DBA programmes in the UK - thoughts?

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by Shadowskimmer, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. ifen

    ifen New Member

    Hi Allan, I see you already have Manchester Business School in your list so not sure how much you know about the school already. However, I can give some insights into what to expect from an interview I conducted with the school's director of DBA programme. Prof. Kang emphasised that getting all the support you can is necessary- from your employers and from family members. You can expect to put in about 10-12 hours of study each week so you need to be sure you have this amount of time to spare. The programme is largely online so there isn't a great deal of travel required expect coming to Manchester for one week, three times a year, for the first two years and after that are only required to come in once a year. Lastly, the programme is by invitation only. Applicants start by sending a 3000 word research paper along with their resume. This is meant to act as a test for both applicants and the school to see if they can really commit to this and to test their motivations.
  2. dl_mba

    dl_mba Member

    university of Liverpool is a fine school. But the Management school is not AACSB accredited (if you are looking for a AACSB accredited program). For the same price you can attend a AACSB school in UK like Aston, Henley, Manchester etc (the last two are a little more expensive). All 3 are AACSB+EQUIS+AMBA accredited (Triple accredited). You will not go wrong with any of the three. All the best with your search.
  3. Shadowskimmer

    Shadowskimmer New Member

    Hi guys,

    I thought that it was time to give an update and perhaps add a few more thoughts to thread here.
    Thanks for all the replies so far and feel free to add your own info and insights.
    - Astridge has a Doctorate on Organizational Change which is very interesting - unfortunately the accrediting university is Middlesex - that makes it a no go for me.
    - have found out that the DBA at Cranfield is offered as a dual DBA/PhD in conjunction with Tillburg university in Holland. Interesting indeed.
    - IE business School offer a DBA. It is the highest ranking school in Europe to offer a DBA - price is 60000 euro. Placing it well under Cranfield and Manchester in price. It is also a dual degree where you in the process are awarded an MSc. in Business and Management research. Henley does the same thing which makes them attractive programs.
    - Most programs such as Manchester, Cranfield, Henley and Aston and others state required time commitment of about 10-15 hours per week.
    IE stated that 20-25 hours of extra work is required per week. That is a LOT of work to add on a 50+ hour week. 10-12 is perfectly doable - at the 20 hour mark things begin to hurt quite a bit.

    It could also be a way sift away all but the most commited. There are 6 weeks of attentance at IE in 3x2 week blocks the first 1.5 years. Cranfield tops it with a 55 days of attendance - again something to consider in terms of time commitment - but generally I wellcome the oppertunity for networking, classes and discussion. Just another aspect to factor in when choosing.

    - I will only go for a triple crown school that is decided and it narrows down the field somewhat.
    - Can anyone comment on Henleys reputation in the US? Or the other schools for that matter? So far they have by far been the sharpest in servicing my need for info.
    - Any thoughts on individual schools potential for networking with regards to future jobs?
    - Finances: FYI I am sharing expenses with my organization and have written a 11 page document on all the benefits etc. Am happy to share that but it is in Danish - also did manage to cut it down to 3 pages for the directors :eek:).
    - When considering price I am warming up to the fact that it is a once in a life-time experience so if its another 20000 pounds over an entire career that seems like a small investment if you go big picture on it. Am thinking what is 20k over the next 30 years in my career - can I afford not to go for the absolute best fit for me regardless of price?

    I am more than happy to share thoughts with anyone thinking about doing a DBA next year and in general - feel free to email me.
  4. JeepNerd

    JeepNerd New Member

    I know I personally am intersted in ONE major piece of information on any of these and that is ANY residency requirements where we would need to travel to the UK and be onsite.

    I am applying to Heriot-Watt for their DBA, and one of the main considerations in my choice was the fact this could be completed via 100% distance learning!

    Any of these that come up, if we can put in the description, (1 week onsite per year) or such it would help folks make their decisions!
  5. Skidud313

    Skidud313 New Member


    New here as well, also looking into many of the DBA programs in the UK, though Grenoble might be my first choice at this point. I've been trolling a lot recently, this seems like a good thread to piggyback on.

