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Best Doctorate in Business Management Programs 2020

Compiled and Written By Staff
Last Updated: Feb 19, 2020

A doctorate in business management provides business knowledge ideal for aspiring business leaders or scholars. Boasting the terminal degree in their discipline, doctoral graduates have demonstrated advanced expertise in at least one business area.

Individuals seeking research careers or higher education teaching positions often opt for a Ph.D. in business management, while students seeking management positions may pursue a doctor of business management (DBM or DM) or business administration (DBA) degree. All three degrees exceed educational requirements for upper-level management positions in most industries. Because these positions typically garner high salaries, a DM, DBA, or Ph.D. in business management can increase graduates' financial security and prosperity.

Updated yearly to remain abreast of changes in this rapidly changing discipline, the online business management program rankings below introduce readers to the best business doctoral programs so they can compare and evaluate prospective schools more efficiently.

Top Doctorate in Business Management Programs and Schools

Note: A detailed explanation of the methodology we used to determine the best Doctorate in Business Management programs can be found at the end of the ranking.

#1 Harvard University Business School – Cambridge, Massachusetts

The doctorate in management program at Harvard University is full-time and typically takes students five years to complete, with the last three years being spent on research and writing a dissertation. Students choose a specialization, such as sociology or economics, to focus their research; they are expected to gain expertise in a minimum of two domains. Harvard's doctorate in management also requires students to fulfill a teaching assignment lasting for one academic term. The required minimum of 13 semesters for the doctorate program consists of two foundational courses, four research methods courses, at least one research seminar, two MBA courses, and seven electives.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 100.00

#2 University of Chicago Booth School of Business – Chicago, Illinois

Chicago Booth's Ph.D. program in management science and operations management focuses on the application of computer methods and math to issues, within management; some topics addressed include inventory theory and math programming. Students will learn how to apply method science to problems with delivering services or goods, development, and production, with the ultimate goal of finding ways to culminate data, concepts, and methods to create stronger and more effective systems. Applicants should have taken at least two years of college math; some examples of applicable areas of study are linear algebra and probability.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 99.60

#3 Stanford University Graduate School of Business – Stanford, California

Specifically targeted toward those who wish to go into research or teaching careers, the Stanford Ph.D. in business program emphasizes collaboration and rigorous study regardless. Various recruiting events are offered and recommended for potential applicants to the program. Students can choose from seven areas of focus including political economics; economic analysis and policy; operations, information, and technology; and organizational behavior. Those students who are particularly interested in management-specific careers and higher-level research positions might consider the organizational behavior focus. This program is broken down into macro and micro organizational behavior and places special emphasis on why people behave as they do within groups or as individuals.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 99.00

#4 University of Pennsylvania Wharton School – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Ph.D. in management program at Wharton focuses on social science theories and research methods as they relate to the current problems people face in management and leadership positions. Some of the main areas of study that faculty in the program are currently focusing on are human resources and competitiveness; political and social influence strategies; organizational learning and adaptation; and emotions, identity, creativity, and motivation. The program aims to get students working with faculty during the program on projects (such as assistantships) so they are ready for the job market by the fourth or fifth year, complete with publication-ready research papers.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 98.80

#5 Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management – Evanston, Illinois

Northwestern Kellogg School of Management's doctorate in management is a full-time program that students usually complete in about five years. Students must be on-campus and members of the research community. Financial aid is available to applicants who are admitted; this aid is valid for five years and includes awards such as a moving allowance, subsidy for a computer, stipend, tuition. Kellogg School of Management promotes an education experience for students that will lead to fruitful research careers. There are eight specializations offered, and students can choose one or multiple from the list. Some examples include management and organizations; managerial economics and strategy; management and organizations and sociology; and accounting information and management.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 97.39

#6 Duke University Fuqua School of Business – Durham, North Carolina

The Ph.D. in business administration program at Duke University Fuqua School of Business strives to foster exemplary research and analytical capabilities in their students, therefore preparing them for successful careers in research and teaching. The program places emphasis on communication of research results, independent inquiry, and competence in research methodology. Students generally take about five years to complete the Ph.D. and will be expected to demonstrate expertise, complete an exam, and defend a dissertation. Some areas for specialization are management and organizations, decision sciences, operations management, and strategies involving topics such as entrepreneurship and business and public policy.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 96.79

