Now Reading
World’s First Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) in Data Science

World’s First Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) in Data Science

Srishti Deoras
W3Schools

The Rennes School of Business, France and the International School of Engineering (INSOFE), India launched the world’s first Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) in Data Science, this summer. 

From several dozens of applicants, top Business and Data Science schools have carefully selected more than 20 outstanding applicants. So, it is super exciting to announce that within the first 4 months of the program announcement, DBA has become one of the largest research programs in data science.

The intake for the first batch already sees a geographic diversity with applicants from India, USA and the UAE. The applicants are also diverse in the roles they handle; they are mostly VPs, country heads and consultants from various industries such as finance, manufacturing and supply chain.



Top Reasons Why Students Choose the Joint DBA Program

Albeit all the students possess exceptional careers, they chose to work super hard for three more years in an academic environment.

  • Master an absolutely new field just out of passion!
    A VP from one of the largest global investment banks wanted to specialize in quantum machine learning. We asked him why not do something in financial markets. His answer was firm and prompt, “I want to do something cool, outstanding, and do it right.”
  • It’s super useful to my firm and helps expand my role
    The country head of a top specialized manufacturing firm was crystal clear about his DBA aspirations. “I want to build a center of excellence in AI for my firm and more importantly, I want to lead that from upfront.” 
  • A thought leader in an area of my choice
    A Bachelor’s student with just 5 years of work experience sort of stumped with his passion to become a thought leader in supply chain management. He went on to explain: “Unless I really get it, I cannot feel comfortable. I mean, really get it”
  • Last, but not least, “adding a Dr. to my name has always been a dream!” 
    A super successful consultant with the Big 4 said, “Hey, I always loved to be addressed as “Dr.”. Finally, I found a way in which I can get it while working and by working on an applied problem (not some academic problem that I do not relate to).”

So, that summarizes the aspirations of the DBA inaugural batch!

Difference between a PhD and a DBA

There are many similarities and differences between the programs. Firstly, both degrees are the highest achievable certification one can get, granted by universities, and of course, one can add the prefix “Dr.” to their name!

But, the fundamental difference is the goal of a student.

PhDDBA
If a student prefers academic research and teaching, then PhD is the right choice.

PhD students spend 20-25 percent of the time in coursework.

Students can choose an ill-defined problem and take time to define it.

In PhD, students may take 2-3 more years of full-time work to solve it.   Post the research, students can get into universities or research labs.
If the goal is to become a thought leader in the industry by using cutting edge research strategies to solve real-world business problems, DBA is the best!

DBA students spend 60% of the time in coursework.   Students can take up a well-defined but unsolved problem.   In DBA,  students are allocated with 1 to 1.5 quarters to define the problem.   DBA graduates almost exclusively continue in the industry.

While both combine coursework and thesis, the fusion to achieve the goals is different.

PhD is all about “how challenging is the problem and the student’s approach to solving and mastering it with a set of advanced skills and tools. But it is important to note that the research may or may not be used in the industry.

On the other hand, DBA Students should select only the pressing problems where the industry is waiting for an implementable solution. So students can define the problem in 2.5 years of part-time work, with the help guide and provide a meaningful business-ready solution.

And of course, there are PhDs who do very well in the industry and DBAs who become outstanding academicians.  But, the general trends are the above.

Regular DBA vs Joint DBA Program offered by Rennes SB – INSOFE

A regular DBA thesis can be a policy, framework or conceptual analysis of a business problem. The technical skills they demand could be mere MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Of course, exceptional functional expertise is mandatory in any doctoral program.

However, this particular joint DBA in Data Science program added a few more hurdles that help students become the finest thought leaders in AI/ML and Data Science. 

For beginners, programming skills are a must.  But asking the VP of consumer products of a billion-dollar bank to code is blasphemy.  Or is it not?

What is Data Science, if DBA students cannot code?  

Well, there are senior folks, and they are insisting on choosing a problem that involves building prototypes, test them on data and visualize the results. Of course, this may be so exhaustive. And hence, they attach a data scientist to a DBA. So that the data scientists take care of coding when things get too executional. 

However, it is extremely clear that this DBA program comprises of; aligning data science to a business and also building state-of-the-art decision support or automation tools to solve business problems.

The program is all “Digital Business Centric”

The DBA in Data program deals with the data and digital aspects of the business.  This helps the graduates lead teams of specialists from IoT, Blockchain Cloud, Cybersecurity, Big Data.  Students need to design, build and deploy digital systems that combine all these technologies.  The coursework is designed to provide a bigger functional and strategic understanding of these technologies to the students.

DBA in Data Science

Ultimate Academic Qualification with 10 Quarters of Focused Research

Once students are admitted to the program,

  • Students spend a quarter, learning essential data science.
  • After this, a team of professors test students’ data science knowledge.
  • Upon approval, students can start their research and course work.


Coursework and Thesis work go hand-in-hand!

Course workThesis work
120 credits of courses

Live, online lectures

Two weeks of study at Rennes SB, France

Work closely with the advisor and enroll at the convenience

Students must finish the course work in 3 years.
As soon as students are done with their qualifiers, they are assigned with a Professor and a Data Scientist

Weekly sessions (for 1 to 2 quarters) to read, analyze papers and identify gaps in business and choose a problem

Solving the problem (for 8-9 quarters) under the guidance of the advisor

The work will be reviewed by a committee (3 times a year) to provide more exciting avenues

Except for the 2 weeks study in France, the rest of the thesis work can be done online and from anywhere.

The DBA program is designed keeping in view that students are working and spend 10-15 hours a week only on education. Unlike in the Bachelor’s and Master’s programs, nobody imposes a problem on the student, in the doctoral programs. Students get to select something that they are passionate about. However, student intake happens, only when their interests align with the faculty.

DBA students may choose one of the below fields to pursue the research in:

If you want to become a thought leader in one of the fields and push the boundaries of current knowledge, take a look at the DBA in Data Science program or feel free to write to doctoral@rsb.insofe.edu.in or RSVP for an Info Session this Saturday by clicking on the link below.

RSVP For the Webinar

What Do You Think?

If you loved this story, do join our Telegram Community.


Also, you can write for us and be one of the 500+ experts who have contributed stories at AIM. Share your nominations here.

Copyright Analytics India Magazine Pvt Ltd

Scroll To Top