PhD, EdD, or DBA?

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by DodoMomo, Mar 26, 2021.


Which program should I choose?

  1. DBA - Aston University - AACSB

    3 vote(s)
  2. DBA - California Southern University - ACBSP

    1 vote(s)
  3. PhD - University of the Cumberlands - IACBE

    5 vote(s)
  4. EdD - Point Park University

    0 vote(s)
  5. Other program not listed here

    2 vote(s)
  1. DodoMomo

    DodoMomo New Member

    Hey everyone,

    I've been a long-time viewer/reader of this forum but never posted anything, until now. I need some advice from all of you.

    I'll start with my long-term goal - to teach full-time (or at least get more adjunct gigs) at a university or college and/or to advance in a career in the private sector while continuing my schooling. Doesn't really matter where I teach, or at what level (graduate/undergraduate), but I realize that to maximize my opportunities I need a doctoral degree. Also, I see the doctoral degree is a bit of a personal challenge and the capstone to my “career” as a student. FYI, I am currently an adjunct for a community college.

    I have an MBA with a Digital Marketing specialization and an MS in Management from two different AACSB schools. I realize that attending an in-person PhD program from an AACSB school is ideal, but at 36 I'm just not sure I want to physically go back to school or spend 4+ years there.

    So, I'm considering some online options. There are pros and cons to each, and I'll do my best to lay each of them out as I see them. All these programs are fully online.

    I'm looking to start Fall 2021.

    Option 1 - DBA from Aston University - fully online, AACSB accredited, $60,000-ish for the whole program. Roughly 4 years. (I have not yet been accepted here, but I assume I will be based on conversations with the staff).

    Concerns: IMO, pretty high priced, but maybe worth it? It's from the UK, so it's an obvious online degree. There's still a stigma with that type of learning.


    Option 2 - DBA from California Southern University - ACBSP - $25,000-ish and they will accept 21 of my credits towards the program. Roughly 3 years. For-profit school. (I have been accepted here).

    Concerns: pretty low graduation rate. Strange payment structure and is a for-profit school.


    Option 3 - PhD from the University of the Cumberlands - IACBE accredited, and I’m waiting to hear how many of my credits they will accept and apply towards the degree - it should be around 21-27. Cost unclear right now, but roughly $25,000? (I’m estimating 2.5 years). (I have been accepted here).

    Concerns: IACBE is "OK", but not "great." Some would say not even "good." Also, lot's of people in this program, so I've heard instructors are spread thin and have trouble keeping up.


    Option 4 - EdD from Point Park University in Leadership and Administration - Hybrid program (you use Zoom to “attend” the live classes - I like this). Allows me to focus on an Organizational/Professional Leadership track which I think would be interesting. Roughly 2 years. From my discussion with the staff, this program seems like it would have the best support system. (I have been accepted here).

    Concerns: it's an EdD and might make it tough to compete for jobs in a business school. Although, this program seems like it would be the most interactive. And, I also get the impression that it might be the most rigorous. Also, this school is close to where I live so if issues arise I can easily go to campus. It may provide me with options to get into Higher Ed Admin which might be a good challenge, but I think other degrees could also do that too.

    What do you think? Are there any other programs you think would be better?

    I've also posted a poll to best display the answers too.
    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  2. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    I am not saying you can't get a full-time faculty position with an online degree, but I will say you shouldn't have your expectation too high. It is already competitive for traditionally prepared Ph.Ds., especially since COVID. That said, I would go with Cumberlands because of the cost and the best degree (Ph.D.) option for academia. If you plan to remain in the corporate world, where I don't see the need for a doctorate, the DBA might be the best option. In such a case, it wouldn't matter whether it's from an FP or NFP school. Most people won't care that you have a doctorate outside of the education sphere. Higher Ed or K-12 is where people tend to flex their "Dr." muscles.
  3. Futuredegree

    Futuredegree Well-Known Member

    I also say go with the University of The Cumberlands. I had a chance to speak with a few students current and past and they say the programs for both the PhD and EdD are very manageable for working people and classes are 8 weeks long each
    Maniac Craniac and DodoMomo like this.
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    On the one hand, I want to vote for Cumberlands, because of my good experience with them; the low cost; and because if you do the Leadership program the specialization allows you to amass 18 credits in one of a wide selection of disciplines, which means being academically qualified to teach them, a big plus for some. You also say you like live sessions, which Cumberlands has. I don't see IACBE as a factor, as when it comes to programmatic accreditation it's really either AACSB or who cares.

    But it seems like your gut is telling you Point Park for some reason. We make so many decisions intuitively that I'd be very reluctant to encourage you to go against yours.

    Either way, though, I'm with Chris, in that given your goals you should consider whether any of them would provide sufficient return on the investment of money and time. If nothing else, don't pull the trigger on any of them until you feel very confident in that decision.
    felderga, Vonnegut, chrisjm18 and 2 others like this.
  5. DodoMomo

    DodoMomo New Member

    It seems like an EdD is great for people who want to advance after already having secured a position at, say, a community college. It's the Professional Leadership track that interests me most. CalSouthern has a similar track in their DBA.
    chrisjm18 and SteveFoerster like this.
  6. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    1) OP, just wondering - Was your undergrad also from an AACSB school? It's great being an adjunct, for community college level, an ACBSP is sufficient, but if you have an undergrad and/or graduate AACSB degree, it'll be even better.

    2) Essentially, I would skip anything that is not AACSB or ACBSP. If you are going to be continuing with the community college gig or deciding to stay at that level, then an ACBSP DBA would suffice. If you want to teach or research further at a 4 year college/univ, then AACSB is recommended.