#7 Cornell University SC Johnson College of Business – Ithaca, New York

Cornell's Ph.D. in management and organizations is tailored specifically for those interested in research-centric careers, and some of the topics that faculty are currently researching are diversity and creativity within organizations and teams, individual and collective decision making, industry evolution, and corporate environmental policy. Students and faculty within the Ph.D. program also work and collaborate with the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the School of Hotel Administration, and the College of Arts and Science — specifically, the sociology and psychology departments. This collaboration provides students with a plethora of contacts and management-related experiences and knowledge, fully prepping them for an informed and knowledgeable career after graduation.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 94.98

#8 University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business – Berkeley, California

At Berkeley, the Ph.D. in management of organizations, or MORS program, offers two tracks of training — micro or macro. Students who choose to study the micro track will focus on topics such as group and team processes, psychology within organizations, organizational culture, status and power processes, and nonverbal interaction. Those who choose the macro track utilize computational social science and quantitative reasoning to address questions regarding sociology of markets, entrepreneurship, social networks, and organizational theory. The MORS Ph.D. program only admits up to three students per year to guarantee a selective admissions process and dedicated guidance by the faculty.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 94.58

#9 University of Michigan Ann Arbor Ross School of Business – Ann Arbor, Michigan

Students admitted to the Ph.D. in management and organizations program take a combination of courses that provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful teachers and researchers. Some of the courses include four theory seminars, courses on statistics and research methods (quantitative and qualitative), and electives in related disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, and psychology. Students will also be required to teach solo for a full semester (versus serving as a TA) and complete an independent empirical research project (IERP). University of Michigan provides a full ride to all doctoral students, including health insurance, a stipend, and money for travel and research.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 93.78

#10 Washington University in St. Louis Olin Business School – Saint Louis, Missouri

Washington University's doctor of business administration offers a finance or marketing track, both with a balanced educational experience between research and independent studies and guided, structured coursework with experienced faculty. The program is 72 credit hours and can be taken part- or full-time. Per the degree webpage, there is a specific focus on applied research with the goal being producing students who are researching professionals rather than professional researchers. The doctorate tailors its course offerings and opportunities specifically for those who wish to go on to work in government agencies, consulting firms, and corporations. The university makes a point to differentiate between their Ph.D. program and their doctorate in business administration, as their DBA works best for those in industry.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 92.77

#11 Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Ph.D. in operations management at Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business instructs students in areas such as quantitative modeling, empirical studies, inventory control, logistics, revenue management, scheduling, automation and computer integrated manufacturing, shop floor control, and strategic operations to ultimately help them become problem-solvers for issues faced by operations managers. The program has a special emphasis on interdisciplinary education and collaboration, so current research topics by faculty include international operations and computer science as well as partnerships with companies such as IBM, Equitable Gas, and Amazon. The Tepper School has contributed quantitative management research that has led to Nobel Prizes, and operations research faculty have won various prestigious prizes, such as the Frederick W. Lanchester Prize.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 92.17

#12 University of Southern California Marshall School of Business – Los Angeles, California

The Ph.D. in management and organization at USC Marshall School of Business focuses on various aspects of an organization, such as human behavior within that organization, the relationship between organizations and their environment, and the foundational structures that make up that organization. Students will study how decisions are made, how organizations are affected by groups such as corporate boards, and how organizations evolve. Some graduates have gone on to work with London Business School, Columbia, Stanford, and MIT as faculty. Many publish with journals such as Harvard Business Review, Academy of Management Review, Sloan Management Review, and Strategic Management Journal.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 91.77

#13 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School – Chapel Hill, North Carolina

At UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, Ph.D. students choose from six concentration areas: organizational behavior, operations, strategy and entrepreneurship, marketing, accounting, and finance. The coursework consists of business fundamental courses (including courses specific to the chosen concentration), economics courses, and research and quantitative methods courses. Other requirements include presentation-level research papers (some later become dissertations), an examination, and a semester of one-on-one work with a faculty member, one semester as a teaching assistant, and one semester as a research assistant. The program is full-time, on-campus only due to the demands of the coursework and research/teaching elements; the program is competitive and selective with only two or three students admitted per concentration area each year.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 90.56

#14 University of Washington Foster School of Business – Seattle, Washington

The Foster School of Business at University of Washington admits 15 students to their Ph.D. in business administration each year. Applicants are evaluated based on a variety of factors such as academic references, scholarships or awards earned, academic accomplishments, and GMAT or GRE scores. Since faculty support of students is of utmost importance, the available number of faculty advisors can also affect the admissions process. Seven areas of concentration are available including accounting, marketing, technology entrepreneurship, and management (both a strategic management and organizational behavior and human resource management track). The business school at UW collaborates with five other academic departments, and students will work with these other departments depending on their area of specialization.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 88.15

