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USF Launches New Doctor of Business Administration Program

Applications are now being accepted for program targeting working professionals in experienced executive and business leadership roles.

Tampa, Fla (July 14, 2014) -- CEOs and other upper-level executives will soon be able to earn doctoral degrees in business without interrupting their careers, thanks to a new Doctor of Business Administration degree program launching at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla.

The USF College of Business is launching the DBA, designed exclusively for C-suite executives and business leaders with at least a dozen years of upper-level industry experience – and is accepting applications for the inaugural cohort that will begin in January 2015.

A fundamentally different degree from the traditional PhD or the Executive MBA, the DBA is intended for working professionals with extensive managerial experience who are looking to transform business practice. The traditional PhD in Business Administration, which USF also offers, is intended for those who want to pursue research-focused careers in academia while the Executive MBA is designed to help rising managers reach the C-suite by providing broad-based business education.

The USF DBA, a three-year, cohort program with no more than 25 executives per cohort, provides senior-level business leaders an opportunity to develop rigorous research skills that can be applied to contemporary business problems.

"This exciting new program also addresses the lifelong learning desires of intellectually curious professionals who already possess advanced degrees in their fields but wish to continue their education to the highest level," said Moez Limayem, dean of the USF College of Business. "Executives will be able to find solutions to organizational problems using research approaches that they learn from top scholars," said Limayem. "Students will learn how to use important research tools to solve the practical problems they face every day in their careers," Limayem added.

Additionally, AACSB, the international business school accrediting agency, has projected that there will be a shortage of qualified business school educators in the near future. DBA candidates interested in pursuing secondary careers as college professors or lecturers will have credentials that are sought-after at AACSB-accredited business schools worldwide.

Well-suited for business leaders who want to learn alongside nationally respected business scholars – but without sacrificing their careers -- the 72-credit-hour program is designed so that participants only meet on campus one weekend a month from August through December and February through June.

"Business executives worldwide indicate that they have always had an interest in earning a PhD but, because of their upward career trajectory, they were reluctant to slow their careers to do so," said Limayem. "This program has been created with that important factor in mind; careful scheduling will allow even the busiest executives to earn the degree without interrupting their careers."

The USF DBA degree program is based on engaged scholarship – combining research, interdisciplinary instruction, and access to business scholars. It will provide executive students with the knowledge and expertise required to identify, understand, and successfully tackle the interdisciplinary, big-picture issues that characterize business management today. It includes foundational and methodological courses and will culminate with a research project that leads to a dissertation under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Executives will define and address complex issues and disseminate knowledge related to their profession in a variety of professional and public outlets – from scholarly journals to industry publications.

Grandon Gill, a USF professor who earned a DBA from Harvard University, has been tapped to spearhead the program. He said the DBA will combine face-to-face coursework, individual scholarly inquiries, and online learning to deliver rich, interactive experiences. Graduates will tackle real business problems from their own industries as part of their dissertation, testing assumptions and comparing alternative solutions to existing challenges in the workplace.

"The USF DBA combines face-to-face and online learning in its rigorous, research-based curriculum that equips executives with advanced skills to better address the vexing problems that face organizations, to lead change initiatives, and to transform business practice," said Gill. DBA candidates will develop a program of research tailored to their specific backgrounds and career goals."

The deadline for applications for the first cohort is November 1, 2014. While an MBA degree or a relevant master's degree is desirable, strong candidates with significant work experience and business acumen may be admitted without the secondary business degree. Applicants are encouraged to contact program staff to discuss their background and fit with the program before applying. For more information, visit usf.edu/dba or contact Grandon Gill at 813-974-6755.