Elevating Thought Leadership: The Journey of Pursuing a Doctor of Business Administration Degree

Elevating Thought Leadership: The Journey of Pursuing a Doctor of Business Administration Degree
Elevating Thought Leadership: The Journey of Pursuing a Doctor of Business Administration Degree

In the dynamic realm of executive leadership, navigating a constantly shifting landscape demands innovative solutions to the challenges that define leaders’ paths.

In high-stakes meetings, Jean Mouradian, chief architect at a global enterprise, faced such challenges head-on, fueled by a relentless pursuit of knowledge and a commitment to setting himself apart in the competitive arena.

Reflecting on his engineering background and his Master of Business Administration (MBA), Mouradian sought answers through education and embarked on a logical step for his career: pursuing a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA).

“The DBA program beckoned me to delve deeper into my industry, fostering the creation of novel insights that would give us a distinct edge over our competitors,” Mouradian said.

Despite his confidence in merging his experience and education, he identified a critical gap: research skills essential for maintaining a competitive edge. “As I continued striving for innovation, promoting our company to be at the forefront of the competition, I soon realized the importance of research skills,” he said.

This realization stemmed from a broader understanding that creating knowledge can translate into a genuine competitive advantage. To gain a competitive edge, a leader seeking a DBA needs to develop knowledge from faculty widely recognized for research excellence and expertise to train them in a systematic research methodology to investigate new concepts, practices, and theories.

Through experimentation and critical analysis of data, rather than anecdotes, students cultivate new knowledge that is accurate, verifiable, and generalizable. Acquiring these enduring skills propels students to the forefront of industry evolution, empowering them to emerge as thought leaders.

Vivian Chan, an award-winning serial entrepreneur and investor, recently enrolled in a DBA program with a practical orientation that emphasized the need for motivation and a commitment to lifelong learning. “Through the DBA program,” she said, “individuals are exposed to new concepts, theories, and practical applications that challenge their perspectives and expand their intellectual horizons. This helps individuals develop a more nuanced and informed way of thinking.”

The DBA Difference

Earning a DBA to cultivate thought leadership helps individuals deepen their expertise in a specific business domain to establish themselves as authorities in their field.

The advanced knowledge and refined research skills these leaders acquire through a DBA can unlock pathways to higher-level positions and leadership roles, and also pave the way for diverse career trajectories, including academia and entrepreneurial pursuits.

The distinct focus on applied research within DBA programs empowers participants to contribute invaluable insights and innovative solutions to their respective industries.

A rigorous DBA program offers a comprehensive curriculum that comprises core and elective courses specially crafted for its students’ unique needs and aspirations. These students typically invest four years in acquiring research methodologies prevalent in business, delving into frontier research in areas such as sustainability and green finance. This holistic approach ensures students gain a well-rounded understanding of research practices and theories.

And it’s critical for a DBA program to foster independent research skills, instilling a profound understanding of business theories and facilitating access to a network of experts.

“Many executives are interested in achieving personal growth through this path, differentiating themselves with a scholarly hat and believing that a deeper understanding of their business enables stronger impacts on industries and society,” says Professor Mengze Shi, academic director of the DBA program at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

“We need more thought leaders who can bridge industry practice and academic research. The two worlds don’t talk to each other enough,” said David Soh, an asset management expert now working toward his DBA. “Industry veterans with this perspective, fluent in both languages, can advise boards or regulators at a different level.”

Research, Industry, and Education

Central to the success of a DBA program is its seamless integration of research, industry, and education. Encouraging DBA students to use their program as a platform for creating tangible value for their organizations aligns with industry practices and regulatory policies, enabling contributions that resonate within organizations and enhance professional profiles.

A DBA degree can help turn good leaders into visionary leaders, urging them to shape pragmatic insights and forge a lasting legacy in the business world. Dedicated faculty members and field-knowledge experts play a pivotal role in a DBA program’s success. Beyond traditional contributions, faculty members can actively engage with students through various forums, facilitating meaningful exchanges of ideas and fostering collaboration.

HKUST’s DBA program offers unwavering academic rigor, a personalized learning experience, diverse cohorts, and a distinguished faculty that equips students with the essential tools for acquiring a profound understanding of business theories and fostering a powerful professional network, empowering students to make significant contributions and leave an enduring impact on their industries.

Learn how earning a DBA degree at HKUST can help you become an expert in your field, embrace innovation, and shape the future of business.