#15 University of Florida Warrington College of Business – Gainesville, Florida

The Ph.D. in business administration-management at UF Warrington College of Business offers top-notch faculty advisors, innovative courses and training, and an environment that puts students as the main priority. The program is full-time, on-campus only and has a micro and macro track. The micro track focuses on organizational behavior while the macro focuses on strategic management. The curriculum includes management-focused courses on strategic adaptation, motivation, groups and teams, job attitudes, and innovation. Other courses include methods-related topics such as econometrics, experimental design, and advanced quantitative research. Some of the core courses cover subjects related to micro/macro content and research methods such as motivation and attitudes, decision making, affect and cognition, and process and content of strategic management.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 87.15

#16 Penn State Smeal College of Business – University Park, Pennsylvania

The Ph.D. in management and organization at Penn State's Smeal College of Business prepares students for successful careers as researchers and problem-solvers in regards to management and organizational concerns. Students will study management literature, methods of research, and work closely with faculty as well as take seminars on topics such as advanced analytical skills, organizational theory, quantitative/qualitative research methods, and organizational behavior and theory. There are several specializations available as well; some options are innovation and technology, international business, and strategic management. The Smeal College of Business places particular emphasis on the most up-to-date and innovative training and teaching methods.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 86.95

#17 University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business – Austin, Texas

Niversity of Texas at Austin Mccombs School of Business offers a full-time Ph.D. in management that aims to foster students who graduate with the knowledge and capabilities to positively affect change in management from an academic and professional practice standpoint. There are specializations available within the program in organization science and strategic management, each with a listing of focused topics and courses. Special emphasis is placed on quality, original research that can be published in reputable scholarly journals and other publishing outlets. Students in the program also teach under the supervision of a seasoned faculty member and are spurred to participate in academic service after they complete the program. This can take the form of membership within editing review boards, supervising the writing of dissertations, or holding a position within a professional association.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 86.80

#18 (Tied) Boston University Questrom School of Business – Boston, Massachusetts

The Questrom School of Business at Boston University offers a Ph.D. in business that promotes research that will lead to professional recognition and the educational freedom for students to choose paths that most interest and inspire them. The program allows students to attend courses at Questrom, BU, or any other university within Boston. Most students will take approximately five years to complete their Ph.D. and are required to take five courses in research methodology, five courses in their chosen major, and five courses in their minor. Some disciplines available for specialization are strategy and innovation, operations and technology management, accounting, organizational behavior, and information systems.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 86.14

#19 (Tied) University of Rochester Simon Business School – Rochester, New York

The Simon Business School at University of Rochester offers several specializations for their Ph.D. in business administration including operations management, computers and information systems, and accounting. Emphasis is placed on foundational subjects such as economics and statistics in the first year of the program, while the second year is reserved for the student's chosen specialization and minors. One unique aspect of the program is their Summer Math Camp, in which the university offers four foundational math courses to prepare prospective Ph.D. students. This camp ensures that all participants start their Ph.D. program with the same basic skills and knowledge in four subjects: linear algebra, optimization, probability, and real analysis.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 86.14

#20 University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management – Minneapolis, Minnesota

University of Minnesota's nationally ranked Ph.D. in business administration is a full-time program with seven areas of specialization available; some options include strategic management and entrepreneurship, work and organizations, information and decision sciences, and supply chain and operations. There is particular emphasis on real-life experiences relating to the curriculum and the crafting of contemporary research. Students in the program must complete 40 credits and maintain a minimum 3.3 GPA. Students will also work part-time (20 hours approximately) as a teaching and research assistant; they will also be required to teach up to two courses before graduation.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 85.94

#21 University of California Irvine Paul Merage School of Business – Irvine, California

The doctor of philosophy in management at UCI Paul Merage School of Business is a full-time, on-campus program with an individualized, flexible approach to graduate curriculum. Students are trained in methodology and theory, and the areas of study will closely relate to the research of current faculty. Some examples of focus include information systems, decision technologies, organization and management, and finance. There are two phases to the program; phase one is qualification and phase two is the dissertation. Students are discouraged from working or receiving assistance from other avenues while in the program, as a full, five-year ride is given to all doctoral candidates.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 85.74

