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Demand for the executive DBA degree is set to grow significantly, especially in mainland China, according to Joseph Weintrop. The programme director for the executive doctorate in business at Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business, believes there is an untapped market and increasing interest.
“Right now, this is one of the most interesting phenomena in post-MBA education,” he says. “It is still very much in the early stages, but it is going to expand, and I think we’re going to see the entire Ministry of Education get more involved in coordinating and supervising. There is real potential in the mainland and Hong Kong as well.”
Zicklin recently decided to offer an executive DBA and expects to start the first classes in New York in the second half of 2017. Steps are also being taken to collaborate with appropriate mainland-based business schools in order to offer a suitably balanced and comprehensive programme.
“We’re just figuring out who’s the best partner to dance with,” Weintrop says. “But there is certainly a demand.”
In the first instance, that comes from business school alumni, who want to continue their education, and from successful executives keen to understand the theory and principles behind new trends and the practicalities of global finance.
“Graduates from the top MBA programmes tend to say they learned as much from their classmates as from the professors,” Weintrop says. “That’s fine; it is very much what the MBA market is all about. But in a successful EDBA programme you learn more sophisticated, rigorous ways of addressing problems through economic and behaviour-based approaches.”
Locally, Hong Kong Baptist University and City University of Hong Kong offer DBA degrees and have already made courses available in the mainland.
However, Weintrop notes that the Chinese government does not recognise or sanction any post-master’s degrees other than a PhD. This means that mainland universities cannot yet offer a DBA or similar courses in their own right. The door is open, though, to partnerships between Chinese business schools and those from Hong Kong, the United States and elsewhere. Even so, with a controversial new mandatory testing system for all MBA and EMBA applicants set to begin next year, it will be intriguing to see how business education plays out in the mainland.
That said, Weintrop believes demand for executive DBAs in China - and the rest of the world - is set to soar. “I really think this is going to be big in future,” he says. “My colleagues and I wouldn’t waste our time if we didn’t think this was the way ahead.”