Voice from emlyon丨What's DBA & Why DBA?

Source: emlyon高层管理课程Date:2018-01-10

Professor Dimitris Assimakopoulos
- Founding Director of Global DBA, emlyon business school
- President of EDAMBA(European Doctoral Association in Management & Business Administration)

What is Global DBA?

The emlyon Global DBA is a professional practice doctorate that emlyon offers in China and around the world. The program started in Paris in emlyon’s campus, and had 16 students in the 2017 class, mainly executives and individuals who have the aspiration to become a qualified doctor who can make a big contribution in terms of professional, company and local community development.

According to Professor Dimitris, the process is what the students want to reflect on their practice, on their management, on executive work they are doing in their companies, and learn from professors.

In emlyon Global DBA, we have faculty with interests in all kinds of topics, from strategy, from entrepreneurship, from marketing and so on, and knowledge on how to improve the students’ practice in terms of what they are doing in their work.

Professor Dimitris thinks that the main purpose of the emlyon Global DBA is to connect the people from industry with academic and research.


Like all EMBAs, DBA students are in the cohort, and they will be able to learn a variety of subjects. But in DBA, there is a cohort to facilitate the group and to learn from each other. Each student is doing his or her own project based on different topics.

The students will have supervision from a supervisor team of professors either from Lyon, from other campuses of the emlyon, or from college faculty who maybe in China or elsewhere.

Moreover, according to Professor Dimitris, if a person already has an MBA or an EMBA degree, DBA degree is not necessary. However, the candidates should have this intellectual curiosity as mentioned above, to be able to do research independently, and learn how to think critically about what she or he is doing for his or her work, which is a crucial ability to have in nowadays entrepreneurs in the uncertain environment.

emlyonDBA VS PhD

In terms of the characteristic of the research topics, Professor Dimitris points out that there are difference between the DBA students’ topics and those of the PhD students.

DBA students know better than the PhD students what make sense in terms of studying for the organizations. The DBA students sometimes have about specific topics.

There are people who come from industry and they have all kinds of interests in terms of strategy or marketing, or entrepreneurship, it’s more about business research. We try to help all these different candidates to do their projects in a timely manner. This is very important because sometimes they don’t realize how much work is required to do a doctoral thesis, and how to do it in the timely manner within 4 years. It is a talent, with other commitment they may have.

emlyonWhy a DBA Experience?

This is where Professor Dimitris thinks the academia adds value in terms of the work that these people are doing, because our professors, our faculty and our workshops, our seminars, all the work that the academia is doing to develop the research capability of these candidates, is to make the DBA students researchers, not only people who can solve problems in terms of their job.

Good doctor candidates should know how to deploy good research design and good methods to collect data, analyze data and write valid research, so that they can produce new knowledge for their companies, for themselves, and for their project.

Moreover, the supply of DBA degree is limited in terms of professors who are capable of supervising these students who are executives with significant experience and intellectual curiosity.

In this knowledge society, it’s very important for people to have their ability to think critically and learn how to produce and accumulate, absorb new knowledge for their business, for their companies, for their own careers.