Aalto Executive DBA
Reaching for the Top
The Aalto Executive Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a structured program in Business Administration for experienced individuals with considerable managerial experience who wish to contribute to the development of their professional competence and their key areas of interest.
The program has both real-world relevance and academic rigor and focuses on the relevance to the employer and the professional development of the candidate.
Aalto Executive DBA graduates will develop doctoral-level in-depth knowledge of the latest theories and methodologies in business research and act as thought leaders for organizational change. In addition to executive positions, DBA graduates typically work in various expert positions in corporations and the public sector. The DBA research project – finalized in a publicly defended DBA thesis – typically has strong linkages to business and managerial practice. DBA candidates can, for instance, conduct a sizable research project for their employer.
Compared to some more scientifically oriented doctoral programs, the DBA studies and research place emphasis on the application of theories – the creation and testing of an entirely novel theory is not a necessity. The majors of Aalto Executive DBA are strategy and marketing, but any managerially relevant interdisciplinary topics are strongly encouraged.
DBA is not a part of the regular Finnish degree structure.
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Novel, innovative, and creative solutions to business problems and opportunities as well as thought leadership for organizational change
Doctoral level in-depth knowledge of latest theories and methodologies in business research
Flexible part-time study structure and a strongly applied nature of the doctoral thesis
From Aalto Executive DBA graduates the employers can expect novel, innovative, and creative solutions to business problems and opportunities as well as thought leadership for organizational change. Aalto Executive DBA graduates will centrally develop doctoral level in-depth knowledge of latest theories and methodologies in business research. The requirements for coursework are essentially the same as for any DSc or PhD program at Aalto University School of Business - 60 study credits in 10 doctoral level courses. However, the main difference to the DSc and PhD programs is the flexible part-time study structure of the Aalto Executive DBA and the strongly applied nature of the doctoral thesis.
- Researcher education in management studies (theoretical and methodological competence)
- Competence to design and implement a sizable research project with a practical orientation
- A collegial network with professors and other researchers and the Executive DBA candidates
- Competence in presenting papers in international seminars and conferences
- Writing and defending an academic doctoral thesis and research papers/articles
- Strengthening own critical thinking and gaining expertise to lead demanding knowledge-based development initiatives in organizations
- Developing thought leadership for better leadership and organizational change
Explore Aalto Executive DBA Thesis'
What Is a DBA All About?
What is a DBA degree? And how does it differ from a traditional D.Sc. in Economics and Business Administration? Professor Henrikki Tikkanen and Academic Director Mikko Laukkanen answer frequently asked questions about the differences between the two programs.Read Article
To graduate, the Aalto Executive DBA candidate must have completed 10 personally tailored doctoral courses (60 ECTS credits), that consist of compulsory courses on academic writing and research methods as well as tailored online courses that support the thesis’ topic.
Normally, an online course consists of approximately 30 journal articles or research papers around a subject. Typically, there are no traditional lectures nor exams. The primary instructor can be contacted online when preparing the reaction papers and essays around the readings. Moreover, the students discuss the readings related to their coursework and receive face-to-face feedback from the instructors during the course.
The Aalto Executive DBA Thesis
As the result of the Aalto Executive DBA studies the candidate will produce a DBA thesis (180 ECTS credits) which has strong linkages to business and managerial practice. The DBA thesis will deliver a high degree of both scholarship and independent thought. The thesis supervision is conducted by highly qualified professors from Aalto University.
The thesis is written in English and typically consists of 3–6 scientific articles or conference papers and a summary. The thesis is typically 100–150 pages in total. The completed thesis is defended at public examination.
In line with high-intensity management education programs, the Aalto Executive DBA program provides the opportunity for accelerated progress through three academic years. Maximum six years of studies are allowed to complete the Aalto Executive DBA program.
Admission Requirements and Fee
- A recognized master’s degree in any discipline or a recognized MBA or Executive MBA
- Minimum five years of postgraduate work experience prior to DBA study, some of this at a senior level
- A full application form with comprehensive resumé (curriculum vitae, CV) in English
- Two recommendation letters, at least one from an academic source
- From non-native English speakers a proof of their English language skills
- Personal interview
- A research proposal
- The tuition fee is € 29,000 per year (+ VAT). The tuition fee is charged for each year of DBA studies.
- The fee for the first year is charged after the candidate has approved the letter of acceptance.
- Participation, travel, and accommodation costs related to possible attendance to seminars or international academic conferences are not included in the tuition fee.
Kindly contact the program team first in order to apply for the Aalto Executive DBA program. You will get the application instructions and form from the program director.
The application process consists of:
- Contacting the Aalto Executive DBA program team for the application criteria check and an interview date
- Participating in an interview with the Academic Director of the DBA program, receiving guidelines for writing a research proposal
- Preparing the application
- Submitting the research proposal, application form with resume, and recommendation letters to Aalto EE
- Receiving notification of possible acceptance
- Starting the studies