Is a Ph.D. in Business Worth It?

phd in business worth it

A super common question… Is obtaining a Ph.D. in Business worth the time, effort, and money? In this article, we dive into all of the aspects of taking your business education a giant step further.

More college graduates are deciding to pursue a degree in the master’s, professional, or doctorate level of studies in their fields of discipline. Since 2000, the number of adults aged 25 and higher whose highest educational attainment was a master’s degree has doubled to 21 million. The number of doctoral degree holders has also grown to 4.5 million.

Given the rising development, it provides you with an assurance that completing a Ph.D. in Business is a worthy investment, especially in a competitive job market.

ph.d. in business

For many students, the decision to pursue a Ph.D. in Business studies is a tough one to make. Many aren’t sure if getting a Ph.D. in Business is even worth it. On the one hand, you are a passionate learner of the subject, and you want to deepen your knowledge as an independent researcher.

On the other hand, some factors can’t be ignored, such as completion time, low compensation, or even mundane career prospects.

In this article, we highlight all the essential information you will need to decide if getting a Ph.D. in Business is worth all the time and effort.

Also, see FAST, ACCREDITED Online Schools for Ph.D. DEGREES

Rising Number of Doctorate Degree Holders

Prospective students pursuing a Ph.D. program in a business-related field are generally highly determined to become an expert in their chosen specialization.

The doctorate program in Business offers you a clear and well-funded pathway to pose a question, perform research, discover something new, and publish your work with your name.

As a result, it proves that you have sufficient understanding and contribution to the subject. It is also a common way to get prepared for an academic career – either teaching at an advanced educational level or as a full-time researcher.

Workforce for Universities

Prospective Ph.D. in Business students are often involved in attending, grading, and teaching to the undergraduate student community at a lesser cost compared to an entry-level full-time professor.

As such, colleges and universities actively encourage a large Ph.D. population, advocate their research works, and earn more grants for the educational system while reducing the need to hire full-time teaching positions.

With the undergraduate student population bringing in immense tuition annually, having low-cost disposable teaching support develops an excellent ROI (Return on Investment) for institutions of higher learning.

Increasing Trend in Research Funding

For several years, funding hasn’t been that much for applied and basic research at colleges and universities. With the increasing budget in recent years, more doctorate candidates provide a consistently motivated workforce to keep research progressing forward, thus advocating even more research investments.

Research funding isn’t only supported by federal agencies but also by private sectors and industries investing in basic and applied research work toward technological innovations.

With enough funding, graduate students in business can find the right infrastructure to specialize in improving their skills and knowledge as a researcher.

ph.d. in business

Graduate School for Bridging Gap Arrangements

When the global economy takes a significant hit due to recession, admission to colleges and universities increases. The idea is that if career opportunities are low, candidates would prefer to boost their worthiness by completing a higher degree until the economic chaos settles.

The length of time it takes to obtain a Ph.D. generally outpaces the duration taken for any stagnant economy to recover, as proven by historical standards. This is the reason why during the 2008 and 2009 global recession, the number of prospective graduate students grew from 2.4 million to 2.7 million (approximately 12%).

Even in the absence of an economic disaster, enrolling in graduate schools is a common way of deferring a career search or escaping unemployed status.

All About Ph.D. in Business Program

Now that we’ve discussed the general factors that might initially convince you that a Ph.D. in Business is a worthy investment, in this section, we will describe the doctorate programs in various business-related fields.

ph.d. in business

Here are some quick facts about the Ph.D. in Business program to prepare you for what you’ll need to comply with to complete your doctorate program:

  • Credits Required to Graduate – 90
  • Number of Specialization Courses – 5
  • Number of Core Courses – 8
  • Number of Elective Courses – 5
  • Number of Research and Dissertation Credits Required to Graduate – 36
  • Hours in Subject Per Week – 9

Ph.D. In Business Programs: Prerequisites and Requirements

Prospective students are required to complete a bachelor’s degree in a relevant business-related field or discipline together with satisfactory GRE or GMAT test scores to be enrolled in a specific Ph.D. in Business program. Doctoral business courses are research-intensive.

General coursework includes mathematics and business, as well as elective courses that depend on the student’s chosen concentration.

The coursework is completed during the first two years of the doctorate program. Afterward, they generally spend two years teaching undergraduate courses and performing research work. As a culminating requirement, writing and completing the dissertation can be accomplished in one to three years more. Sample coursework includes:

  • Business Research Methods
  • Financial Markets
  • Microeconomics and Macroeconomics
  • Mathematical Statistics

What a Ph.D. in Business Program Entails

Doctorate programs in a business-related field prepare you to perform highly specialized scholarly research work. The majority of graduates with a business doctoral program start their careers as consultants or leaders in the business or government sectors, as junior or senior researchers in a college or university, or as professors.

