Doctorate in Business Administration | IE Business School

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Doctor in Business Administration (DBA)

The DBA is a four year, blended part time program aimed at outstanding managers who want to combine academic rigor and managerial relevance.

  • 48 months
  •  | 
  • Doctorals
  •  | 
  • Executive
  •  | 
  • In English
  •  | 
  • Blended

DBA Program

Program Structure

The IE DBA is a four-year, blended, part-time program. The first stage (two years) is mainly devoted to coursework. The second stage (two years) is devoted to supervised research and the dissertation.

Throughout the program, participants take “blended” sessions (a blend of face-to-face and online learning). The Face-to-face sessions involve three two-weeks presential periods in Madrid, and three on-line periods. Participants attend on-line sessions using an interactive asynchronous dialog platform, open 24 hours a day and moderated by an IE professor. Participants log in at their convenience and participate in live discussions. A maximum of 10-12 students will be admitted each year.

The enrollment in the DBA Program gives you the possibility of getting a University Research Methodology in Management Science Official Degree, worth 60 ECTS, adapted to the Higher Education Area in accordance with the Bologna Process.

Below the DBA Academic Director, Elena Revilla and the DBA staff; Laura Maguire, DBA Executive Director and Kathleen Mathison, DBA Program Assistant.

Blended Methodology
1st Period
Structured coursework

Coursework: This stage includes the study of fundamental disciplines from which management research draws to provide students with a variety of theoretical backgrounds and help them crystallize their research interests. During this stage students will take methodological courses to develop their quantitative and analytical skills, including a full range of methodologies: field research, case studies, simulations and experimental research.

Intake 1:

Throughout the first two years (first stage) students will complete core and elective courses. These courses are designed to build the kind of research skills that are critical to the development of a high-caliber management scholar able to create solid research as the basis for excellence in teaching and the improvement of management practices. At the successful completion of this stage students will undergo a comprehensive exam that will qualify them to start their dissertation preparation.

Research Methods Courses
  • Quantitative Methods I Descriptive statistics. Probability and basic mathematical statistics. Confidence intervals, hypothesis testing. ANOVA. Regression analysis. Logistic Regression. Categorical data analysis. Non-parametric statistics.
  • Research Methods Discussion of key issues in conducting theoretically relevant empirical research. Development and construction of theories, tools and techniques associated with survey-based empirical Si and experimental research
  • Strategy The course reviews the basic theories and research areas in the field of strategy. Our goal is to engage in a considered dialogue with strategy researchers on the key issues confronting academics and managers
  • Quantitative Methods II Matrix algebra. Principal components analysis. Correspondence analysis. Multivariate regression. MANOVA. Discriminant analysis. Cluster analysis. Systems of equations. Factor analysis. Structural equation models
  • Qualitative Research Methods In depth exploration of qualitative research approaches such as Grounded theory, case-based research, action research and the use of software N-Vivo.
  • Ethics and humanities The course provides a student with an understanding of the fundamentals of research on business ethics, of the theory behind research on business ethics, its evolution over time and the current research on CSR.
  • Paper Crafting The purpose is to expose students to the process involved in conducting research from the conceptual to the operational level of analysis, with a focus on crafting papers to be published in top journals of the field.
  • Organizational Theory Sociological foundations in the studies of modern bureaucracies. They encompass rich theoretical insights on organizations that vary from functionalism and structuralism to institutional theory and sensemaking.
  • Workshops Throughout the coursework period students will engage in workshops that will enable them to deepen the knowledge on how to craft and deliver their dissertation as well as how to prepare for the final defence
  • Electives To ensure the development of relevant theoretical expertise and research excellence in their respective fields, students will be required to take elective courses in the major and minor areas of the concentration
  • Research project To obtain the official master in research students are required to develop a research project. It shall follow the standards for a peer review publication; literature review, hypotheses, methods and discussion
Defense of Master Thesis
Comprehensive Examination
2nd Period
Dissertation Period

In the Second Stage of the DBA Program, Students are expected to work in their Dissertation with an exhaustive supervision of the Advisor. There are two main academic acts before the student is being granted the DBA degree. The Dissertation Proposal Defense and the Dissertation Final Defense. The DBA degree is awarded by the Direction of the Program, with the endorsement of the Dean on behalf of the Faculty. The degree is granted by IE Business School under its own name and responsibility.

Dissertation Proposal Defense: The Committee Members evaluate the theoretical and practical contribution of the proposed research project as well as the suitability of the methodology used to conduct the research.

Dissertation Final Defense: this academic act entails the presentation and recognition of the completed doctoral work and the formal evaluation of the dissertation by the Committee.

  • Doctoral Consortium During the Doctoral Consortium each DBA student will present his dissertation progress in front of a panel of experts composed by IE faculty members, PhD and DBA students who will provide feedback to the student
  • International Conference Attendance Students are requested to present a paper at an International Academic Conference. This will provide real life experience of being exposed to an audience of academics and valuable feedback for future publications
  • Proposal Defense The Committee Members evaluate the theoretical and practical contribution of the proposed research project as well as the suitability of the methodology used to conduct the research.
  • Dissertation Defense The Dissertation Defense entails the presentation and recognition of the completed doctoral work and the formal evaluation of the dissertation by the Committee
Doctoral Consortium
Proposal Defense
International Conference Attendance
Dissertation Defense

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