Swiss Management Center Doctorate Questions

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by Adam311, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. Adam311

    Adam311 Member

    Hi all,

    I am a petroleum accountant and I am looking for a Doctorate degree to achieve a personal mile stone/goal. I came across Swiss Management Center, and they offer a Doctorate in Finance. I am not worried about accrediation because i have no aspirations to be a professor/teacher. I would like a cost efficient program that would help me learn more while obtaining a Doctorate while working full time.

    Does anyone know the answer to these questions:
    -does SMC require non-residency?
    -can I accelerate in the program?
    -anyone here go to this school?
    -are the courses exam based or all written based?
    -any other school offer a doctorate in Finance/Accounting for the same competitive pricing as SMC?

    Thank you all in advance.
  2. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    A few things:

    Accreditation - Even if you don't want to be a professor, you should care a little bit about accreditation. Imagine making a clear and cogent argument only to then be attacked by someone because you have a degree from an unaccredited school which, may or may not, give the impression that you bought your degree from a diploma mill. Aside from appearances, accreditation does serve a necessary quality control function to ensure you actually receive a decent education.

    I know little about SMC, though it does appear to be ACBSP accredited. It seems to lack institutional accreditation and does not appear authorized to award degrees in Switzerland. To me, this shows that ACBSP is really trying hard to get CHEA to yank its recognition. But it also says that the business programs should be up to U.S. standards though it would likely fall short of a program that is AACSB accredited.

    The Swiss Management Center isn't authorized to award degrees by the Swiss government. That should be a red flag.
  3. novadar

    novadar Member

    SMC appears to have had a makeover recently. I have always thought fondly of their programs. The have legal approval from their Canton (essentially a State) of Zug and ACBSP Programmatic Accreditation. You may want to contact an NACES evaluator to get an informal opinion if they would grant an equivalency. If that is not important to you then I feel you should be fine. An SMC degree is legal much in the same way as a State Approved Law Degree in California would be or the way in which California used to authorize universities to grant degrees. So it is not a stretch to say in regards to SMC that you have both an Accredited and Authorized Degree.

    Interestingly SMC's Vice Provost & Mgt Professor, Ted Sun, is also a President Elect Designate from ACBSP's Region 8. I seriously doubt SMC's accreditation is in any danger.

    They lowered their prices significantly, a good move in my mind.

    There is another member of DI, freakoutguy, who completed his Doctorate there last fall. You may want to send a PM, introduce yourself, and ask away.

    From their website it seems:
    - They are entirely non-resident (that has been their modus operandi since they opened
    - There is language that says students can move at their own pace

    Good luck.
  4. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Also, let me just clarify that when I said "red flag" I don't mean that this is potentially a degree mill. It's a red flag for me in the sense that the school just may not be the best value. I would look closely at the tuition and compare it to schools which do have institutional accreditation.
  5. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    "Fall short" is an interesting way of putting it. What do you believe AACSB accredited programs do that makes them categorically better than programs that are ACBSP accredited?

    As Novadar said, the Swiss federal government doesn't do that, cantons do. But it's been pointed out in previous SMC threads that they're eligible for at least one form of institutional accreditation there and don't have it, and while accreditation is optional there, I'm unsure why they wouldn't pursue it.
  6. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Did you ever write something and, afterward, look at what you wrote and question your word choice? But, because you can't really think of a better way of saying it you let it stand? That's sort of what happened here.

    While the AACSB is certainly the top accreditation in terms of reputation, you're right, how does not having AACSB accreditation make the program look? Part of the issue is that I am getting an increasingly weird feeling toward the ACBSP over their accreditation of these European based for-profit schools which lack institutional accreditation or authority to award degrees in their home country. Horizons would also fit into this category.

    Maybe I should just relax. But this strikes me as the thing that could really hurt ACBSP in the future. I suppose all of that discomfort caused me to project onto the academics of the institution and that isn't fair. Particularly since my own alma mater is ACBSP accredited. Unlike SMC, however, my school also has institutional accreditation.

    Perhaps you know more about Swiss accreditation than I do. However, the institution is not accredited by the Swiss Center of Accreditation and Quality Assurance in Higher Education which is kind of a big deal, as I'm reading it.

    I'm viewing the system through American eyes. Accreditation is also optional here in many states. The phrase "accreditation is a voluntary process" is factually true. However, it also happens to be the opening line on the accreditation page of virtually every unaccredited institution (good and bad).

