CityU DBA - Doctor of Business Administration

9 March 2022

Professor Muammer Ozer and Mr João André Neiva, our DBA Cohort 2018, were featured in SCMP

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders around the world have faced unprecedented challenges. Whether these challenges have spelt new opportunities, or presented a whole new set of on-going challenges, there is no doubt that business leaders of today have to navigate a world with a level of uncertainty that makes coming up with reasonable plans for the future more challenging.

However, this is where further education in business administration can help to arm and prepare business leaders for the world of tomorrow, according to Professor Muammer Ozer, programme director of the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programme offered by the College of Business at the City University of Hong Kong (CityU). 

“Business leaders today should be able to make sense of the changes in the macroenvironment, understand their employees, suppliers and customers, innovate their processes, take advantage of the latest technologies and adopt flexible strategies,” he said.

With a strong focus on methodology and active research, CityU’s DBA programme is unparalleled in arming business leaders with the know-how and the latest approaches to manage a wildly unpredictable environment. According to the programme, its primary aim is to equip leaders with new management ideas and practices by applying advanced research techniques to solve real world business and management problems.

By its very nature, the course is therefore most suited for business leaders, entrepreneurs and senior executives, and it typically draws a student body that comes with an abundance of work experience or are outstanding applicants. 

This breadth of student backgrounds coupled with an impressive teaching body made up of world-renowned professors is what makes the learning experience one-of-a-kind. It is also what makes it one of the top DBA programmes globally.

Professors are typically active researchers in a number of fields hailing global expertise and in-depth China knowledge with works published in leading academic journals; while students typically come from more than 10 years’ of senior management experience. This allows for an abundant cross-learning experience, where the programme is able to provide students with the latest knowledge from the research community, as well as the networking opportunity for students to meet with senior business leaders from different industries. Furthermore, by having students do their own research, they are better able to apply it to their future research needs.

According to Mr João André Neiva, a current student of the programme, “This is what makes this programme unique. As a student, you have access to a broad range of renowned scholars and industry experts from across different fields.”

Indeed, yet another strength of the programme is that it draws on the collaborative efforts and expertise from across six member departments within the College. These include Accountancy, Economics and Finance, Information Systems, Management, Management Sciences and Marketing. It also focuses on the development of applied research skills in a wide range of interdisciplinary areas such as knowledge and innovation management.

As such, students are expected to complete 15 credits in core courses, choose 12 credits of electives and work closely with thesis mentors to complete a thesis that shows an up-to-date understanding of business practice.

And even though courses have shifted to online learning since the start of the pandemic, great emphasis is placed on one-on-one interaction, individual interactions and consultations, so some elements will be conducted face-to-face. This is important and Professor Ozer stresses that the faculty is there to provide students with plenty of support to make sure they’re on track.

“We emphasize broadening the impact of their research by considering multiple areas where their research can be used,” he explained. “Equipped with such skills, they will know how to address pressing business problems and make societal contributions, let it be change, innovation, international business, or any other business matter.”

Neiva couldn’t praise the programme enough in this regard. Having worked in his industry for many years, he wanted to have a further in-depth understanding of the Fintech phenomenon and especially why venture capital firms want to invest in these firms. The DBA was an obvious choice, he said, because it complemented his experience as a practitioner.

“It helped me be more methodical when approaching new problems, looking for data and facts rather than opinions and be more aware of cognitive biases when facing investment decisions,” he said. Having done the programme has helped him to further his career into a new role to help his company develop its global businesses through acquisitions and partnerships.  

As such, his advice to potential applicants is that be prepared that it will be one of the most intellectually stimulating challenges in their academic life, but he also says that anyone who has identified problems or gaps in their area of expertise will certainly find the right tools to fill those gaps and solve any problems.

With the programme striking the right balance between theory and practice students can also count on their learning partners to help keep a healthy ongoing discussion regarding the myriad of issues ranging from marketing strategies for luxury watches to applied machine learning in stock investments.

“You’ll also be adding a small contribution to the existing literature, isn’t’ that exciting?” he said.