12 Career Paths You Can Pursue With a Doctorate in Business Administration

A woman with a DBA advancing her career
A woman with a DBA advancing her career

If you are considering earning your DBA online to increase your career possibilities and salary potential, a good starting point is to do a deep dive into the jobs you can get with an advanced business administration degree. 

Online DBA degree programs can enhance the careers of many professionals by equipping them with marketable, high-level skills like data-driven decision making, business intelligence, and ethical leadership. 85% of surveyed professional doctorate graduates say that their degree facilitated a promotion or career change. Additionally, 97% of DBA graduates report receiving a full-time job offer within six months of graduation.

Post-graduate education in business administration can equip you for greater success in your field. Consider 12 of the jobs that a business administration program can prepare graduates to fill. 


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Business Consultant

Business consultants — also called management consultants or management analysts — work with corporations and organizations to achieve their specific goals. A consultant may be retained in order to work on a specific company project, such as a reorganization or expansion. Consultants will request and review data and information about the organization then make recommendations for best practices based on what they observe. 

The consultant’s job is often split into two parts that work together: reviewing past information and presenting future plans. Therefore, consultants need to be skilled both in data analysis and in effective communication, so that they can empower their clients to make informed, clear decisions. Graduates of doctorate in business administration degree programs will especially excel at these dual responsibilities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that management analyst roles will grow by 14% between 2020–2030, which is faster than the average rate for all occupations. They list a median annual salary of $87,660, however, that is based on bachelor and master’s level management analyst roles as well. The highest 10% of earners in these roles earned over $156,840 per year. 


C-Suite Executive

Professionals who hold a doctorate-level degree in business administration and have many years of relevant experience in their field are equipped to enter c-level roles such as chief executive officer, chief administrative officer, or chief operations officer. These professionals are typically responsible for oversight of many major aspects of a company, including employee teams, budgeting, and projects. 

Executive leadership roles such as c-suite positions are increasingly technical as the marketplace shifts toward higher prioritization of data and metrics. In fact, artificial intelligence, data science, and machine learning technologies are the top three technical skills that are in-demand for C-suite executives. Business administration degrees that emphasize business intelligence are a perfect fit.

The BLS projects 8% growth rate in top executive roles between 2020 and 2030. They list a median annual wage for chief executives of $185,950. 



Economists study data, trends, and economic issues in order to understand various aspects of resource production and distribution. They may conduct surveys, perform statistical analysis, and use various technological tools and software programs to evaluate economic trends. 

Professionals in the economics field will find that a doctorate of business administration enhances their capacity to make interpretations and forecast trends in the marketplace. Their degree program will also strengthen their leadership skills, further empowering them to share their forecasts and predictions with key stakeholders of businesses, organizations, government agencies, or even individuals in order to assist them in making economic decisions.

The BLS lists a median annual wage of $108,350 for economists. However, this estimate includes economists with master’s degrees. Economists with doctoral degrees may have a higher earning potential that is closer to the top 10% of economist’s salaries listed by the BLS, which is higher than $198,230.



Professors who hold a doctorate of business administration are likely to teach classes in a college or university’s business school, and to cover topics like business practices, management skills, or ethical leadership. The day-to-day work of a professor may include meeting with a student to discuss a paper or exam grade, making lesson plans, and conducting a survey that will inform an upcoming scholarly article. 

The BLS projects a 12% growth rate for postsecondary teachers between 2020 and 2030. The median annual wage for these professionals was $80,560 in May 2020. The top 10% earned more than $179,540.


Organizational Development Manager

Organizational development managers determine what types of training and development could help the organization and its employees reach their goals. An organizational development manager may work with both teams and individuals in order to make development plans. Professionals with experience as human resources generalists or training managers who graduate from a doctorate of business administration degree program will find themselves well-suited for roles in organizational development management.

Organizational development managers are responsible for selecting training opportunities that align with the company’s objectives, creating and managing staff development budgets, and evaluating training programs and those who lead them. 

The BLS projects that roles for training and development managers will grow 11% between 2020–2030, which is faster than the average for all occupations. These professionals earned a median salary of $115,460 in May 2020, with the top 10% of earners receiving over $200,210.


Director of Human Resources

A director of human resources (HR director) may work in any number of business fields. The HR director develops and implements policies, plans and coordinates activities, and oversees various components of organizational staffing. This professional will be responsible for recruitment, hiring, and training of staff members, delivery of performance evaluations, and, when necessary, disciplinary issues including termination. 

HR directors, who typically have years of experience in human resources or a requisite role, often work closely with senior leaders to ensure that the company culture is aligned with the organization’s goals and objectives. They are also involved in various dynamics of company procedures such as compensation, benefits, leave, and occupational health and safety. 

The BLS does not project a growth rate or list an average salary for Directors of Human Resources. However, they project a growth rate of 9% between 2020–2030 for human resources managers, which may shed some light on the subject. According to Built In, the average base salary for an HR director is $140,493 with an average of 432,770 in additional cash compensation, totaling $173,713.

