Bradford University School of Management

"Bradford has the most outstanding DBA programme in Europe."

Axel Wellmann, DBA 2009
Head of Product and Sales Management - Mercedes-Benz

The Bradford DBA


The Bradford DBA is the pinnacle of management education. This doctoral degree is as academically rigorous as a PhD but is designed for senior, experienced professional managers – average age 42 (with a range between 31 and 68) – and is highly applicable within your specific sector and career.

For MBA (or equivalent) graduates looking for the next challenge in your career, the Bradford DBA provides an unprecedented fast-track to the status of global expert in your chosen field. 

You will make a significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge in your area of expertise while studying part time and remaining at work, which will act as a powerful asset to you, your company and your industry.

This will open up a new realm of personal development and career opportunities including teaching at international business schools, high level consultancy and board level roles.

Your fellow DBA students are an elite group of about 25 international managers, which you will meet, network and share ideas at several taught sessions in year one and two and during your research phase via regular peer review workshops in different locations. As a DBA student at Bradford University School of Management, you become part of our international alumni network of business people. Current and recent DBA students work for companies like Shell International, Siemens, Bayer, ING Group and Phillips International.

The part time programme is designed to fit into your busy schedule whilst ensuring that you have the support and guidance needed to help you translate your knowledge into proper academic thinking and writing. The schedule of modules and workshops is agreed well in advance and details of dates for 2014/15 are available on request.

Our DBA supervisors bring a high level of support, as well as a high level of academic achievement, to your studies. Unlike many DBA programmes, all our supervisors are experienced in doctoral research supervision. Our other staff are also always available to help answer questions and give advice.

+Course details

The Bradford DBA provides a unique part-time structure of rigorous, concentrated study, ongoing research practice and continual, practical assessment. The course combines distance learning with the advantages of face-to-face study. Participants make scheduled visits to Bradford and/or Germany each year for modules, peer review workshops and discussions with supervisors.

You will attend compulsory residential workshops spread throughout the year in years one and two. Year one consists of 4 residential sessions, spread over the year. Each of those sessions last between 3 to 5 days. Year two follows with another 3  residential modules - each of them lasting 3 days.

From year three onward you will attend a minimum of two, two-day Peer Review Workshops each year. They give you the chance to test your ideas with fellow participants and share ideas with others. The workshops also keep DBA students motivated, and contribute to our having fewer students fail to complete than most DBA programmes.

Twice a year you are assessed through our Monitoring Progress System, in which you report in to the DBA Review Team. This ensures that you are up to speed with your research and writing.

The schedule of modules and workshops is agreed well in advance and full details of dates for 2014/15 are available on request.

+Course structure

Research skills training

In years one and two you will study eight modules designed to develop doctoral-level expertise in research methods and to take you to the point where you can start your own independent research. In this intensive period, you learn to translate your hard won management wisdom into a research framework that enables you to produce an academic thesis with practical business impact.

The modules are practically focused so that, if you wish, you can hone your research skills by focusing on current problems you have to tackle for your organisation. You will maintain a learning journal that will help you become more reflective as a business person and encourages professional self-improvement along the way.

Research proposal

Before progressing to the next stage, you will use the knowledge and skills gained from your research training to design, refine and defend your research proposal by presenting it at a ‘mini viva’.


In years three to four or three to six, you will complete a supervised research project leading to either a thesis of 60,000 words, or a combination of thesis and management reports that together total about 60,000 words.

Students choose their own research topic, based on their individual and organisational needs. It may be problem driven, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate where existing theories break down and new thinking is needed, or discovering a new way in which to tackle difficult issues. The project will provide you with skills and insights you will draw on throughout your career.

Recent projects have included ‘Measuring the Efficiency of Customer Retention Programmes’, ‘Productivity Improvement in Small and Medium-Size Enterprises’, ‘Organisational Learning in Context’, ‘External Communication and Corporate Performance’, and ‘Managing Cultural Integration in International Joint Ventures’.

+Our students and alumni


Cara Antoine

 dba profile - cara antoine


DBA Cohort, 2008

Year of Graduation



American and Dutch

Previous Qualifications



On completion of my Masters programme in ’93, I took a pause from academia in order to bridge my knowledge to practice and get out into the world of gainful employment and real experience. I promised myself to never stop learning and that one day I would return to the classroom to pursue my Doctorate. On joining Royal Dutch Shell in 2006, I realised instantly that this was the perfect culmination of time and place where my Doctoral ambitions would be relevant and would come to fruition. I entered the TiasNimbas-Bradford DBA in 2008 and the programme has offered the structure I was seeking to manage my family, job, school and travel schedules in a balanced and effective way.