    While accreditation may be voluntary that doesn't mean it is without value. Nor does it mean that a school which chooses to forego the process should be afforded the assumption of legitimacy.

    SMC has approval in its canton. But it lacks the institutional accreditation which is standard for Swiss Universities. That may be OK for some people. For me, it's a red flag. Just like the state approved school in the U.S., SMC has the legal authority to operate. But legal authority to operate and accreditation review of coursework, faculty, processes and finances are different animals entirely.
  7. novadar

    novadar Member

    Well, then what do you propose the ACBSP accreditation reflects?
  8. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I don't propose ACBSP reflect anything other than what ACBSP accreditation is supposed to reflect. ACBSP is a programmatic accreditor. That's it. They do not provide institutional accreditation. SMC meets ACBSP's criteria for its business programs. Great. But the school lacks institutional accreditation. It lacks the accreditation that is standard for a University in Switzerland. ACBSP cannot change that fact.

    You're talking about different scopes of evaluation. ACBSP is evaluating their business programs. An institutional accreditor would be reviewing the finances, curriculum and practices of the overall university. Programmatic accreditation is great but it isn't designed to substitute the institutional review.

    ACBSP seems to be making quite a business for itself by accrediting programs at unaccredited schools. It's the type of behavior that, I predict, will one day cost them their CHEA recognition or at least bring them to the brink.

    The only situation in the U.S. where I am aware of a programmatic accreditor providing an institution's sole accreditation would be in the case of a standalone law school that only offered degrees under the purview of the ABA. And even that's not entirely commonplace. It's still the exception rather than the rule.
  9. BIGA

    BIGA New Member

    It's not uncommon for smaller Swiss business schools to have cantonal approval (local govt) but not the same state-level governmental recognition as the large established Swiss universities. SMC is not the only Swiss school fitting into this particular market category, i.e. cantonal approved small business school with programmatic accreditation. There are in fact other options.

    Personally, I know of several persons who have graduated with the DBA. They were able to qualify as 'doctor' at their work; which can mean a pay increase, be able to officially refer to themselves as doctor, which is a boost in prestige, and also have an increased chance of contract renewal in academic employment.

    Yes, while not a PhD, the SMC DBA has utility.

    Also-Just because a person is an ACBSP Regional officer, that only means, that chances are, the leader has knowledge of, and access to ACBSP. QA Reports and accreditation review decisions, are still made by a board of commissioners and standards still have to be met.

  10. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    It's not unheard of for a small school to only have state approval in the U.S. But SMC isn't just a small school minding its own business in its respective canton. It is actively promoting itself worldwide as a business school.

    There are thousands of people on LinkedIn who claim degrees from Almeda University and who likely refer to themselves as "Doctor" at work and are being compensated accordingly. That doesn't mean the degree is worth the money or that the school itself is reputable.

    Utility is fine. But utility and quality are not the same.

    Yes, standards still have to be met, but they aren't the same standards that are evaluated during the process for institutional accreditation. ACBSP accreditation is fine. But ACBSP is not a substitute for institutional accreditation in the U.S. So why would we consider it a suitable substitute abroad? They are evaluating different things.

    Again, I'm not saying that there is something wrong with SMC. But ask yourself how you would view this exact same school if it resigned its ACBSP accreditation tomorrow and was relying solely on its current status in Switzerland. Would it change your opinion?

    In my opinion there are likely better options out there that are less questionable.
  11. Adam311

    Adam311 Member

    Thank you all for the information. I have also seen that William Howard Taft University offers a DBA for only 11,000 and requires no residency. Anyone know go to this school? And know any other schools with the same cost and no residency?
  12. major56

    major56 Active Member

    Additional National accreditation /DEAC online DBA programs:
    California Southern University ($23.7K) Doctor of Business Administration - California Southern University

    California Intercontinental University ($20K) Accredited DBA Program Online | Get DBA Online | Business Doctoral Degree

    ACICS accredited:
    California Miramar University ($32K) Doctorate of Business Administration Online, On Campus, Hybrid Doctorate of Business Administration Accredited

    Note 1: You may want to take a look at the UNISA-Graduate School of Business Leadership - Doctor of Business Leadership (DBL) distance program.