Ph.D. in Business programs are generally research-centric with an emphasis on the development of new theories or concepts in economics, management, and other related disciplines. Specialized areas of research and study include:

ph.d. in business
  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Healthcare Management
  • Human Resource
  • Information Systems
  • Leadership and Organizational Studies
  • Management
  • Operations Management
  • Organizational Systems
  • Supply Chain Management

Prospective graduates work closely with a faculty adviser who is a recognized practitioner or scholar in the related field. Graduate students and faculty mentors collaborate on research works and meet regularly to develop the students’ dissertation theories or concepts and research.

Also, they can even co-author papers for publication. The dissertation is the concluding product of a Ph.D. in Business program, and it is typically supplemented by a comprehensive exam or a series of examinations.

Most colleges and universities require graduate students to earn teaching experience to complete their business doctorate program. They often work as teaching assistants for their faculty advisor to accomplish this requirement.

Also, they can pursue additional teaching assignments through their college or university.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information for Ph.D. in Business Graduates

Completing a Ph.D. in Business will provide you with the expertise and skills for an academic profession in any business-related field, as well as scholarly research at the collegiate level. You will also acquire advanced business management knowledge that can be applied to the private industries and sectors.

A Ph.D. in Business emphasizes creating new concepts in consulting, economics, finance, public administration, business management, and related fields.

If you’re pursuing a Ph.D. in business, it will require a lot of effort and time. It is a full-time commitment that requires four to five years to complete the program. That said, it is essential to research what your potential wage could be with this doctorate program.

Additional Resource: FASTEST Online Doctorate (Ph.D.) Programs in BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

Ph.D. in Business Graduates: Working in the Public or Private Sector

Earning a doctorate program in a business-related field will result in a higher wage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports obtaining a master’s program can provide you with an average $12,000 pay increase over an undergraduate program. In some instances, obtaining a Ph.D. in Business will yield a premium rate over a master’s program.

For instance, some reports indicate obtaining a master’s program in business will result in a median lifetime salary of $3.2 million while completing a doctorate program raises it to $3.5 million. Given this, we can generally conclude that earning a doctorate program will provide you with a higher income.

The primary factor for a wage increase is your employer being in the private or public sector.

Most professionals with a Ph.D. in Business work in the educational or public sector, and some are employed in private companies. Here is a general overview of the annual mean salary obtained from a variety of business-related careers in private industries:

Ph.D. in Business Graduates: Geographic Location

If you are a graduate of a Ph.D. in Business program, you will obtain a higher wage in some parts of the country than in others. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median annual salary for this sector is $131,200; however, your wage can be higher or lower depending upon which state you reside:

States With The Highest Employment Level:

California – $155,120 per year
Texas – $119,540 per year
New York – $170,150 per year
Florida – $121,170 per year
Illinois – $128,340 per year

States With The Highest Concentration of Jobs:

District of Columbia – $163,960 per year
Massachusetts – $152,970 per year
Illinois – $128,340 per year
Connecticut – $144,560 per year
Maryland- $130,690 per year

Top-Paying States:

New Jersey – $170,260 per year
New York – $ 170,150 per year
District of Columbia – $163,960 per year
Delaware – $157,600 per year
California – $155,120 per year

Ph.D. in Business Graduates: Job Titles

Another influential factor in what your wage can be with a Ph.D. in Business program is the job title. Depending on whether you land a career in a private company or academia, your wage can differ significantly.

Here is a quick sampling of the job titles and wages that people with this specific doctorate have:

Here is one significant aspect: your wage with a Ph.D. degree in Business will also be influenced by the concentration you choose. Numerous Ph.D. in Business programs provide you with concentrations that may have higher wages than others, such as operations management, accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, general management, and information systems.

This section offers some insights into what your wage could be with a Ph.D. in Business. Numerous career pathways you can pursue will affect your earning potential. Once you have identified what you want to do with your doctorate program, you can obtain a better idea of the wage potential.

With the information provided, the primary question – “Is a Ph.D. in Business worth it?” entirely depends upon which path you’ll take when it comes to your return on investment.

Ph.D. in Business Completion Rates

Ph.D. in Business programs presents a distinct profile. Not all doctorate candidates will complete – nor should they. Depending on their preferences, they fall into three categories:

1. Those who complete their doctorate studies.

Fairly self-explanatory.

2. Those who can finish but decide not to.

Some students may pursue alternative academic professions, while others may try to venture into becoming entrepreneurs. In these modern times, some people who initially desire to become part of academia may divert to other courses in life.

3. Those who can’t complete their doctorate programs.

Perhaps they lack the motivation and mindset to work on their own. Unless an excellent admissions team intervenes, some students become unable to fulfill the demands of the program and decide to quit.