Reflecting on the first 3 years of the DBA, I found tremendous value in making my assignments practical and relevant to the business environment in which I work. The topic of my study in Collaborative Innovation in Technology is of interest and importance to our corporate goals at Shell and the research methods taught in the DBA have enabled me to look practically into our challenges, to gain new insights and to apply learning’s that have improved our business.

The overall structure of the DBA allows students to learn academic approaches to becoming a qualified researcher and each segment of the programme thoroughly teaches the necessary stages to getting to write the final thesis. Beyond the academic lectures however, students will find incredible   inspiration from the network of other DBA students, supervisors and administrative staff. For me, staying engaged with a small study group and the Peer Review Workshops has been essential in order to continue to grow connections, learn from my classmates and find the encouragement to progress with my own research and thesis development!

A favourite tip to pass along to students at the start of new assignments is “just start writing”. What may seem like a high word count to achieve when you begin your assignment will quickly become ‘not enough’ and you will find yourself wishing for more.



Dr. Geellis Winkel

 DBA - G Winkel

Year of Graduation




Previous Qualifications

Executive MBA (Strathclyde University)


Chief Executive Officer / Director & Advisor of Strategic Change


During my career as a general manager I got triggered by a real business problem; I noticed that a lot of ICT projects, where huge amounts of money are invested, often fail.

I combined this curiosity with my opinion about lifelong learning. Thus, I decided to study this business problem in-depth with an added value for managers and also scientists.

During my research process, which became a way of life, I discovered that the DBA programme facilitates this lonely discovery journey where the main contributors were the dedicated staff and the interaction with peers all around the world.

The added value of the research is that I am now an expert in the business topic IT-enabled Organizational Change where I have developed an holistic and integrative framework which is very supportive to lead strategic change.

Another added value regarding my work  is that for solving business problems I have the opportunity to bridge between two perspectives; a managerial and a scientific point of view.


Dr. Anil Vaidya

dba profile - anil


Indian (currently living in the Netherlands).

Previous Qualifications

MBA (at University of Akron, USA)

Background Global HRM Director for Philips International, with focus on Talent Management for IT people in 50 countries spread around the world.


"The Bradford DBA prograame taught me to be a practitioner researcher, a reflecting educationist and a more rounded management professional. The best part was the requirement that a DBA must contribute to management practice. The 4.5 years at Bradford School of Management was the most fulfilling experience, even though it was challenging to meet quality expectations of SoM. Receiving the award at convocation was the dream coming true."



Dr. Dan Seddoh

120 x 164


As a Chartered Accountant and a finance person, the Doctorate of Business Administration was very attractive to me because it is deeply rooted in professional practice.  It was presented to me as an attractive innovative and topic-driven postgraduate qualification. The practical nature of the DBA made it more attractive than the PhD and with hindsight, I can say with certainty that I have no regret for choosing the DBA over the PhD.

The program has equipped me with the most complete and up-to-date knowledge and understanding of both general management and my specialist area. The real deal from the DBA is the acquisition of lifelong skills of learning to learn through reflection, research, and the review of appropriate materials.

After my DBA, I got appointed to the high profile job of the Chief Executive Officer of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority but my sense of self-discovery made me resign from this job after a year to pursue my dream. I currently serve as a non-executive director on the Boards of reputable companies and also discharge my duty as an adjunct lecturer at the Graduate Business School.  

What is more exciting to me is that, today, I have discovered that I am in the business of trying to make sense out of business life and communicating my conclusions to the next generational leaders in the simplest possible manner. Thanks to my training from Bradford – making knowledge work.

I met very pleasant people on the DBA program. I can readily mention my cohort, my supervisor - Professor Sandra Hogarth-Scott and Eva Niemann. These people contributed in diverse ways to help me discover the ultimate in life – knowing who I am. I can thankfully say I now do things that suit my personality and I am at peace with myself.



Klaus-Peter Reintges

120 x 180


The Bradford doctoral programme is a very special experience for me to improve both my theoretical and practical skills in management. I consider myself as a practitioner researcher and I am making use of the programme to investigate the topic Systemic Leadership in management practice.

The support from the team of the Bradford Management Centre is excellent, even in challenging situations. I am really enjoying the programme and it has become an integral part of my life as a manager.


Leonard J. van der Heyden   

120 x 212


Chairman & CEO, Mellonfrance

Marbella, Spain


What a journey…lifelong learning; retiring, never. At 69, the quest remains that of finding the sweet poetry in my life to share with others…to lead by example…if you lose that courage, you lose everything... 


