The Hitotsubashi ICS DBA

Satoshi Akutsu, DBA Program Director
  • Individual endeavor in a supportive learning community
  • Supervised by experienced and committed faculty
  • Comprehensive course offering on different research methods
  • Intimate and frequent interaction with global leading scholars
  • Focused on you: Student-faculty ratio 1:1
  • Research and teaching assistant opportunities
  • Access to global and regional corporate networks
  • In the heart of Tokyo

The Hitotsubashi ICS Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program prepares you as a thought leader in global business by formalizing and specializing your knowledge of management theories. Our DBA candidates aspire to careers in management research, education, and practice as scholars, teachers, mentors, consultants, and executive managers.

DBA or PhD: What’s the difference?

While PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) programs generally prepare students only for academic careers even in the field of business administration, DBA programs consider a little broader career paths including consulting and management. ICS offers a DBA degree that provides the theoretical and scientific foundation required for an academic career, while assigning a similar level of importance to business-related problem-solving and practical implications.

Is a DBA right for you?

Each year, the Hitotsubashi ICS DBA program accepts a small but diverse group of both full-time and part-time students who reflect a diversity of professional backgrounds:

  • Full-time students typically come straight from a related master’s program (business administration, management science, psychology, economics, sociology, neuroscience, and others).
  • Part-time students normally include (1) business practitioners who currently teach at business schools and wish to earn a doctoral degree; most continue to work as they pursue their DBAs, and (2) business practitioners planning to move into academia.
  • We also welcome business executives who are strongly motivated to contribute to the business community through means such as writing, lecturing, and consulting.

Individual endeavor in a supportive learning community

The DBA program is a tutorial program that revolves around guidance in writing the DBA dissertation. Hitotsubashi ICS offers a supportive learning environment with formal coursework and interaction with other DBA students and faculty, while the student engages in his or her own individual research initiatives.

A DBA dissertation considers a set of theoretically consistent hypotheses using data that has been gathered and analyzed through social scientific approaches and methods. By presenting objective evidence and comparing the presented hypotheses with alternative hypotheses, the DBA dissertation is essentially different from a general management book, which typically expresses ideas based on unsupported conjecture. Writing a DBA dissertation puts the theoretical consistency behind the hypotheses, the feasibility of practical application, and the thoroughness behind the investigation, to the test.

The DBA program values independence in learning. As a DBA candidate, you’ll determine the course and nature of your own personal specialization, while learning to produce unique research at the leading edge of a management field. Your dissertation will identify a research question and assess a range of theories and frameworks for resolving it. Over three years, with the support of a dissertation advisor and dissertation committee members, you’ll develop a set of hypotheses and explore/examine those using social scientifically rigorous approaches and methods. Once your dissertation project is approved, you will qualify for a grant from the DBA committee to cover related expenses (maximum per DBA candidate and project: JPY 100,000).

See list of past Hitotsubashi ICS DBA dissertations

Throughout the three (to six) years of the program, some DBA students serve as a research assistant (RA) or teaching assistant (TA) for their supervisor or other ICS faculty member, and/or conduct joint research with ICS faculty. ICS offers scholarship opportunity for full-time students if the student is not fully supported by an external agency such as MEXT (see DBA Admissions page for more on scholarship opportunities). Full-time students are expected to fully commit to the program and to create and maintain an effective learning community as an assistant to the faculty. In addition, full-time students are strongly encouraged to work as a paid researcher of a well-funded faculty research project.

  • Required courses
    Research Method
    Research Positioning
    Advanced Research Positioning
  • Elective courses
    Advanced Research Method – Quantitative Approach,Advanced Research Method – Qualitative Approach, Advanced Research Method – Experimental Approach,Advanced Research Method – Data Analysis, Advanced Research Method – Modeling Approach
  • Begin Dissertation development
  • Formalize dissertation ideas into Dissertation Proposal
  • Gain approval of Dissertation Proposal by Supervisor and Review Committee
    (Supervisor + two other faculty)
  • Dissertation Defense
    with Review Committee, open to public
  • Disseminate his/her dissertation, by publishing research articles to peer-reviewed academic journals and/or a book

where you can learn from the best

The Hitotsubashi ICS DBA faculty, trained at many of the world’s top institutions, bring a wide range of deep expertise to the program through teaching and advising.

HATTORI, Masazumi (Masa)Professor, Hitotsubashi ICS
LEE, Jinju Assistant Professor, Hitotsubashi ICS
AKUTSU, Satoshi (Toshi)Professor, DBA Program Director, Hitotsubashi ICS
OKADA, EricaProfessor, Hitotsubashi ICS
ONO, HiroshiProfessor, EMBA Program Director, Hitotsubashi ICS
SUZUKI, SatokoAssociate Professor, Hitotsubashi ICS
SUN, KangyongAssociate Professor, Hitotsubashi ICS
ROBINSON, Patricia (Tish)Associate Professor, Hitotsubashi ICS

then network your research

As a Hitotsubashi ICS DBA candidate, you’ll also develop your regional savvy in vast and dynamic East Asia. Through the BEST Alliance (Beijing Seoul Tokyo) – uniting Hitotsubashi ICS with esteemed regional partners Guanghua School of Management at Peking University and Graduate School of Business at Seoul National University – you can collaborate internationally in research, present your work to the universities’ faculty and leadership at annual BeST Alliance conferences, and apply for supplemental network grants to support your dissertation research and disseminate your results.