A different impetus to learning

IT IS in the top 11 per cent of schools to receive an RAE 5 rating.

By Vijay Dandige (Contributor)

Published: Mon 10 Mar 2008, 12:04 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:24 PM

It has been home to over 20 Nobel Prize winners. One of the world's leading research universities, Manchester Business School (MBS) is the UK's largest campus-based business and management school, offering a wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate and custom-made executive programmes, for organisations from both the private and public sectors.

MBS recently introduced in the region its world class, research-based business qualification, Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programme, through its Worldwide Middle East regional centre at Knowledge Village in Dubai.

Designed specifically for global executives seeking a higher postgraduate qualification, the DBA brings a new impetus to research and learning within commercial organisations with minimal disruption to candidates' lives. The Financial Times ranked the school's DBA programme first in the world in 2008.

To familiarise students with the DBA, Professor Christopher Easingwood, Professor of Marketing, Academic Director, DBA of MBS Worldwide, visited Dubai last week and spoke to City Times about the programme.

What are the current DBA students from the region pursuing?

This the first time we've tried to promote the idea in the Middle East. At the moment we get most of our students from America and Europe. I think with this promotion, we're going to see many more students coming here. Last year we've had 24 students from the world over. This year one student is from Kuwait and he is currently working on Islamic banking. He has the experience of being the CEO of a bank and he has now founded his own bank.

Is the DBA an online programme? What is its structure?

Online is not the correct description. It's what we call a blended learning. It involves travelling to Manchester and having a block teaching, usually lasting a week. One is trained in research areas and the teaching takes place over five blocks, each of a week, for the first two years. The structure of the programme is: the first two years you spend getting expertise in how to do research. Then the key stage is the presentation of a research proposal, which is a plan to do a piece of research, which goes before a committee. If it is passed, you then go into years three and four, in which you do the research. And you write it up and defend like a doctoral student. So, the expected duration is five years.

This is a research-based programme. So, how is the DBA research different from other kinds of research, like academic?

DBA is different from an MBA. It's not advanced MBA. You need the MBA, then you go to DBA and identify an important area of business that is not well understood. And you do research with the intention of understanding it, shedding light on it, offering insight. And the typical member of the course is someone who has to understand a problem for his work. So then you research the topic, and there's a fantastic synergy between their work experience and the research, the one helping the other.

How is the DBA research different than the Ph D research?

The most well known research degree is the PhD and that should be highly theoretical driven. It should be a contribution to our understanding of theory. Now the DBA is a little bit more applied. It's more taking existing management theories and testing them and evaluating them, critiquing them, seeing the extent to which they are useful, extent to which they are not useful, how they should be developed and how they can be made into a more useful tool. That is the emphasis of the DBA.

What is the relationship between the MBA and the DBA programmes?

They should be seen as two separate animals. The MBA is a general study of all subjects, like management, finance, accounting etc. The DBA is looking at one management area and exploring it in depth. It's not suitable for everybody.

What are the practical benefits of doing the DBA? Why should anyone do it?

There are several reasons. The number one is you expect to get promotion in your job. First, you make a contribution to a certain area of knowledge, so you are the expert in that area. You may be the expert in the whole world. That's going to help with consulting. Secondly, you have been trained in doing rigorous research. And this is what consultants spend a lot of their time doing.

More news from City Times