#22 Indiana University Kelley School of Business – Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana University's Kelley School of Business offers a Ph.D. program with ten options for concentration including entrepreneurship or strategic management, business economics and public policy, operations management or decision sciences, and organizational behavior and HR management. There are five main goals within the curriculum (regardless of specialization) including comprehensive and intensive disciplinary knowledge and knowledge of research methods, teaching, and communication and evaluation of disciplinary research. There is an impressive 2:1 faculty-student ratio and 95% of graduates are working in academic institutions. There are no distance learning programs available, and students are not to work or attend courses anywhere else while earning their doctorate at Kelley School of Business. Between 10-14 students are admitted in the fall semester each year.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 85.54

#23 University of California Los Angeles Anderson School of Management – Los Angeles, California

The doctoral program at UCLA Anderson's School of Management has eight areas of specialization available: marketing; strategy; management and organizations; global economics management; decisions, operations and technology management; finance; accounting; and behavioral decision making. There is minimum or maximum number of students admitted to the program each year; admission strictly depends on applications and supplemental materials. The program is full-time and usually takes students four years to complete, but most take into the fifth year of study to complete all graduation requirements. The university website features a page specifically for recent graduates who are eligible for the job market, complete with their specializations and dissertations.

Affordability Score: Average
TMD Ranking Score: 84.52

#24 University of Maryland College Park Robert H. Smith School of Business – College Park, Maryland

Ranked the ninth best Ph.D. program in the world in 2015, the doctorate in business at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at University of Maryland offers nine areas of specialization to cater the program to a student's main interests. Some options for concentration include operations management and management science, organizational behavior and human resource management, and strategic management and entrepreneurship. All students will receive a full ride to the program; this includes a research stipend, tuition remission, and university healthcare. Each student will spend 20 hours a week with a faculty advisor and receive annual evaluations. Enrollment is in spring, and the program will generally admit up to 20 students.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 84.34

#25 George Washington University School of Business – Washington, District of Columbia

George Washington University's School of Business offers a specially designed Ph.D. in business administration that prepares graduates for fulfilling careers in academia. Areas available for specialization include accountancy, management/strategic management and public policy, and international business. The GWSB is ranked third in the country for female entrepreneurs, and the city is ranked first in the production of business founders. Students can also take advantage of being in the nation's capital and near the Bureau of Economic Analysis, World Bank, and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) for career and networking opportunities. Graduate students have access to a plethora of career resources, including detailed lists of job fairs, centers for research, and an on-campus interviewing program.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 83.33

Why a Doctorate in Business Management?

A doctorate in business management can improve a professional's job performance, expand their network, and qualify them for executive positions as president, director, or chief information officer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), management occupations garnered a median annual salary of $104,240 as of 2018. Manager job prospects also appear promising, as the BLS projects a 7% growth in management occupations from 2018-2028.

A doctorate in business management demonstrates serious discipline and commitment to leadership excellence and sets graduates apart from their competition for management positions. Depending on degree concentration, interests, and industry expertise, doctoral graduates work in a variety of booming national industries, including healthcare and information technology. Many Ph.D. in management graduates shape the future of business practice through research or teaching.

This degree best suits mid-career business professionals seeking knowledge, prowess, and career advancement. However, business management doctorate programs also include internship programs and other job placement services for newer business professionals. In addition to training students in "hard" management skills, which assist in data and market analysis, budgeting, and hiring, doctoral programs in business management foster general, "soft" business skills such as leadership, communication, and decision-making.

Learn More About Doctorates in Business Management

How to Find the Right Doctorate in Business Program

Each business management doctoral program features its own concentration offerings. Prospective students should look for programs offering coursework that aligns with their career goals and interests. For example, those interested in manufacturing logistics may concentrate their degrees in supply chain management or logistics designed for supply chain managers. Other popular concentrations include healthcare management, human resources, and information systems.

As they review curriculum options, prospective learners should consider practical concerns such as capstone requirements. Working professionals should pay attention to degree timelines, keeping in mind that the best Ph.D. business programs often require a thesis and can take several years to complete. Students with sufficient time and motivation to finish quickly may opt for accelerated programs, while busy working professionals may need to study part-time.

On-campus programs typically provide better support and networking opportunities, but online programs feature flexible attendance and pacing, allowing professionals to earn their degrees without giving up their day jobs. Learners living within a commutable distance might enjoy a hybrid program, which offers the convenience of online learning and the benefits of in-person connections during evenings, weekends, or week-long residencies.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctorate in Business Administration?

