A doctorate degree in business (PhD or DBA) will take three to five years to complete and is intended for students interested in research or teaching management.
You are not required to have obtained a degree in economics. Many universities even prefer students who do not have a specific background in management. Dutch students with university degrees have a greater chance of being accepted into the American MBA-programs – especially those offered at the more prominent universities – than students with degrees in applied science (hbo). Some common prior degrees are technical studies, medicine, and social sciences. Schools do expect their applicants to have some prior knowledge of economics and management through their previous work experience. MBA-programs prefer applicants that have held a full-time position for at least two years, which is why most American MBA students are between the age of 25 to 32. Students with prior work experience tend to get more out of the program, and are simultaneously more prone to contribute to discussions and projects due to their professional background. A high numerical understanding is required.
Sometimes students will be conditionally accepted, which means that they have to close any gaps in their knowledge by taking a course prior to the start of the program. Certain colleges, especially those that employ more theoretical ways of teaching, accept recent graduates who have little to no work experience besides their internships.
A two-year MBA-program is composed of three parts: core, concentration and elective courses. During the first year, students take an intensive core program containing courses in accounting, finance, applied economics, organizational behavior, industrial relations, marketing, quantitative analysis, computer science, or business policy. If you have taken any of these courses prior to the program, you may be able to waive these courses by taking an exam. If you do qualify for exemption, you can take an elective instead.
During the second year, you pick your specialization. You can choose between one of the regular courses, or you can set up your own unique program that meets your personal needs. Many universities also offer joint-degrees, which means that you combine your MBA-program with a different program like public health, public policy or law (although the latter is only available to students with an American Bachelor’s degree), and are able to obtain two titles in three years. You are not required to take both these programs at the same university.
Many universities make use of the case study method, developed at Harvard Business School: students will look at actual business case studies and discuss them together in work groups. Some schools prefer to take a more theoretical and analytical approach, and focus less on practical matters. Other universities make use of both approaches. Examples of case study institutions are Stanford, Dartmouth, University of Virginia, University of Michigan, and Wharton (University of Pennsylvania). More analytical and theoretical institutions are MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Indiana University, and University of Chicago.
Picking a business school
There is some criteria to keep in mind when selecting your business school: the school’s selectivity and reputation, the extent to which the program matches your own goals, the school’s educational methods, the amount of students, the available specialization tracks, the teachers and professors affiliated with the program, and the costs and possibilities for financial support.
There are several websites that can help you in your search for an MBA-program:
Some newspaper and magazine websites also include information about MBA-programs, as well as background information: