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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.

Accredited by AACBS, AMBA and EQUIS

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.

The DBA diploma is granted by Aalto University School of Business.

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Rolling intake

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


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 courses that support the thesis’ topic.

Normally, a 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 DBA 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

Admission Requirements

  • 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

Tuition Fee

  • The tuition fee is € 32,000 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 to apply for the Aalto Executive DBA program. You will get the application instructions and application form from the program team.

The application process consists of:

  1. Contacting the Aalto Executive DBA program team for the application criteria check and an interview date
  2. Participating in an interview with the Academic Director of the DBA program, receiving guidelines for writing a research proposal
  3. Preparing the application
  4. Submitting the research proposal, application form with resume, and recommendation letters to Aalto EE
  5. Receiving notification of possible acceptance
  6. Starting the studies