Executive DBA brochure

The Cranfield Executive Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA)

Entry September

Academic year 2021 entry

Cranfield School of Management Cranfield School of Management is a specialist postgraduate business school located in the heart of the UK. We are a world-leader in management education, research and consultancy, and our mission is to improve the practice of management. We have a global reputation for developing high-performing leaders in technology and management. Renowned for our strong links with industry, we provide practical management solutions through a range of activities including leadership, finance, marketing and supply chain.


from 90 Countries Over 1,200 Researchers

The Cranfield Executive DBA is one of the few courses to hold an Association of MBA (AMBA) accreditation

Around 5,800 people come to Cranfield annually to benefit from our executive and professional development programmes.

Premier DBA provider Cranfield School of Management has been included in CEO Magazine's 2023 GLOBAL DBA LISTING of premier DBA providers. The listing is based on accreditation, quality of faculty, geography, and international standing.

The University works with over 1,500

businesses and governments based in over 40 countries

75, 000 + alumni, from 177 countries A professional network of

As we are postgraduate only, we are not listed in league tables that help compare undergraduate universities, such as The Times World Rankings and The Complete University Guide.

“My research undertakings were driven by the quest to find robust solutions to real-life business issues, making my overarching research findings and contributions relevant and easily applied to today’s business environment. The benefits of the DBA personally and professionally continue to be immeasurable. The expansiveness of the research process heightened my analytical and critical skills, which in turn positions me as a highly effective executive leader and practitioner.” Dr Nneka Abulokwe OBE, Chair, Board Nominations Committee, ISACA London Chapter, (Doctor of Business Administration 2013)


Reasons to study for a DBA with us 1 5

Organisational impact Our high-quality, practise-focused doctoral research degree will support you to bring significant benefits to your organisation. Your research will identify a significant business-critical, practical or organisational issue and through addressing this, enhance the management thinking, processes and profitability of your organisation, whilst having a broader impact across the sector. Personal impact Our DBA provides a rich developmental experience, you will use the latest research tools and techniques to help you develop leading-edge thinking and analytical skills. Coming to Cranfield is a life-changing experience for many. Structured programme Our DBA has a very structured programme which offers a high level of support throughout from expert faculty. This ensures greater success levels for our students. Outstanding facilities All of our facilities have been designed to create an environment that is conducive to learning at the level anticipated by global business leaders and managers. The University also offers a wide range of leisure facilities to help you unwind or maintain your energy levels, including an indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, mini gym, tennis and badminton courts.

World-leading research 88% of our research is classed as world-leading or internationally excellent (Source: Research Excellence Framework 2021 ). Accredited Our Executive DBA is one of only a few Doctor of Business Administration programmes worldwide to hold the Association of MBAs (AMBA) accreditation. Faculty support As the issues addressed by researchers are real organisational problems, they tend to be cross-functional, requiring input from a number of faculty with differing expertise. This is reflected in our supervisory structure which ensures you receive the most appropriate level of support.







Course details

Organisational impact The Executive DBA is a doctoral-level, research degree which has real impact in organisations and on wider policy and practice. It is undertaken by those who are focused on practice-based careers. You and your organisation will benefit from dedicated research on a major, often critical, organisational issue. This should have a significant impact on your organisation’s management thinking, approach, processes and profitability. You will usually come to the programme with a broad practical question which aims to tackle a particular issue within your organisation. This question will become more focused and will lead to clear findings and insights throughout the programme. The combination of a review of existing evidence, the collection of primary empirical data and engagement with practice, allows you to undertake research that will have both academic value and a real impact on practice and policy. Personal impact The Executive DBA is designed to provide you with a range of transferable personal and professional skills as a basis for continuing professional development. You will develop personally by engaging in the learning required to progress through the doctorate. Most students find that they undergo a transition in their thinking and approach during the programme to one that is more rigorous and evidence-based. The many skills that you acquire, or in many cases build on, are sophisticated ones that will clearly differentiate you from other managers. The skills are both derived from, and are seamlessly transferable to, ongoing business situations. This personal development means that our DBA alumni go on to reach senior positions in their careers; sometimes moving into roles in government or starting their own consultancy business. DBA graduates might also combine this with part-time teaching roles, and, we hope, maintain their relationship with Cranfield School of Management.


