Considering perusing a Doctor of Business Administration in Information Systems, any thoughts?

Hello everyone,

It seems this forum is frequented by a wide variety of professionals, so I thought it would be a good place to seek advice. I am casually considering perusing a D.B.A. in Information Systems and wanted to see what you all though the pros/cons might be. I recently received my M.B.A. in information systems from Cleveland State University, and now work at the Cleveland Clinic in an entry level program analyst position. After one year of employment a good portion of my D.B.A. tuition would be covered by the Clinic, and my job is quite relaxed with flexible hours. My real point of concern is will the 4+ years of additional education pay off in the long run. Ultimately, I would like to hold the position of CIO. Obviously the D.B.A. would be helpful in  achieving this goal, but is it necessary? Thoughts/comments/experience would be great.

Tags: CIO, career, doctorate

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Unless you want to be published or want to teach, I would say at this point experience is more important. If you want to be CIO, not only technical experience but a solid business background and lots of networking so that you can get those important promotions where you will be making business decisions over purely IT decisions.

Thanks for the input. You brought up another aspect I have been considering; would the time/energy used to gain the Doctorate be better spent elsewhere. 4-5 more years of school is a long time.At the same time I feel like I would be leaving money on the table by not taking advantage of the tuition reimbursement. 

If your ultimate goal is top management, yes, spend your time learning management and business. Learn some accounting and finance so you can sell the IT goals to the entire company in terms of monetary costs and gains.


I've been in IT for a long time, just the last year of my MBA has completely changed my attitude how I go about my lowly IT work, let alone how I am looking at the future.


Just staying in your job and the natural progression there, you are going to learn everything you need to learn about IT. How do you want to sell yourself to the entire organization afterwards?  Keep on proving what you can do with the IT you have, study to learn what is coming and so forth, but also branch out.

I don't know enough to comment one way or the other about the practical utility of a DBA in the world of work. I know more about academia. A DBA is an applied degree and is not the best preparation for a faculty position or for research.  A PhD is preferable for a career in higher ed. 

While I have nothing to back this up, other than personal observations in the IT world, I'd say hold off on the DBA. CIO's tend to be forward thinkers and tech savvy guys. While education plays a little bit into the role, its more the application of a technology for a business use. In IT, Doctors, are more academic in nature and are (hate to say this) bad at actually applying technology to a business purpose. They are great at research, development, but I've seen very few that can give a polished product that a customer actually wants.

Thats my .02, so I'd say get some real world experience and re-evaluate the DBA in a year or so.

Thanks for the advice, that is what I will be doing. I just received notification that the D.B.A. program I am interested in only enrolls every three years, so I have until 2016 to decide.

I'm still interested in hearing everyone's thoughts.

Focus on getting security credentials and such. unless you want to do research and teaching I'm not sure how much a PHD will help you.

Any suggestion on which one(s): CCNA, Sec+, CISA 

Look up the ones you can find, and do a jobs search in your area to see how many seek them.  Focus also nationally on your industry.  I found that regions seek different certs.  

Good plan, thanks!

I'd definitely advise against this.  You already have quiet a bit of education and seem to be rather young.  Like you mentioned, I'd work on some certifications and experience at this point.  

I have a CCNA, so that is a good entry level cert i would recommend.  However, I would advise that after you do that, you look into the CCNP and then possibly the CCNP security certification, and thereafter the CISSP cert.  From everything I've read, and from my own experience, specialization seems to be the key in IT.  Sure, it's good to know a bit of everything  but go much deeper in one area. When I was studying for my CCNA, I thought that I would be an expert thereafter (very naive), however, once I started studying for my CCNP, I realized how little I truly knew.  Point being, be a master in one field, and own it.  You will be very successful if you do. 

Best of luck to you.  Whatever you do, I'm sure you'll be just fine.  

Thanks for the advice, I think you nailed it by suggesting a specific focus... now I just have to choose one.


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