Doctor of Business Administration at RWTH Aachen




Helmut Dinger



+49 241 80 27697



A challenging doctoral program for experienced professionals will be introduced at RWTH Aachen.

The current digital transformation of enterprises and the economy place increasing demands on the qualification of employees. If simple administrative and decision-making activities will be increasingly carried out by algorithms in the future, managers must take on even more demanding and creative tasks than before.

This development calls for new academic educational offerings, in particular for post-graduates, and also for new forms of collaboration between academic research and industry.

For this reason, RWTH Aachen has decided to offer a program that is unique in German higher education: a four-year Doctor of Business Administration program which is open to experienced professionals with a Diplom, Master’s, or MBA degree. The program, which is offered in collaboration with the Maastricht School of Management, forges new paths in involving companies in the education and training of doctoral candidates.

Doctor of Business Administration

Today, there are 196 approved Doctor of Business Administration programs worldwide. The DBA is targeted at top-level executives who take a strong interest in the application and business-oriented further development of economics research.

The DBA, first developed by the Harvard University, represents the highest business management degree in Anglo-American higher education. In contrast with PhD programs, which focus on the development of new theories, the DBA places emphasis on practice-oriented research on management challenges.

According to Dr. Helmut Dinger, managing director of the RWTH Aachen International Academy, RWTH Aachen’s executive education institution, “the DBA satisfies the demand for adequate research on today’s management challenges and on current economic trends."

The program will be jointly offered by the Maastricht School of Management, MSM for short, and RWTH Aachen International Academy. The DBA degree will be conferred by MSM, a renowned and highly experienced business school. RWTH Aachen will contribute to the program by providing content as well as teaching and supervision capacity.

Admission, Duration, Content

Admission requirements include a university degree (Master’s, Diplom) or an MBA degree as well as at least five years of professional experience with responsibility for staff and budget management. The duration of the program is four years. In the first year, candidates participate in executive education courses in advanced economics and research methodology. In parallel, candidates develop a research proposal which will be presented and defended in front of an expert committee.

If the candidate succeeds in defending the propsal, he or she will conduct independent research on a specialist topic both at the company and at university. During the entire program, the candidate will be supported and supervised by RWTH professors.

As Professor Frank Piller, Vice-Dean of the RWTH Schools of Business and Economics and academic director of the program, explains, „for RWTH professors, this collaboration represents a great opportunity to conduct joint research with industrial executives. The program continues the University’s strong tradition of collaboration with industry on a new level.”

The very high standards of the program require a rigorous selection of candidates. In order to obtain the prestigious DBA MSM Maastricht degree, among other requirements, participants are required to publish their research results in recognized, peer-reviewed academic journals. Furthermore, the DBA thesis must be defended in front of an international expert committee.