    3) Basically, I am looking at CalSouthern and Cumberlands, it's ACBSP though. If you really want AACSB, the majority are not online yet unless you're ready to pay the premium. You just need to see if the risk or reward is up to snuff... For me, ACBSP is good enough.
    DodoMomo likes this.
  7. DodoMomo

    DodoMomo New Member

    No, my undergrad isn't AACSB (it didn't come from the college of business which is AACSB). It's an applied business degree, so it came from a different college within the university which is not AACSB - because it's a different "college." I hope that makes sense.
  8. Courcelles

    Courcelles Active Member

    If you don’t explain that, most people would not figure that out, even those who care about AACSB.
  9. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    True. And even the people who figure it out won't care, because only your grad school credits and credentials qualify you for faculty positions.
  10. DodoMomo

    DodoMomo New Member

  11. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I would vote for the University of the Cumberlands's Ph.D. in Business Administration as well out of the three. If you want to go for DBA with ACBSP accreditation, you might consider Liberty University (unless you don't like world view) or Willington University. Although the learning and degree online, but the institution has brick and mortar campus present is important in the credential as well. Have you considered ESCP's Global Executive Ph.D. in Business Administration accredited by AACSB and EFMD (Europe)?
  12. DodoMomo

    DodoMomo New Member

    I've looked into Liberty but I'm not too interested in trying to incorporate their worldview into my work. That doesn't seem to be a problem at UCumberlands. And yes, that brick and mortar campus is one of the reasons that I am considering UCumberlands (all of them really, except CalSouthern).
    Futuredegree likes this.
  13. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I attended Liberty University for Ph.D. in Public Administration as cheap tuition for Veterans, but I could not survive the worldview. I came back to the University of the Cumberlands when I found out that Blockchain Technology, which I am interested in.

    I don't know much about IACBE, but other schools have been doing good.
    - Florida Institute of Technology
    - Nova Southeastern University
    - Indiana Institution of Technology
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2021
    Futuredegree likes this.
  14. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    If full time teaching is your goal, I would go with an AACSB accredited DBA. All the other options are hard to sell for a business school. Most business schools require an AACSB accredited doctorate as a minimum. Leadership and Administration degrees are hard to sell for teaching positions, these degrees are meant mainly for academic administration positions but most business schools require specialists in marketing, finance, accounting, etc. There might be a tiny number of positions that require a leadership specialist but you are looking at a very small option.

    The other option is status quo, you have already two masters degrees so you can try to get a Lecturer or instructor position, the PhD from Cumberlands would not make much difference to what you have now so you might as well try to get a full time position with what you have.

    None of these options are ideal for an academic position as an AACSB accredited school. The typical assistant professor is a person in his or her early 30s coming from a full time traditional PhD from an AACSB accredited school. As you seem to be an experienced professional, you should be looking at a clinical professor or lecturer that puts more emphasis in experience and less in academic credentials. For the latter, the DBA from an AACSB accredited can be seen as a plus and might give you the edge.

    The other option is to look for jobs at teaching schools that require less emphasis on research and are not AACSB accredited. This type of school likes people with a PhD (Any business related with a PhD would do) but you will find yourself teaching 4 to 5 courses a semester with a low pay. This type of schools normally have a hard time filling their positions because pay low and you might be able to get them even with your two masters. However, I think the salary is comparable of what you can make as an adjunct but with the advantage that these are permanent positions. You are are looking at 50 to 65K.

    A Clinical professor at an AACSB accredited school can be making more than 100K, these are non tenure track positions but are normally very stable because you are teaching courses in high demand and you are unlikely to be laid off. You are not expected to do research and your strength should be experience and solid education. For this the DBA from Aston is a good fit.

    The dilemma of doing an online PhD to get a tenure track position has been discussed before so you can do a search and see other points of view. In general, you will have a hard time getting a traditional tenure track with any type of DL doctorate mainly because the market is very conservative and most traditional academics went the traditional way of 5 years full time so they will expect the same. There are exceptions such as Accounting, as a CPA with an MBA is making 200K+ with 10 years or more of experience, schools cannot fill their 100K jobs with PhDs in Accounting so here you have an opportunity to get them with a DBA from an AACSB done via DL.

    Some people also do a PhD in any field and try the post doctoral bridge for AACSB academics, but there is no guarantee that PhD in any field + Post Doctoral bridge is equal to a PhD from an AACSB. Even people that complete a PhD from an AACSB accredited school the traditional way, might find themselves in an endless loop of post doctoral and contractual positions if they are in a field of low demand or if they are unable to publish in highly ranked journals.
    DodoMomo likes this.
  15. GregWatts

    GregWatts Active Member

  16. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    What thesis topic were you interested in at Liberty out of curiosity?
  17. DodoMomo

    DodoMomo New Member

    I don't really have my sights set on a full-time academic position at an AACSB school, as I'm not really interested in doing research. So I'm definitely leaning more towards teaching schools/the community college route. I've had some interest lately from schools offering full-time instructor positions, so fingers crossed there as I am early in the interview stage. And yes, I do have significant professional experience which I believe helped me to get my first adjunct gig. (At the time I only had an MS in Mgmt.)
  18. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I was interested in Information Technology Governance in the Public Sector.
    Dustin likes this.
  19. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    I have what basically is a full-time Instructor gig, and most of my peers (at the moment, all of us at the department) have traditional PhDs from "good" public universities. I'm in Computer Science at a medium-sized regional, Research II school, and our business department is AACSB. I feel that here a degree from the likes of Aston would be an asset. On the other hand, I do not really have a feel for the job market in Business; if I had to guess I'd say you'll have a shot with a Cumberlands PhD at a CC or teaching-oriented school. EdD is normally not for teaching Business at college level, so I wouldn't have picked it.
    DodoMomo likes this.
  20. Futuredegree

    Futuredegree Well-Known Member

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