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.

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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. 

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.


Most of the advise on the thread is good but I disagree with some. I will recommend you do the DBA, specially been an AACSB accredited and a well known one. I was in a situation similar to yours.

While at the U.S. Coast Guard where I studied and worked on electronics and telecommunications, I studied by myself and on my own dime about networking and systems achieving my CCNP, CCDP and MCSE certifications. This allowed me to later work at big companies like Sprint, MCI and Verizon. I became a Cisco and networking guru, very strong in technical stuff. Later on I did a Masters in IS focused on database, specially Oracle. This rounded up and strengthened my skills, while exposing me to a different aspect of IT, the functional/business side.

After that I leveraged all that knowledge and specialized in Security and Information Assurance achiving the CISA, CISM and CISSP certs. I made the transition from techie to an administrative and managerial role.

Last year I decided to do a D.B.A. at an AACSB accredited school and it have been quite a ride! My mindset has changed a lot and new and exciting opportunities for knowledge came with it. It is true that you will spent a couple more years studying, but I assure you it is nothing like undergrad or master's level. Specially for all my fellow students that have real IT experience, the excitement of doing and applying Research to real problems we encounter out there is something else.

Besides all that, the opportunities to move up in your career and to other positions like teaching (something I had never seriously considered before), networking with peers, traveling to conferences, etc., is a plus.

If you do a search on Google you will see tons of people these days with masters, certs, and many  trying to get a DBA. Most DBA programs are not AACSB accredited so you have a great opportunity in front of you. If someday you want to supplement your income teaching or move to research, the AACSB accreditation will play a huge part on your opportunities and earning potential.  Jay Lopez

If they are paying for it - sure. But consider an MS in something or go for professional certifications like from Microsoft and VMware or some other technology you work with. Technical know how is very important. Need to understand what is going on to make business decisions if you ask me.


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