Each college and university generally provides Doctoral Program Statistics on their official websites. It is one of the methods where prospective students can assess whether a doctorate program in business is worth their time, effort, and money.

For instance, the Cornell University Graduate School has a one-stop-shop with comprehensive information about the statistics of doctorate programs. In 2019, the doctorate in the management program’s admission and the yield rates were 4% and 77%, respectively.

In terms of program retention, the completion rate for the 2011 to 2015 academic years was 60%, while only 19% withdrew from the program.

Some 80% completed the program, while only 20% withdrew during the academic year 2006 to 2010. For 2024, there is a 100% in-progress rate for students who are completing their management doctorate program.

Top 10 Reasons To Pursue a Ph.D. in Business Program

ph.d. in business

If you still think a Ph.D. in Business is just an additional burden, here are more reasons why it is one of the noteworthy investments you can pursue, as well as meeting your personal and professional aspirations.

1. Opportunity to Teach in an Academia

Graduate students have the chance to teach undergraduate courses or assist professors with their teaching obligations, and some people find teaching a rewarding profession.

Business-related studies can be exciting and fun, but some individuals would want to slow down in their profession after a few years, especially if they want to pursue other ventures or want to start a family.

If you are currently in this state, earning a Ph.D. and some teaching opportunities is a good stepping stone into academia. Deadlines are generally more relaxed, and the work is still fulfilling and exciting.

2. Meet Inspirational People

The business industry is full of successful personalities who have inspiring and exciting stories to tell and provide you with the motivation and drive to succeed.

Although some individuals are fortunate enough to land a career working with someone they admire, for the majority of people, finding a job means working full-time in one place or one set of responsibilities.

On the contrary, academia is more flexible. Generally, it provides you with the opportunity to attend workshops, events, and lectures from prominent personalities or meet someone that you consider a role model at trade shows and conferences.

The majority of individuals are more likely to respond when someone reaches out to them in academic competence and generally share their knowledge in this setting.

3. Explore Your Passion

Majoring in Business opens up numerous career prospects after your graduation. Some people venture into this industry because they aren’t sure yet what they want to specialize in life. With a Ph.D. in Business, there are several opportunities to choose from.

A graduate program offers you more time to explore and discover your passion while still investing in something that will become a massive advantage to your professional life.

ph.d. in business

4. Have the Confidence to Become Successful

Self-confidence is essential in every aspect of your life, but when it comes to business ventures, it is your key to success. There are several strategies and ways to improve self-confidence, but confidence that results from entirely knowing your subject is challenging to fake.

Business partners, clients, investors, and interviewers appreciate dealing with a person who thoroughly knows their craft and subject inside and out, as well as comfortable talking and answering questions satisfactorily.

Being aware of what it takes to complete a Ph.D. in Business provides you with enough confidence to show you how you portray yourself on your resume.

5. Progress in Your Career

It takes several months or years to progress in your career. The majority of people spend the beginning stages of their profession exploring their footing in the business setting and getting used to how things work.

Your new experience from a business school indicates that you will have the capacity to succeed quickly and will also open opportunities for climbing the corporate ladder within your organization.

6. Improve Earning Potential

In terms of profitability, education is directly proportional to potential income. Numerous businesses and organizations automatically pay higher wages to someone with post-baccalaureate degrees.

Even companies that generally don’t may be willing to negotiate a higher starting wage for a candidate with extensive credentials, and you may be confident enough to ask for a higher range.

ph.d. in business

7. Specialize in a Field

If you are interested in non-profit management, supply chain management, business ethics, corporate social responsibility, or other business-related industries, a Ph.D. in Business is your key to being proficient in these areas!

8. Develop More Skills

Becoming proficient and competent is more than just a few courses you take in your undergraduate program; it takes a lot of perseverance and practice.

A Ph.D. in Business will provide you with the opportunity and time to develop your skills and expertise in a setting where you have open access to industry experts and high-quality learning resources and tools.

9. Enjoy Networking Opportunities

In the business world, having comprehensive coverage of contacts and a good knowledge of the business industry will provide you with a more significant advantage.

The people you study with will soon become your competitors and colleagues in the future. With that, academic workshops, events, conferences, and symposiums offer excellent opportunities to meet and collaborate with new people and eventually expand your network.

10. Stand Out From the Competition

In today’s modern economy, most career prospects in business and management require some form of business studies. As a result, most job seekers already have a business diploma, certificate, or degree.

Several colleges and universities provide you with accelerated MBA programs, whether traditional or online learning. With a Ph.D. in Business, it is a rare commodity. It provides you with a better advantage and makes you stand out from the rest. Also, it highlights that you are serious about your profession.

Related Links:

Rowan Jones
Chief Editor