    I've got some specific paramaters I'm looking for, so it really narrows things down to the UK and Grenoble, from what I've been able to find. AACSB or EQUIS is definitely a must. Distance learning is a must as well, don't necessarily mind trips to Europe but want to do a handful at the most, not a dozen or for weeks at a time. For the most part, seems like Grenoble is the best fit here, but some of the other program(me)s don't have as much detail about residence periods/workshops available. Cost is also a factor.

    Right now my prime interest group is-

    Grenoble: €44,000 ≈ $57,000 + 2 US seminars and 2 in Grenoble, or €48,000 and 4 European trips if done with Newcastle (any reason the joint degree is better for a US-based candidate?). Also have heard the completion rate is low, but don't know how far to read into that.

    Surrey: (anyone have an idea of the fee range?)
    Durham: £35,000-$42,000 ≈ $57,000-65,000 + any UK visits (retooling their program as mentioned)
    Aston: £35,000 ≈ $57,000 + visits (again, retooling, and does anyone know how strictly they enforce the 5 year experience requirement? I'll have 3-4ish years under my belt)
    Henley: I like the look of their program and campus, but a bit pricey at £43,500 ≈ $70,000

    As I do a better job of synthesizing what I find out, I'll come back here and add to the conversation because there's now at least 3 of us looking at some of the same things. Really appreciate what I've learned from everyone here.
  6. dremmaparry

    dremmaparry New Member

    Hello All. I'm the Director of the Cranfield DBA and would be happy to discuss this with you if it would help. I'm not into the hard sell so happy to give you a realistic view, answer any questions and/or put you in touch with existing/past students if it would help. Just let me know.
  7. Skidud313

    Skidud313 New Member

    I'll follow up and say that after further research, Grenoble and Aston are my primary targets. Henley and Durham are in the secondary consideration group, mostly because of the cost of higher fees and more residency periods.

    An interesting discussion point that seems to be unique to the UK doctoral model- Does anyone have any experience or feedback on the 4 paper option that Aston offers? Usually when I've seen that before it's only available to those already in academia.

    I think that might be a good way to approach doctoral research on a part-time basis. I like the idea of being able to focus on a few related topics for 20,000 words or so each instead of 80,000-100,000 words on the same specific topic- I could see myself getting lost and saying the same things over and over. But I could see how the requirement to get two peer-reviewed articles published might make be tough in a 4-5 year time frame. Might be good practice for tenure-track publishing pressures, though. I'm going to look into it, I'll share what I find out.
  8. Woho

    Woho New Member

    A little while ago I had a discussion with someone very familiar with the UK doctorate system ( was looking for PhD advisor myself). Since I also brought up the topic of a journal-article based dissertations his opinion was that this is essentially depending on the research area. The publication based approach is only recommendable if working in a field that requires relatively few new methodological approaches, i.e. that graduate students have already the essential methods down and only need to work themselves deeper into the specific expertise areas. As typical examples for a publication based approach were the Finance field given and for a dissertation based approach the Organizational Science. But in the end this looked very subjective to me and it might all come down to your supervisor's position/ambition. If you are aiming for top journals, from the get-go achieving our publications as the single author is close to impossible.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 6, 2012

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

  10. Skidud313

    Skidud313 New Member

    Does anyone know of any DBA programs, other than Henley, that have a MSc or similar as a midway point?
  11. Newbie2DL

    Newbie2DL Member

    Would be interesting to hear what actions were taken as a result of the info on this thread...
  12. Skidud313

    Skidud313 New Member

    I'd be interested in what others have done, as well.