A man with an advanced business degree


Government Program Manager

Across all branches of the military and dozens of government agencies, skilled leaders with experience and education in workforce planning and leadership are needed to manage people and programs. A program manager in the federal government, for example, may work for the Environmental Protection Agency to develop training programs and conduct strategic planning. A program manager who works for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may advise commission leaders, oversee nation-wide programs, and direct policy development.

At the local level, program managers may work for a city or state. They might, for example, be responsible for designing and implementing programs that lead a city’s decarbonization efforts. A program manager in such a position may collaborate with other leaders to create a plan for increasing their area’s use of green energy.

At the federal level, many program manager jobs are ranked as GS-15 according to the General Schedule Pay Scale. That means a salary range of $110,460 - $143,598 per year. As far as the state and local level, Payscale lists the average government program manager salary as $91,657.


Nonprofit Executive Director

Nonprofit executive directors are the primary leaders of charitable organizations. They are responsible for overseeing programs that align with the organization’s mission and industry best practices. Oftentimes, their roles entail fundraising, strategic planning, and advising the board of directors. Nonprofit directors may have worked in the field for decades, or they may be transitioning from a public or private role into the philanthropic sector. Skills like leadership, strategic planning, and financial management may transition well to a nonprofit executive director role when combined with a doctorate of business administration degree.

The ability to understand the needs of the population the organization serves both through data and relationships are invaluable for such a leader — and makes a doctorate in business administration a great asset. These leaders need to be able to put together and activate staff teams who can accomplish great things with limited resources.

Salaries for nonprofit executive directors tend to vary based on the size of the organization and its budgets. The BLS does not track nonprofit executive director salaries or job projections specifically, but they do state that the average mean salary for top executives in social advocacy organizations was $164,010 as of May 2020.


Strategic Planner

Strategic planners work to innovate and implement projects, systems, and strategies that improve a company or organizations. They may create and present various plans, or stages of plans, that project years into the company’s future — and outline the steps to take along the way. Graduates of doctorate of business administration degree programs who also have experience in management and analysis are strong candidates for strategic planner roles.

Strategic planners need to have a varied skill set that includes the ability to analyze data, design plans and strategies that address weaknesses, and communicate concepts with key stakeholders.

While it is not an exact match, the management analyst projections and salary listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are useful for understanding the possible range for strategic planners. The BLS lists an average median salary of $87,660 for management analysts in May 2020 and a projected job growth rate of 14% from 2020–2030.


Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts monitor and forecast marketplace trends. They work in most fields of industry studying and projecting sales and marketing trends so that the companies they work for can make strategic, data-driven decisions about the products and services they offer. Marketing assistants and account representatives will be strong candidates for a market research analyst career path when they combine their professional experience with a doctorate of business administration degree.

These professionals explore everything from consumer demographics to product demand in order to provide research-based recommendations for marketing, advertising, and sales efforts. They employ statistics, visualizations like charts and graphs, and research methods such as polls, surveys, and focus groups to inform their recommendations. 

The BLS lists an average median salary of $65,810 for market research analysts with 10% of senior market research analyst professionals earning over $127,410. Market research analyst job positions are projected to grow by 22% from 2020–2030.


Project Manager

For graduates of a business administration degree program who enjoy empowering others to learn, grow, and work together effectively, the role of project manager is a great profession to consider. 

A project manager may work as a consultant or work at a company full time to oversee various company projects. Professionals in these positions are often responsible for setting project goals and milestones, collaborating with teams to ensure progress, and assessing projects at various stages. They oversee the timeline and budget, allocate resources, and update key stakeholders.

The BLS lists an annual median salary of $77,420 for project management specialists and business operations specialists, with the top 10% earning $135,220 or more. The BLS expects 9% job growth for management occupations between 2020–2030. 



Logisticians analyze data, current events, and company performance to coordinate their company’s supply chain. They typically manage the full life cycle of a product, allocate needed materials, and work with suppliers and customers to create positive outcomes for all involved. The skills developed in a doctorate of business administration degree program can enhance and build upon the abilities of logisticians.

Logisticians may design strategies to improve efficiencies, perform troubleshooting tasks, and work to reduce costs for their company. While most logisticians work in manufacturing, they also find employment in the government, professional services, private corporations, and more. 

The BLS projects a 30% growth rate between 2020–2030 for logisticians, which is much faster than the rate for all occupations. They list a median annual wage of $76,270 for this position, with the highest percent earning more than $122,580. 


Accelerate Your Career with an online Doctorate of Business Administration from Marymount University 

The marketplace needs data-savvy leaders. Through the online Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Business Intelligence program at Marymount University Online you can prepare for high-level business management.

Our 100% online DBA program takes less than three years and focuses on applied research that directly correlates to the real-world. Prepare to lead with a DBA in Business Intelligence.


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