Dr. Thomas Frey

profile - dba - thomas frey





Previous Qualifications

MBA - London Business School, BSc Chem. Engineering - Basel Institute of Technology


The DBA allowed me not only to become specialised in a business topic I have chosen, but also delivered the gratification through an academic title helping in turn to achieve my business career goals.

The Bradford DBA is the best organised and administered DBA program in Europe.

It is completely tailored to the needs of fully employed individuals in management positions. Everything in the course is completely geared towards delivering your individual thesis. In the first stage the essentials for the thesis design and research are furnished. In a second stage the analysis of existing and writing of own academic pieces are carefully trained. As a result one can define a solid thesis proposal and then deliver the research and thesis in one's own pace without getting lost in the process. I found the peer review workshops extremely helpful as a constant learning opportunity from my DBA colleagues, most of which have turned into lifelong friendships.

Overall, the Bradford DBA was worth every second and penny of it.



Dr. Elizabeth Kariuki

150 x 113



Previous Qualifications

MSc Public Policy and Management, Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (CA), BSc Mechanical Engineering


“The modular construction of the DBA programme at Bradford systematically built my capacity for research. The programme was also effective in vastly enhancing my intellectual and professional knowledge base and thought leadership offering, as well as my ability to be more reflective and structured.


In the area of thought leadership, in 2011, I co-authored four chapters of a book entitled ‘Public Administration in Africa’ targeted at development administration students at tertiary level.  The DBA has also been instrumental in my transition from providing pure management consulting services as a PwC Partner, to a combination of public sector consulting and policy research at the Africa Policy Research Institute Limited (APRIL).


Interactions with facilitators and my contemporaries, particularly in peer review workshop settings, helped to: unblock issues that arose during the various stages of the research; and cultivate what will hopefully be, a lifetime network of professional colleagues from across the world, who are leaders in a range of fields of business management”.


Elizabeth Kariuki is a Director of Africa Policy Research Institute Limited (APRIL) and former Partner at PwC


Dr. Sally Salter

Student photo - Sally Salter  

Year of Graduation




Previous Qualifications



"A Doctorate was the natural progression from my MBA. And the DBA allowed me to both study the business and make improvements to it.

Practical structured residential tuition was given over the first two years, giving a superb grounding for carrying out the research and thesis write-up over the subsequent two years. All angles were covered, from specific research techniques to ethics to practical advice about how to get 50,000 acceptable words on to paper to complete the thesis.

I am the Group General Manager for Unicam, a company with branches in Leeds and Amsterdam exporting and installing interactive demonstration equipment to major retailers throughout Europe. By learning about how to research various aspects of business, and doing practical work-based assignments and finally my thesis, I have been able to make several measurable and continuing improvements within the business, from HR policy to factory productivity. This will of course continue."


Dr. Helen Collins

Student photo - Helen Collins



Previous Qualifications



Marketing manager Helen Collins took the Bradford DBA to further her knowledge and to put her in a better position to advance her career.

"Bradford was one of the few universities that offered a part-time course, and I was working full-time," explained Helen, who completed the course in four years. "The course as outlined in the prospectus showed that the School of Management had thought carefully about the practicalities surrounding both the business and academic requirements, and provided a structured path to the point where the full research started. At this point, the supervision, in my case by Professor Arthur Francis, the Dean, was supportive and constructive."

Her thesis investigated new product development in the UK financial services industry, and whether the Japanese car industry could add any insight. Its title was, "An exploration of the application of Japanese management practices to new product development in the UK financial services industry: a participant observational case study in a UK life company, identifying areas of failure, potential improvement and application of new methods to improve speed-to-market".

Helen, who lives in King's Lynn, Norfolk, has sales and marketing experience, together with experience in marketing communications and project management. She holds an MBA from the University of Leicester.

Asked to comment on her feelings after completing the DBA, she said: "I am obviously relieved, but also appreciative of all the help and support I received from the University, my employer and family."

And her advice to potential DBA applicants?

"Be patient but determined. Make sure that you use the University resources, and if in doubt, ask. The staff are there to help, not to hinder. Persistence also pays off. At one or more stages, the temptation is to give up, but the feeling will pass and then success is just around the corner.

Plan for the viva-voce examination - it is important to be prepared. Vivas are not necessarily as daunting as everyone says - gruelling, yes; nerve racking, yes; but daunting, no. The thesis word count may sound high, but when it comes to it, you would wish for more."

Key Details

Study Mode



4-7 years

Start Date



Bradford and other cities in Europe


£39,000 for 4 year programme
Annual continuation fee - £3,000 each year after year 4




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Bradford University School of Management
Emm Lane, Bradford BD9 4JL
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