    I've been offered a place in the MSc/DBA track at Henley, so if I end up doing a doctorate, I'll be doing it there. I'm in the interview stages with Grenoble (not in the UK, but part of my consideration set), but I'm less interested in their program.
  13. Newbie2DL

    Newbie2DL Member

    Congratulations on receiving an offer! So what has you more interested in the Henley program than Grenoble?
  14. Skidud313

    Skidud313 New Member

    Thanks, it feels great to get in, especially since I think I'm a good deal younger than the typical Research Associate matriculating there.

    One of the factors is the program structure- I like the fact that you get the MSc along the way, that checkpoint makes your investment a bit safer if you were to decide not to continue for whatever reason.

    I like that Grenoble has 5 of the 7 workshops here in the US, but you can do all but one of the Henley workshops in either the UK or in Toronto, which is a nice option.

    Mostly, it seems to me like there is better placement in both industry and academia for Henley alumni than Grenoble. Yes, some have made it to tenure track positions from Grenoble, but I've found more out of Henley, and at institutions I (in no formal fashion) consider to be of higher repute. I've also been more impressed with the research output, in terms of both quality and quantity.

    Gut feeling is part of it, too. Something about the school, the pedagogy, the community, just feels more right to me. I'd love to spend some time in France, of course- drink some wine, brush up on my French language skills- but I think Henley is a better fit for what I'm looking for out of a DBA program.
  15. Newbie2DL

    Newbie2DL Member

    I'm glad you've found a program you like and one that feels to be a good fit. But let me ask you, given you have an MBA already (in your sig), how important to you is the mid-way Masters? Did Henley share their placement records with you? I'm not trying to dissuade you - but we're not talking a 1-2 year masters... A DBA part-time will take 5-6 yrs. I want to make sure you've literally scoured the earth re courses, and haven't solely relied on the forum (as excellent as it - and the people on it - are!)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2013
  16. Skidud313

    Skidud313 New Member

    Oh, my process was far more involved than this forum, great as it is :)

    I was looking at several programs, as well as resident PhD programs. The opportunity cost of taking a more than 50% pay cut to go onto a stipend and having to move my family just made PhD programs less appealing.

    For a DBA, I wanted AACSB, I wanted limited residencies, but still a fair amount of face-to-face contact. It came down to a handful of schools- mainly Aston, Grenoble, and Henley. Henley seemed to have the best track record and program structure.

    As far as the MSc, it's not necessarily something I'd pursue on its own, but it's a nice supplementary qualification to have if I look for other jobs in the 5 years or so I'm getting my degrees. Plus, if I were to get into a dream job scenario, I wouldn't be throwing ALL of my work out the window if I were to decide not to continue. And as a research-focused Master's degree, it's complementary to the MBA I already have, especially when considering careers in research-oriented consulting.

    My biggest hesitation is definitely the cost, because none of these programs are particularly cheap (I have another thread started about this). But the potential rewards are pretty great, and I'm legitimately interested in doing the work and learning the skills for the sake of the knowledge, not just the qualification (this blog post makes a lot of sense). We'll see what happens- won't be deciding on anything until we finish closing on our first house next month.
  17. JeepNerd

    JeepNerd New Member

    FWIW, I just finished my first exam and awaiting the results. I chose Heriot-Watt University based on their program allowing me to complete my studies with 100% distance model!! Cost was excellent and the program "courses" are basically HOW to write a Research Proposal (IBR1), do a Lit Review (IBR2) and Choose/apply Method (number crunching, qualitative, etc) IBR3.

    At that point, you are then officially geared up and spend 6 months with your adviser hammering out the Research Proposal, editing and polishing until accepted by the committee.

    Then you are off!! One of the things I am VERY impressed by is the emphasis on TIME/Planning of the research!! You are expected to create a timeline, use GANTT type chart to track your progress (MSFT Project) and stick to it!

    Compared to the DBA at Liberty Univ in Accounting (now a top choice, but not available when I looked), they have a LOT of courses and then a "project" in place of dissertation.

    So it depends on if you want "coursework" or to instead start working very specifically on what it takes to do a dissertation and then APPLY that knowledge. That is the HWU system and I am pretty pleased to date!


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