Aalto Executive DBA
Reaching for the Top
The Aalto Executive Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a structured program in Business Administration for experienced individuals with considerable managerial experience who wish to contribute to the development of their professional competence and their key areas of interest.
The program has both real world relevance and academic rigor and focuses on the relevance to the employer and the professional development of the candidate.
Aalto Executive DBA graduates will develop doctoral level in-depth knowledge of the latest theories and methodologies in business research and act as thought leaders for organizational change. In addition to executive positions, DBA graduates typically work in various expert positions in corporations and the public sector. The DBA research project – finalized in a publicly defended DBA thesis – typically has strong linkages to business and managerial practice. DBA candidates can, for instance, conduct a sizable research project for their employer.
Novel, innovative, and creative solutions to business problems and opportunities as well as thought leadership for organizational change
Doctoral level in-depth knowledge of latest theories and methodologies in business research
Flexible part-time study structure and a strongly applied nature of the doctoral thesis
Compared to some more scientifically oriented doctoral programs, the DBA studies and research place emphasis on the application of theories – the creation and testing of an entirely novel theory is not a necessity. The majors of Aalto Executive DBA are strategy and marketing, but any managerially relevant interdisciplinary topics are strongly encouraged.
From Aalto Executive DBA graduates the employers can expect novel, innovative, and creative solutions to business problems and opportunities as well as thought leadership for organizational change.
Aalto Executive DBA graduates will centrally develop doctoral level in-depth knowledge of latest theories and methodologies in business research. The requirements for coursework are essentially the same as for any DSc or PhD program at Aalto University School of Business - 60 credits in 10 doctoral level courses. However, the main difference to the DSc and PhD programs is the flexible part-time study structure of the Aalto Executive DBA and the strongly applied nature of the doctoral thesis.
- Researcher education in management studies (theoretical and methodological competence)
- Competence to design and implement a sizable research project with a practical orientation
- A collegial network with professors and other researchers and the Executive DBA candidates
- Competence in presenting papers in international seminars and conferences
- Writing and defending an academic doctoral thesis and research papers/articles
- Possibility to realize a sizable research/development project for an organization
Explore Aalto Executive DBA Thesis'
Riitta Lumme-Tuomala: Talent Management in the Humanitarian Aid Context »
To graduate the Aalto Executive DBA candidate must have completed 10 personally tailored online doctoral courses (60 credit units):
- A course on academic reading and writing (an example »)
- Courses on academic research methods (qualitative and quantitative methods) (an example »)
- Tailored online courses on strategy, marketing, or other substance discipline in business administration, as agreed with the supervisor (an example »)
Normally, an online course consists of approximately 30 journal articles or research papers around a subject. Typically, there are no traditional lectures. The primary instructor can be contacted online when preparing the reaction papers and essays around the readings. Moreover, the students discuss the readings related to their coursework and receive face-to-face feedback from the instructors during the two annual research seminars. Thus, for most courses, there is also no traditional exam.
The Aalto Executive DBA Research Seminars
The Aalto Executive DBA research seminars offer the DBA candidates an excellent opportunity to deepen their knowledge, to meet professors and other doctoral candidates, to explore different research methodologies, and to receive advice and comments on the research project. Two three-day seminars are held every year, one in Europe and one in Asia, often in conjunction with relevant academic conferences.
The Aalto Executive DBA Thesis
As the result of the Aalto Executive DBA studies the candidate will produce a DBA thesis which has strong linkages to business and managerial practice. The DBA thesis will deliver a high degree of both scholarship and independent thought. The thesis supervision is conducted by highly qualified supervisors, professors from Aalto University and visiting faculty, who provide mentorship and academic direction. The thesis is written in English and consists of 3-6 scientific articles or conference papers and a summary. The thesis is typically 100-150 pages in total.
The completed thesis is submitted for examination and public defense to internal and external examiners approved by the Board of Studies of Aalto EE.
In line with high-intensity management education programs, the Aalto Executive DBA program provides the opportunity for accelerated progress through 3 academic years. Maximum 6 years of studies are allowed to complete the Aalto Executive DBA program.
Admission Requirements and Fee
- A recognized Master’s degree in any discipline or a recognized MBA or Executive MBA
- Minimum five years postgraduate work experience prior to DBA study, some of this at a senior level
- A full application form with resume
- Two recommendation letters, at least one from an academic source
- From non-native English speakers a proof of their English language skills
- A research proposal
- An application fee of € 1,500 (+ VAT)
- The tuition fees are charged for each year of studies.
- If the candidate has an access to the employer’s data, to serve as a basis of the research project the fee is € 29,000 per year (+ VAT).
- If the candidate does not provide research data but the data is provided by Aalto EE / Aalto University the fee is € 34,500 per year (+ VAT).
- The fee for the first year is charged after the candidate has approved the letter of acceptance.
- Travel and accommodation costs related to Aalto Executive DBA seminars and the costs related to possible attendance to international academic conferences are not included in the tuition fee.
The application process consists of:
- Contacting the Aalto Executive DBA Program Director for the application criteria check and an interview date
- Participating an interview with the Academic Director of the DBA program, receiving guidelines for writing a research proposal
- Preparing the application form
- Submitting the research proposal, application form with resume and recommendation letters to Aalto EE
- Receiving a notification of possible acceptance
Please contact the program director in order to apply for the Aalto Executive DBA program. You will get the application form from the program director, and also from this page.
Aalto Leaders's Insight