Does a DBA matter?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by blahetka, Nov 12, 2005.

  1. blahetka

    blahetka New Member

    I've seen discussions on degreeinfo and elsewhere re: the DBA (Dr. of Biz Admin" as a way to break into high level consultancy. At one time, I believe, the MBA was seen as the way to break into high level consultancy.

    I did a quick search through HotJobs, in the consulting section, and the only mention of dotorates (using DBA resulted in a lot of database admin listings) were JD's, MDs, and a few PhDs. While it was not an exhaustive search by any means, I was unable to find any mention of Dr. of Biz Admin as even a requirement, desired attribute, or a plus.

    I've held that while an MBA is a good marginal revenue/marginal cost decision (though for how long is uncertain as the supply of MBAs seems to be exploding), a doctorate is more of a marginal utility decision.

    I did my DBA as a way to differentiate myself- even if slightly- from the MBA herd. However, in an exploratory test I did, I find a doctorate may actually keep one from being being considered for a position.

    Over the last few weeks, I performed a very short longitudinal experiment. First, I posted my resume on HotJobs and Monster. In my profile, I listed my highest degree as a doctorate. The result on HotJobs was a total of having my resume showing up in about 30 searches and viewed twice. Monster reported about four public views.

    When I changed my highest reported degree in my profile to my MBA, my resume showed up in over 150 searches and was viewed 42 times (Monster repoted 19 public views). I received several email inquiries.

    I did not change the resume. The degrees were listed in the posted resume. The only difference was the profile.

    Has anyone else any evidence, anecdotal or research based, that would answer the specific question "Is the DBA considered a preferred degree by clients seeking a high level consultant (thereby making it a preferred degree to obatain by those seeking such work)? A general follow-up question would be, "Does a doctorate lessen your chances as a job seeker to obtain an interview?"
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I work for a company that provides consulting services. The two designations we make note of in our literature are the number of people we have who hold industry-related certifications and the number who hold doctorates.

    The Ph.D. is the direct cause for me making $70,000 per year more than before the degree.
  3. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator


    Knowing what you know now, would you set the Wayback Machine and skip the DBA, if you had the chance?
  4. blahetka

    blahetka New Member

    I would still do it. I did not do the DBA for fame and fortune (though I was hoping there might be groupies). I did it as a challenge, and to see if I could do it.

    I did receive a small benefit. I was able to challenge the CFP(r) exam without sitting through all the classes.
  5. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    I've found similar results. Every semester UF has a large career fair with hundreds of employers attending. Even though I'm about 1.5 years from graduating, I attended looking to see which employers would be interested in hiring a newly minted PhD. My field is GIS and Economic Geography and am interested in doing retail location analysis, marketing analysis, or anything that involves spatial statistics.

    When you go to this event, (which is normally for recent grads) you write your name and degree completed on a name tag. I wrote, Ed, MBA, on mine since that was my highest completed. My resume I was carrying however indicated I was currently in a PhD program. Upon first approach to employers, they noticed my name tag, and seemed very interested.

    After getting a feel for the recruiter and what they seemed to be looking for I asked, "Do you hire PhDs?" After that, they went completely cold. Almost all of them said flat out "no" The one that did say yes said they would hire a PhD, but everyone starts out at the bottom. These were not small to medium companies, but large ones who you would think would like PhDs. Companies such as Ahnhieser-Bush, Buxton, Pepsi, UPS, ADM, Cargill, etc. When asked "Why not?" All of them said, in one way or another, "We don't need any. If we need a PhD consultant, we would hire one on a contract basis, not as an employee."

    This seems to go with what people told me when I started my PhD. The only reason one would need a PhD or DBA is for 1)teaching, or 2) doing INDEPENDENT consulting. Keep in mind, I mainly talking about the social science PhDs. PhDs in Chemistry, or Microbiology would likely be hired by research labs.

    So, here is my plan. Go to the career fair next semester, MAKE NO MENTION of being in a PhD program, and see what job offers I get. If I get one, I will seriously consider quitting the PhD. I'm 32 now, I feel the longer I wait, the less chances I have of finding a job.
  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    IMHO, this is a terrific question (as is Russ's answer).
  7. George Brown

    George Brown New Member


    A couple of questions, if I may:

    * Do you feel as if the PhD made you more competent in your work i.e. if you did not have the PhD, do you think you would not be able to perform as effectively in your role as you do now?
    * Do you think your employers saw you more valuable as an employee with the PhD, hence the payrise?
    * Did your employers ever ask you to provide evidence that you held the claimed PhD, and did they every check on this?


  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

  9. George Brown

    George Brown New Member

    Thanks Rich. I'm actually re-reading your dissertation right now, hence my questions. I'm looking at credentialism and screening theory as background to my research, and its interesting to see how employers use a credential as a proxy measure of innate ability and capacity. And I still marvel at the fact that employers demand these credentials, yet never check the darn things. Am I missing something here?


  10. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    Re: Re: Does a DBA matter?