DBA programs require about 60 credits, which usually take 3-4 years of full-time study to complete. However, timelines vary significantly based on program requirements. DBA programs requiring a thesis can take significantly longer, depending on students' abilities and schedule and program structure and guidance. Many programs require full-time students to complete the entire degree in 4-5 years, though schools usually grant extended timelines to part-time students.

Students can earn their degrees more quickly by enrolling in accelerated programs and/or taking more credits per semester. Students attending schools that charge flat, per-semester (rather than per-credit) tuition rates can save money and time by taking extra credits each semester. Because graduate study typically proves quite challenging, taking more than the usual full-time course load of nine credits per semester may overwhelm students.

Rankings Methodology

Also, check out our Frequently Asked Questions about Doctorate programs in Business Management:

Does a Doctorate in Business Management have a good ROI?
What are the admission requirements for a Doctorate in Business Management?
What is the difference between a Doctorate in Business Administration and a PhD in Management?
Where are the most affordable Doctorate in Business Management Degrees?

This ranking is designed to find the best Doctorate in Business Management degrees available. A list of over 180 schools was obtained, and doctorate and PhD programs were analyzed first on their business and management focus, and then by the following factors:

Accreditation (20%): Institutional and business accreditations give proof of the high standards an organization has achieved in their delivered and research education. These accreditations verify the value of the curriculum and even affect a degree's brand recognition. Each program in this ranking is accredited by one of the six regional accrediting organizations recognized by the US Department of Education.

Additionally, each doctorate program was assessed on whether it holds a third-party business accreditation from one of the top business school accrediting institutions: IACBE, ACBSP, and AACSB. This accreditation ensures that the top business and management curriculum standards are upheld. AACSB is widely regarded across the world as the gold-star standard of business accreditation, thus the schools that hold this accreditation are given the highest scores. Twenty percent of the final ranking score is calculated from this figure.

Affordability (20%): Tuition costs directly affect accessibility and return on investment. Each doctorate program was evaluated on the estimated total base tuition for the entirety of the program, with the exception of programs that only offer all-inclusive rates. Data was gathered from the most recent financial information given on each program or school's website. It is interesting to note that over half of the doctorate programs in this ranking offer programs that cover the tuition cost for admitted students. Twenty percent of the final ranking score is calculated from this figure.

Based on the base tuition data of doctorate programs, each program was then given an Affordability Score:

Expensive = $1000,000+
Above Average = $70,000-$99,999
Average = $55,000-$69,999
Below Average = $40,000-$54,999
Affordable = Below $39,999

National College Prestige (20%): This data was collected from one of the most prestigious sources in educational rankings, US News and World Report. Each program was ranked on their score within the US News and World Report's National University Ranking. Twenty percent of the final ranking score is calculated from this figure.

Regional College Prestige (20%): This information was collected from one of the most prestigious sources in educational rankings, the Princeton Review. Each program was ranked on if they were included in one of the Princeton Review's 2018 Best Regional Colleges Rankings. Twenty percent of the final ranking score is calculated from this figure.

Business School Prestige (20%): This data was collected from one of the most prestigious sources in educational rankings, US News and World Report. Each program was ranked based on their score within the US News and World Report's Best Business School Ranking. Twenty percent of the final ranking score is calculated from this figure.

All of the data for each school was collected, weighted equally, averaged, and the aggregate score was calculated on a 100-point scale. This score is the TMD Ranking Score, which provides the ranking order for this list. By evaluating the accreditation, affordability, and prestige, this ranking helps prospective students find the highest quality Doctorate in Business Management Programs.

Professional Organizations in Business Administration

Aspiring and current business administrators can learn from and connect with established professionals in their field through business administration professional organizations. The following professional organizations provide continuing education, conferences, leadership opportunities, and many useful online resources. Some of these organizations, such as the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management, offer free or discounted membership to full-time students.

American Management Association

Founded in 1913 as the National Association of Corporation Training, this international nonprofit provides training, events, and products for management professionals.

Association of Change Management Professionals

The ACMP connects management professionals around the globe, offering professional development programs and publishing professional standards for change management.

American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management

Focused on revenue management and other topics related to healthcare administration, the AAHAM provides certification, training, conferences, webinars, and other professional development resources.

Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals

An association for organizations and individual leaders interested in business partnerships, ASAP builds knowledge and skills through certification programs, workshops, webinars, and conferences.

Reaching Out

A nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting and supporting the LGBTQ business community, Reaching Out runs an annual conference and regional chapters. Students can join this organization's free web portal.

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