    Tuition value: Based on current currency exchange rates: UNISA-DBL (R26470 = USD $2250)
    Unisa Online - DBL - Doctor of Business Leadership

    Note 2: A DegreeInfo member and attorney nosborne completed the LL.M. in Taxation from Taft Taft Law School - Online Master of Laws Degree, Taxation. You may want to PM him re Taft.
  13. major56

    major56 Active Member


    If a private /for-profit entity is your emphasis (e.g., SMC) … you might too consider the London School of Business and Finance (LSBF). Although LSBF is not a Royal Charter UK entity; the MSc in Finance GGSB MSc Finance - 2 Year Degree in London, UK | LSBF is offered in partnership (degree validated and awarded by the triple accredited (AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS) Grenoble Graduate School of Business (GGSB)) LSBF - Grenoble Graduate School of Business (GGSB) -Partners. Uncertain if the program offering is online /distance (?). Nonetheless, LSBF does offer an online MA in Finance and Investment MA in Finance and Investment Degree - London, UK | LSBF in partnership with the International Telematic University (UNINETTUNO) /re Italian Ministry of Education Università Telematica Internazionale UNINETTUNO - HomePage
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2015
  14. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Well, to be clear, Taft's program costs are:

    Tuition is billed at the rate of $420.00 per month during the term of enrollment. The obligation of students to pay tuition shall continue until the earliest of the following events:

    a. satisfaction of all degree requirements;
    b. 48 billing months (four years);
    c. withdrawal from the Program;
    d. academic dismissal from the Program.

    The actual cost of the program would depend upon how swiftly you progress through it.
  15. major56

    major56 Active Member

    $11K did seem quite low. At $420 per mo., the tuition rate would be based on a 26-month program. Highly unlikely achievable in that time frame…

    The 48-month tuition at $20K would be a more realistic time-line… Even this interval would likely be a substantial undertaking for a part-time DBA student.
  16. novadar

    novadar Member

    I looked into Taft a few years ago when David Lady was running the Business School. The monthly tuition is interesting and well-suited for self-funded student. However I could not find a way to make it work with a tuition reimbursement policy.

    I went as far as to contact a student, the only student at the time, in the program. I was curious about the what, how, and where. I can share specifics with you on a basic level:

    - One class at a time, 16-24 hours per week on the class. Each class is 6 weeks long
    - Each class has 8 writing lessons. Each turn in assignment is 8-12 pages

    His feedback was very positive. He did finish an MS in Taxation at Taft a few years earlier so he was very comfortable with the accreditation and other details.
  17. JP007

    JP007 Member

    While I can't offer any advice on the PhD program at the Swiss Management Center, I can tell you the center's reputation in the US finance community (i.e. the top investment banks) isn't very good. The program in the past has pitched intensive 'training programs' for several tracks in finance that are more geared to charge the student a fair amount of money and not offer much in rtn when it comes to CV enhancement / skillset acquisition.

    Have you looked at EDHEC?

    EDHEC-Risk - EDHEC-Risk Institute PhD in Finance - The Executive Track in Focus
  18. freakoutguy

    freakoutguy New Member

    I had posted my experience completing the DBA at SMC University last year and reposting in this thread -

    I completed my DBA at SMC University in March 2014. The price tag when I joined in Sep 2010 was 2000 Euros annually. Ideally, I would like to have finished the program within 3 years when I started in September 2010 but work and personal commitments pushed this over by six months to March 2014, so total tuition came to 8000 Euros. The oral defense is held in 3 locations - March session is in Columbus, OH, June session is in Ghana or some other African nation and the September session is held in Zurich, Switzerland. I live and work in Canada and not really concerned about the degree being regionally accredited in the U.S. My purpose in acquiring an online, part-time doctorate was to satisfy my academic goals but also to continue working. The purpose was not to use the degree to teach at the university level but focus on part-time opportunities in the on-line adjunct and community college areas.

    Overall, I am very happy with my decision. The program had rigorous academic standards.Everything is self paced, but I believe that there are time-limits assigned during the course work i.e 3 months for one course. If you take the maximum time for each course, then you are looking for 2 years for the course work and an average of 2 years for the thesis. The fastest one could possibly finish coursework +thesis is 2 years, if done full time 40-60 hours a week with no major breaks.

    Finally, please do your due diligence on any school or program before signing up.
    Pradeep Gopinath likes this.
  19. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    How has the SMC doctorate been working for that? Have you gotten any on-line/adjunct gigs?
  20. freakoutguy

    freakoutguy New Member

    TBH, I have been so busy at work and home, that haven't really had a chance to pursue a gig. Hope to start looking later this year.

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