Global DBA: the programme

Programme structure

The  SKEMA Global DBA is made up of seven elements (plus one non-credit-bearing course element) with a total of 180 ECTS credits entirely taught in English.

Non-credit bearing courses

To help those students who arrive with weaker preparation in statistics (e.g., data analysis) or academic writing, the programme offers non-credit-bearing courses (two full days each). Students may choose to take one or both of these courses, to better equip themselves for the rigorous DBA study.

Foundations of Data Analysis for Managers
Academic Writing in English

The non-credit-bearing courses will normally be offered before the start of first semester, or during semester breaks in first year of study.

The residential weeks

There are three international residential weeks based in Europe, North America and Asia - consisting of selected courses, a networking opportunity, mentoring support, meeting distinguished academic or professional guests and the opportunity to participate in a local cultural experience. Also, the programme will be providing a viable online solution for any student whose circumstances (e.g., Covid 19) prevent them from traveling to attend a residential week, designed to achieve similar learning outcomes.

The research methods courses

There are four research methods courses delivered using a hybrid mode of study, comprising an international residential weekend, home study, and online reinforcement with the professor. An online-only solution is available if unavoidable and agreed in advance with the supervisor.

The four courses are:
  • Case study research 

  • Quantitative methods

  • Qualitative and mixed methods

  • Data analysis, interpretation, and theory building 


The programme provides elective courses to strengthen participants’ knowledge on a particular subject relevant to their doctoral research. Participants can choose four credit courses from a variety of courses offered on campuses (e.g., France, US, China, Brazil). The programme also offers the opportunity take a specialised research workshop ( at the end of third year), for students to present their latest progresses in dissertation works – and receive feedback from advisors and peers.

The research proposal

The research proposal is a clear statement of the research aim and objectives, the rationale for conducting the research, which can be to solve an industry or societal problem or to fill a gap in current knowledge on an important business-related domain. The research proposal includes a condensed literature review and presents the detailed research approach to be used in the research project, the industry partnerships to be established, the type of data to be collected and the proposed methods of analysis and interpretation to be applied. The research proposal also highlights the expected contribution to industry from the research as well as any known risks and limitations.

Mentoring workshops

Mentoring workshops provide an opportunity for students to present their work and receive one-on-one feedback for developing their doctoral research competencies. They are held in addition to the regular supervision sessions for students. The mentoring workshops are usually scheduled as part of the three residential weeks during the whole study period and involve student presentations with feedback from an academic panel. In addition, students may be invited to attend the final research proposal and final thesis defences of other students who are about to complete their SKEMA DBA studies.
  • Three residential study weeks (5 credits each)

  • Four research methods courses (3 credits each) 

  • A written research proposal (15 credits)

  • Research proposal defence (8 credits)

  • Continuous scholastic development (10 credits) 

  • Final DBA written thesis (100 credits)

Final DBA thesis

The final thesis marks the culmination of the DBA student’s journey and is usually assessed by written thesis and oral defence. The final thesis may be structured as a traditional dissertation with distinct chapters based on a template provided or alternatively, as a collection of three publishable papers with a reflexive text to explain the learning journey at each stage and the intellectual contribution of each of the papers included in the final thesis. In this case a typical set of papers would be, a systematic literature review, a qualitative-based research paper, and a quantitative-based research paper. 

The SKEMA Global DBA also recognises other forms of intellectual contribution and academic merit that make a significant contribution to scientific knowledge or the performance of an organisation. The precise DBA thesis structure is subject to discussion with the individual supervisor and depending on agreement of the academic board of the programme.  

Scholarly apprentice workshops

Scholarly apprentice workshops with expert trainers, top professors and successful SKEMA alumni - these are offered during residential weeks and at other times during the semester. They cover topics such as data analysis software training, academic writing, specialised methodological approaches, and how to publish your research.


Supervision is tailored to the needs of the student to complete the DBA and seeks to ensure year-on-year development of management research competencies. High quality supervision is the backbone of the SKEMA Sustainability DBA. There is a normative schedule of supervision sessions averaging about one to two meetings per month.

Career paths

The programme provides interested students the opportunity to take one of three career paths:
  1. For those aspiring to shape and lead business sustainability efforts, the SKEMA Global DBA offers tailored electives focusing on business relevant aspects of sustainability and its implementation in business processes. 

  2. A further career path focuses on leadership positions with social impact, such as top executives for Fortune 500 companies or global organisations.  

  3. The scholar or educational career path helps students develop their own teaching philosophies and identities, supports them in creating their teaching portfolios for a possible future career in higher education..       

Why choose SKEMA?
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