What our alumni say

“One of the key impacts the programme has had on my organisation so far has been my ability to critique and assess a business problem – looking at it in a much more focused and sharper way and actually challenging back into the business. That’s what I’ve been doing and so the business has seen value added from that – especially in assessing risks and being able to make more informed decisions.” Dr Mark Baker, Owner and Director, Radbury Consulting Ltd, (Doctor of Business Administration 2013) “I came to the Executive DBA at Cranfield with a long-standing question on the management of suppliers relations, reassured by the structure of the programme that I would find the answer. I did find an answer, and some more questions. The most precious findings, though, are the people I met there, fellow researchers, staff and faculty, as well as the tools and the mindset to identify the important questions and how to conduct the investigations that lead to meaningful answers. They make a visible difference in my engagements.” Dr Thierry Fausten, Advisor, Informed Decisions GmbH, (Doctor of Business Administration 2020)

“My extraordinary Cranfield DBA journey was marred with many personal challenges but at the same time it made me stronger. To maintain the high standards of Cranfield, you receive a great deal of critique, the experience make your research stronger, helps with clarity in your thinking and makes you humble at the same time - for this this I am eternally grateful.” Dr Rashid Hamid, Director, Mainstream Computer Systems Ltd, (Doctor of Business Administration 2019)


About the Executive DBA Our Executive DBA is the highest-level business qualification that can be attained. It is aimed at senior practitioners, policy-makers and consultants who want to be thought leaders in their organisations and wider occupations. Candidates are a highly-diverse group of professionals from a variety of nationalities, industries, cultures and backgrounds. As well as the networking and learning opportunities offered by the programme, participants will benefit from the quality of study facilities, supervisory expertise, alumni networks and the international research perspective offered by Cranfield.

“Although I was aware of the doctorate 'journey' to be potentially long, challenging and sometimes lonely, I was always sure about the support available at Cranfield University. Thanks to the ever-present support from the Faculty and the Administrative Staff, I can now gladly look back on my DBA journey as an enjoyable experience.” Dr Shahzad Orakzai, Technical Advisor, Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company, (Doctor of Business Administration 2019)

Year 1

Year 2

Week 1 Deliverable 1 Problem formulation

Week 2

Week 3 Deliverable 2 Positioning study

Week 4

Week 5 Deliverable 3 Literature-based project

Week 6

Week 7

Deliverable 4 Research design

Deliverable 5 Impact plan

Engagement with practice

Research capability

Personal and career development


Course structure The programme contains nine residential weeks over a four-year period and seven deliverables, providing the structure and support to ensure that researchers continue to progress. These comprise nine separate teaching weeks focussing on research methods, coordinated and delivered at Cranfield School of Management. The research training and researcher development input is structured into weekly blocks enabling collaborative working over a concentrated period. The Doctoral Researchers Core Development training programme is designed to develop and optimise your research capability by leveraging the wealth of knowledge and resources available at Cranfield. Included are four elements: • Knowledge and intellectual abilities, • Personal effectiveness, • Research governance and organisation, • Engagement, influence and impact. Additional input is tailored to meet individual study requirements. DBA researchers are required to attend all residential weeks at Cranfield School of Management and the expected time commitment (in addition to the residential cohort/campus weeks) is approximately 15 - 20 hours per week.

Year 3

Year 4

Week 8

Week 9

Deliverable 6 Empirical project

Viva voce

Deliverable 7 Impact assessment


Academic staff

“Our Executive DBA programme reflects the research ethos at Cranfield School of Management and, therefore, it is a research-based but practice-oriented programme. It aims to equip senior managers, policymakers and consultants with a plethora of skills, tools and techniques that enable them to make a real impact on their organisations. At the same time, it supports them in their career advancement towards senior leadership positions. Our programme has an excellent reputation which has been built over the years and a testament to this is the fact that we have gained AMBA accreditation which is held by a few DBA programmes worldwide.” “Today’s volatile business environment needs leaders capable of making decisions based not only on experience, but on an exacting assessment of available evidence and a fundamental understanding of organisational capabilities. This knowledge must be based on rigorous underpinning research and systematically-collected data to ensure that solutions stand up to scrutiny. The Cranfield Executive DBA offers participants the opportunity to gain these essential skills. A DBA research project allows you to stand back from your day-to-day role, reflect on a critical management issue that is of importance not only to you and the organisation you work for, but the wider management and policy community. Then, carry out in-depth research that generates new knowledge and fuels new business initiatives. Professional development is a fundamental element of the journey for most DBA researchers. After completing a master’s degree, many seek to further their own learning to fuel their curiosity and support their progression in their chosen career. Our Executive DBA programme provides a meaningful learning challenge, enabling you to make a contribution to both knowledge and practice through your rigorous and relevant research." Professor Michael Bourlakis, Director of Research and Director of the Centre for Logistics, Procurement and Supply Chain Management

