DBA Program Overview

Doctor of Business Administration Program

Hitotsubashi ICS began offering a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program to business executives in October 2002. The program, conducted in English, is designed to provide business executives who play an active role in the global community with a doctoral-level education at the Hitotsubashi University campus in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, which capitalizes on its close proximity to business districts.

Hitotsubashi ICS offers a DBA degree, rather than a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) degree. While a PhD program provides the necessary theoretical and scientific foundation for an academic career, a DBA program places the same amount of importance on business-related problem-solving and its practical implications. The DBA program does not just involve research, education and academic activities, but is suitable for business executives who wish to contribute to the business community through means such as writing, lecturing, and consulting.

In this way, people who obtain a degree in the DBA program contribute in a variety of ways to, and are involved in numerous activities in, society. The most important aspect of this program, however, is the education of teaching staff at business schools in Japan and the rest of Asia that are focused on globalization. The program is particularly suitable to business people who also teach at such business schools and who have realized the importance of a doctorate degree. Participants may also earn their degree by gaining the knowledge and know-how to write their research thesis as they carry on working. After obtaining a doctorate degree, they are able to personally take part in education in doctoral courses that they were previously restricted from participating in. As such, the range and depth of their research and education are increased.

Doctorate Thesis (DBA Thesis)

The aim of the DBA program at Hitotsubashi ICS is to develop talented persons who can serve as a bridge to leverage the “ Best of Two Worlds” of academia and practice. DBA students combine insights from their own business experience with new management theories, concepts and methodologies learned on the program. They learn to produce unique research at the leading-edge of applied management.

A DBA thesis considers a theoretically consistent hypothesis using data that has been gathered and analyzed through social science methodologies. By presenting objective evidence and comparing the presented hypothesis with alternative hypotheses, the DBA thesis is essentially different from a general management book, which only expresses ideas based on unsupported conjecture and opinions. As such, when writing the DBA thesis, the theoretical consistency behind the structure of the hypothesis and the feasibility of practical application are put to the test, as well as the thoroughness behind the investigation into the hypothesis.

Respecting Student Independence

The DBA program at Hitotsubashi ICS recgonizes the importance of student independence. DBA students spend three years with a member of the ICS faculty to design and execute their research project. This is developed into, and completed as, a DBA thesis. Students can also look to use their DBA thesis as a basis for making a submission to an academic journal or publishing a book.

DBA students take a Research Methodology course and a Research Positioning course in their first year of the program. Furthermore, they are allowed to attend MBA courses upon approval from their supervisor and the faculty member teaching the course.

When commencing a specific DBA thesis project, students are assigned a thesis supervisor from ICS's full-time teaching staff depending on the topic. Students submit a Thesis Proposal under the advice of the supervisor to a thesis review committee made up of the supervisor and two other faculty members in order to receive approval of the topic. Students are also required to pass a Thesis Defense by the same committee when the thesis is complete.

DBA students may also have the opportunity to serve as a research assistant (RA) for their supervisor or an ICS faculty member, or a teaching assistant (TA), and to conduct joint research with ICS faculty.

In principle, the DBA program is a part-time course. As such, students can continue with full-time work while completing their DBA. However, students who receive a scholarship from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology or the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) may consult with their DBA thesis supervisor to cease working and commit to full-time study. As there is currently no scholarship program for the DBA program at Hitotsubashi ICS, students wishing to receive a scholarship must personally apply to an external scholarship program.

The DBA program is open to a small number of talented people. It is a tutorial program that revolves around guidance in writing the DBA thesis. There is very little formal coursework and relatively little interaction with other DBA students and faculty members. The student is responsible for his or her individual actions. This program is different from the MBA, which is based on the synergy effect of an abundance of courses and exchanges through interaction with other students.