Executive Doctorate of Business Administration


The highest-level degree/qualification

The Executive Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) offers the highest-level degree/qualification that would open exciting careers in the business world but also in academia, should a DBA graduate so wish. It is primarily focusing on applied research in business and management.

The DBA is equivalent to the conventional Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), though there are distinct differences. The PhD focuses on in-depth academic research study, emphasizing, primarily, on the creation of academic knowledge. The DBA is focusing on applied research close to the business world, providing answers to practical problems encountered in business and management.
The DBA links the academia and business & management worlds. It provides an optimal way of combining theory and practice for senior business managers. At present, DBA students are sought after by both industry and academia. They are enthusiastically welcomed by the business world as they bring new scientific insights into solving real business problems without resorting to abstract theoretical hypotheses, frequently encountered in academic research. The DBA offers the best way to further their studies for those who would normally hold a master’s degree (particularly the MBA or EMBA).

The Executive Rennes School of Business DBA

The Executive Rennes School of Business DBA Programme comes in a timely manner as it provides novel applied knowledge in the business world at the eve of exciting, new trends in globalization. The Executive Rennes School of Business DBA Programme is an applied research-oriented training programme especially designed for senior business executives, government officials, consultants as well as university faculty with the wish to become an authoritative in their respective fields, engaged scholars, reflective practitioners or to pursue an academic career.
Through conducting advanced, high-quality research on business and management problems, students should demonstrate a deeper understanding of the core of their selected research field. To this end, graduates of the Executive DBA would have strong command of scientific research methodologies, developing further their ability to analyse business and management problems by providing new, applied novel knowledge. DBA graduates shall present their research results in the form of a doctoral thesis in compliance with the highest academic standards, contributing to the promotion of business and management literature from an industry perspective.
The executive DBA programme is based on an annual cycle where central and pivotal role plays the Annual DBA Review towards the end of the academic year designed to provide peer support to DBA students to complete their thesis on a timely manner whilst safeguarding the highest academic standards. The School has an active research environment and publishing during the DBA is welcomed.


The highly international faculty represents a critical resource for incoming Executive DBA students.

Rennes School of Business faculty commands a plethora pf specializations, which cover all the business and management disciplines and research topics. The business school welcomes students with research interests in all modern business and management fields from accounting and finance, corporate social responsible, innovation & technology management to supply chain management.

Admission procedure

Admission Requirements:

  • Aptitude for research
  • Business experience (not less than six years)
  • Master’s degree in any fields (MBA/EMBA/MSc/MA) or equivalent industry experience
  • Good command of English

Application Documents

  • To see what documents you will need to apply, please click on “Apply Online”


Duration & Starting Date

4 years part-time (max. 6 years) each February/September

Programme structure

Duration & Starting Date

4 years part-time (max. 6 years) each February/September.

Teaching language: English

  • Track I (Year 1): Course Teaching

This track consists of intensive 3-day workshops conducted in Rennes School of Business during the first academic year by renown professors from the School with key expertise in business and management, all focusing on successfully completing the DBA thesis as follows:

  • Autumn/Winter:
    • Research methodology;
    • Quantitative Research Methods;
    • Elective 1
  • Spring/Summer:
    • Qualitative Research Methods;
    • Advanced Quantitative/Qualitative Research methods;
    • Elective 2
  • Track II (Year 1~4): Writing the DBA thesis

Upon the successful completion of all modules in Track 1, DBA students shall progress in Track II. This track involves independent research under supervisor’s guidance until the completion of thesis that would imply the completion of two original chapters (academic papers). As a way of enhancing teaching and learning experience of the students their progress would be regularly assessed through an Annual DBA Review arranged as follows:

End of Year 1: Chapter 1 – Main contents : Literature review/evidence; Annual DBA Review
End of Year 2: Chapter 2 – Main contents : New knowledge/evidence; Annual DBA Review
End of Year 3: Chapter 3 – Main contents : New knowledge/evidence; Annual DBA Review
End of Year 4: Final Thesis – Main contents : 3 chapters as a minimum; Annual DBA Review

Besides the above annual reviews of research progress, this track also includes two 7-day global residency workshops in Rennes and Paris respectively in Year 2 and Year 3. This allows participants to mix with their peers, reinforce their international network, add a global perspective to their studies as well as links to the business and management worlds (visits to industry would be planned).

Accomplishment of Study


Each DBA student should be allocated a supervisor from RSB after presentation of their research proposal at the end of the Research Methods & Methodology module in the first semester. Students may also seek additional guidance from top-executives as their business mentor. RSB would facilitate students who shall come forward with business mentors from their work environment. It is the responsibility of students to propose business mentors, if any.

Accomplishment of Study

Students would be allowed to submit their thesis following a positive recommendation by their supervisor(s) and the Annual DBA Review.
Students will be awarded the DBA Degree by Rennes School of Business upon successful oral defence of the thesis at Rennes School of Business before a Thesis Defence Committee comprising four members including the DBA director from Rennes, one internal reviewer and one external reviewer. RSB will offer a Certificate of Completion.


All application documents shall be submitted electronically to the DBA Office at Rennes School of Business to Dr Fabio Fonti,fabio.fonti@rennes-sb.com Associate Dean for Research and Doctoral Programmes Director

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