    If the PhD is hurting your employability, then by all means leave it off your application and curriculum vitae (resume). But you can always complete the PhD for your own interest or in the event you might possibly want to teach at a post-secondary institution.
  11. Kirkland

    Kirkland Member

    Doctorate holders in business walk a fine line. Sometimes it's best to keep that gun holstered pulling it at the most opportune and appropriate moments. Many times they are perceived as too analytical and scholastic (read...slow) instead of being decisive, skilled, and aggressive ( Since time is money, fast is an important factor. A common perception is that a doctor of anything is someone who may have spent too much time in school avoiding getting his hands dirty. Bosses many times aren't thrilled about having erudite subordinates who might consider themselves superior or above the rest. (there was a great FedEx ad about a year ago that showed this young guy who said he was a MBA acting like he was above shipping a package... but the head of shipping (when hearing he was a MBA) simply said "good, you can be trained".

    Of course, the idea that doctorate holders can't get the job done is an unfortunate generalization. Many pursued their doctorate to be more effective at work, adding challenge to their lives, and learning advanced theory and practice while performing admirably in their careers. So, with respect to the above question, I believe you must present a balanced resume (although it's hard to know what that balance is). Generally, too much education and not enough experience can be a loser. A degree is just one factor, don't make it your only card. Even graduate degrees including doctorates are just a facet. Experience, skills, references, and the best professional certifications you can get are also tantamount. While sometimes a doctorate is ignored by hiring authorities, other times under the right circumstances, a doctorate with valuable and related experience and other important credentials can be considered the ideal candidate for the most responsible jobs.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2005
  12. blahetka

    blahetka New Member

    This is an important aspect of "the hunt." When I was a member of ProMatch, we often discussed the issues of what went on resumes. If it was germain to a particular position, then it should be on the resume.

    The big misperception is the resume is supposed to get you the job. In reality, its job is to introduce you in a way to get an interview so you can sell yourself and get hired. Most job ads are so pointed, the all purpose resume no longer fits. It is necessary to send targeted resumes for particular jobs. This is unfortunate, as it only presents one facet of a person.

    My little experiment possibly probably shows that a profile with a doctorate will likely not be read. A profile with only a MBA will likely be read (so they say, but some of the replies I've received clearly shows if there were eyes, there was no light behind them). However, if it was indeed read, the person saw the doctorate and likely moved on to the next resume.

    So, the next idea is to remove the doctorate in the profile AND from the resume and see what happens! If I do this, I may or may not remove the publications (definitely will remove the dissertation). It will be interesting to see what happens.

    Networking is the best way to get a foot in the door. Perhaps a DBA will be considered an asset when going into a firm through an introduction. However, in the general pool of potential human capital, I will have to agree with the previous writers there could be a FUD factor involved when a job candidate has a doctorate.

    Of course, the next question is, what will happen if there is no doctorate on the resume, but becomes disclosed when filling out the application? Well, that's a different discussion for another time.
  13. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    can't help asking

    Just how intimate was it, Rich?
  14. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    I am under the impression that a DBA may hurt an applicant in most traditional job interviews, while it may help in a smaller number of others. For example:
    • Everyone knows what an MBA is because it has become a universally accepted term. However, most people have no idea what a DBA is, with the exception of academics.
    • An MBA might be perceived as a "go getter" while a DBA might be perceived as something from the academic outer stratosphere that may have little practical application to many businesses. Bias? Yes.
    The above is simply my impression. One of my undergraduate professors had a DBA from UMUC and he strongly urged us against getting Masters degrees because those who obtain undergradute degrees reportedly make just as much money and get just as much fulfillment out of life as those with Masters degrees. I can't imagine his thoughts on getting a DBA. :eek: He also indicated that there is a lot of academic snobism in the academic world and, though he didn't go into detail, I could tell that it disgusted him. :rolleyes: Your degree is from where??? Well, my degree is better then your degree because mine is from _______.

    My #1 reason for pursuing a DBA is personal enrichment and the #2 reason is a hope that it will somehow someway favorably influence my political and financial future.
  15. blahetka

    blahetka New Member

    Re: can't help asking

    Now, now, you don't expect a gentleman of Rich's stature to kiss and tell, do you??
  16. JoAnnP38

    JoAnnP38 Member

    This thread seems to be leaning toward the idea that one with a DBA might be at a disadvantage with being hired for at least some jobs. Rich has noted that his PhD opened up a job opportunity for which he makes a lot more money. If I understand him correctly, this was for the same employer he had prior to receiving the PhD. My question is, how do employers treat existing employees that go on to receive their doctorate? Is it duly respected? Is it ignored?

    It wasn't until the last few years that my employer opened up their tuition reimbursement policy to even allow an employee to apply it to a doctorate program. While I have always thought that I would someday pursue a PhD in Computer Science, first I want to finish my MS degree, then either an MBA or a MS in Engineering Management. After that, maybe its better that I just cool my academic heels. edowave mentions that this discrimination may not affect PhDs in Chemistry or Microbiology. Does this opinion span engineering and other hard sciences as well?
  17. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    All kidding aside, this is a great and helpful thread.
  18. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Believe it or not, some respondents were astonished that diploma mills even existed, or that job applicants would lie about their education!

    I lay the diploma mill problem right at the feet of employers. They represent the demand, without which there would be very little supply.
  19. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Oh, no. Different employer. My employer at the time--AT&T--ignored it.
  20. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Re: can't help asking

    Well, it didn't involve bending over or anything.....

    But, seriously, it did involve interviews, a tryout, time as an independent consultant, then a client specifically asking for me, which spurred them to make me a full-time offer.

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