Dr Nicky Yates Senior Lecturer in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and Director of Doctoral Programmes (School of Management)


Key facts and statistics

Course information

Cohort profile*

Geographic spread 45% UK 55% International

Part-time Four years

Start date September

Average age 40-44 years

Executive Doctorate of Business Administration Fees Please see the individual course pages on our website for full fee information and full-time or part-time options. Terms and conditions apply. Please visit our website for fee information. See: www.cranfield.ac.uk/som/dba

Cohort size 10

68% Male 32% Female

*These figures give an indication of the course make-up at registration across our DBA programme for the 2022 entry.

Memberships We are proud members of EDBAC, founded in 2011 with a mission to foster excellence and innovation in executive doctoral degree programmes worldwide.

Executive Doctorate in Business Administration Council


A life-changing experience Studying for an Executive DBA at Cranfield is an important turning point in many people's lives, both personally and professionally. Graduates tell us that their Cranfield experience resulted in a significant shift in their approach in the workplace, to one that is more rigorous and evidence-based. The personal development element of the Executive DBA is designed to provide you with a range of transferable personal and professional skills as a basis for continuing professional development. The Executive DBA provides a rich developmental experience; the many skills that you acquire, or in many cases build on, will clearly differentiate you from others and are seamlessly transferable to, ongoing business situations. Personal motivators The decision to embark on a DBA can be for a variety of personal reasons, for example: • The desire for intellectual stimulation, • A belief that a DBA will enhance your career, • Recognition that accepted wisdom is not sufficient for effectively dealing with work challenges, • Enjoyment of lifelong learning, • Fulfilling a lifelong aspiration to research something in depth. Most people expect the experience to have a personal impact on them and their careers, in addition to contributing to practise knowledge that can be used widely. The personal development aspect of the DBA provides you with a structured approach to help you reflect on and make sense of this more personal impact. By reflecting on these aspects in a systematic way, you will be better able to harness the personal learning which is inherent to the programme. More than a degree with the Cranfield Enhance programme Cranfield graduates are valued for their distinctive skills and capabilities. We have developed these programmes to complement and enhance what you learn on your chosen qualification. On the Cranfield Enhance programme, you will be able to earn ‘digital badges’ in areas such as Employability, Entrepreneurship, Sustainability and Outreach to showcase your new skills to prospective employers. Read more at www.cranfield.ac.uk/enhance

Life at Cranfield

A welcoming, professional campus community. Located just over an hour from London in the English countryside, Cranfield’s campus environment supports close, working relationships between our multinational postgraduate students and academic and industry experts.






Milton Keynes






Major train line


How to apply A research proposal will be required in addition to the application. The research proposal lets us assess your suitability for the programme and identify an appropriate supervisor. A good DBA proposal will include the following elements: • A clear summary of the practical problem you want to address in your research studies. • A research question articulating what you want to find out. • A summary of relevant academic literature, how this has influenced your thinking and how your research may add to it. • An initial research design indicating the methods you plan to use. When we receive your application, we will work to find a suitable supervisor and set up an initial informal discussion about your proposed research project and why you want to pursue a DBA. After selecting an appropriate supervisor, we will conduct a formal admissions interview to decide whether to offer you a place on the programme. Please submit your application on our website: www.cranfield.ac.uk/som/dba/apply We hold regular information sessions and DBA proposal writing workshops. Please contact studydba@cranfield.ac.uk to find out more. Alumni discounts We are delighted to offer a 20% discount on fees for this programme to any alumni who have completed any Cranfield University award bearing programme, or Executive Education programme lasting more than two weeks. If you do not fall into this category but would like to access the Alumni Discount, please contact the Alumni Team at alumni@cranfield.ac.uk

Cranfield University works with over 1,500

businesses and governments based in over 40 countries

These organisations include:

For a full list of Cranfield School of Management courses, please visit our website www.cranfield.ac.uk/som

www.cranfield.ac.uk/som/ dba

Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield MK43 0AL, UK


@cranfieldsom /Cranfield School of Management

T: +44 (0)1234 758081 E: studyDBA@cranfield.ac.uk

Cranfield School of Management

Cranfield School of Management


Every effort is made to ensure that the information in this brochure is correct at the time it is printed. Please check our website for the latest information. SOM DBA October 2023.

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