administration Graduates

Job Title Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Accountant $69,350 (Accountants and Auditors) 10% (Accountants and Auditors)
Chief Executive Officer $104,700 (All Top Executives) 8% (All Top Executives)
Economist $102,490 6%
Financial Analyst $84,300 11%
Financial Manager $125,080 19%
Political Scientist $115,110 3
Training and Development Manager $108,250 10%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Actuarial Sciences
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  • Business Statistics
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  • eCommerce
  • Logistics, Distribution, and Materials Management
  • Management Science
  • Office Management
  • Operations Management
  • Public and Nonprofit Organizational Management
  • Purchases, Acquisitions, and Contracts Management
  • Transportation Management

Examples of Careers Available for PhD in Business Administration Graduates


Accountants prepare financial reports and records. In the audit role, accountants review financial records for accuracy and make sure an organization's accounting practices are in compliance with regulations and accepted accounting practices. Accountants work in organizations of all sizes from small businesses to major corporations. Those who work with accounting firms usually perform audits for outside entities or serve in a consulting role. Accounting courses in the PhD program prepare a graduate for this role.

Chief Executive Officer

A chief executive officer or CEO of an organization is the person who directs all organizational activities. A CEO hires upper-management staff to oversee various departments to assure that an organization runs smoothly. In larger organizations, A CEO works closely with a Board of Directors and may also be the chair or president of the board. Depending on how they are structured, some non-profit directors may also have the title of CEO rather than executive director. Courses in finance, economics, human resources, and organizational leadership help graduates develop the skillset for this position.


Economists look at economic trends and make forecasts that help businesses, government organizations, and policy-makers engage in strategic planning and make sound financial decisions. Economists study information related to inflation and interest rates and may specialize in specific areas like agriculture or energy. They use software for data analysis and compile and write reports that will be used by their clients and stakeholders. Courses in economics and research prepare the PhD graduate to work in this position.

Financial Analyst

A financial analyst is a key role in an organization. A financial analyst gathers financial information and reviews it for any issues that management may need to address. They also look at revenues and expenditures and help businesses in their financial planning. Courses in economics, finance, accounting, and research teach the skills useful for a financial analyst.

Financial Manager

Work settings for financial managers include corporations, healthcare facilities, and government organizations. They oversee the financial activities of an organization. Financial managers supervise employees such as accountants and financial analysts. Financial managers prepare reports and develop budgets. They must keep abreast of regulations and tax laws that affect how an organization manages finances. Graduates of PhD programs with a concentration in accounting and finance might choose this career path.

Political Scientist

A political scientist studies the political process and factors that shape politics. They analyze trends, teach, and advise politicians, businesses, and government organizations. Political scientists communicate their findings to their clients, stakeholders, and the general public. Their findings may shape campaign strategies and policy decisions. Communication and research skills developed in the PhD program are useful in this role.

Training and Development Manager

Training and development managers are responsible for helping employees stay current with continuing education and training. They assess training needs, develop training programs, and assign instructors to provide training. Training and development managers also evaluate training programs to determine if they are effective. A PhD in Business graduate program with an emphasis on human resources would benefit an individual seeking this position.

An individual with a PhD in Business Administration is not limited to teaching. There are opportunities for PhD in Business Administration graduates to put their skills to work in private and public organizations.

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