"I am about to graduate and have the opportunity to do my doctorate
afterwards. Alternatively, I could start my career at a medium-sized
company. In this case, I would possibly do an MBA after a few years. What do
you advise me to do? "The MBA? Or first the doctorate, then the MBA? Are
there any clues as to which degree is better for your career?"
depends on your first degree and your later field of activity. The doctorate
usually allows a better career start and faster career advancement, the MBA
trains management skills and soft skills in the course of a career and is
highly regarded by non-German companies.
Doctorate is typically German, MBA is more international
Germany, 25,000 university graduates graduate each year. Especially in
mathematics and the natural sciences, almost every second (43%), in
engineering every fifth (20%). So if you have studied in these departments,
you should definitely consider a doctorate so as not to lose to your fellow
Sörge Drosten, partner at the management consultancy Kienbaum, says in an
interview with the newspaper Welt:
The title is still a plus on the job market: many employers value
doctoral candidates because of their profound knowledge and ability to work
scientifically on their own. For engineers and scientists, the doctorate is
often the ticket to senior positions, in research and development.
This statement is also confirmed by a study: Eight years after completing
the doctorate, 36% of the doctoral candidates hold a leading position. It is
over 45% of those who have pursued a purely scientific career.
At the higher career levels, it is no longer just the well-founded
theoretical know-how that counts, but also management competence and
commercial knowledge. You don't learn that in a doctorate and here the MBA
has an advantage. The MBA can also provide more career benefits for those
who want to pursue a career abroad or with an international, possibly
Doctorate or MBA? Best of both
There are numerous professionals who have both degrees. Most of them are
typically graduates of science or engineering courses. The classic career
path is the entry after the doctorate, the rise in management positions and
then the part-time MBA to strengthen the business knowledge.
For graduates in economics, the doctorate will have a more positive
impact on their careers than the MBA, because they already learned the
business administration know-how during their first degree.
MBA or PhD? Testimonials from those who have both
randomly selected people via Xing who have both the Dr. title and an MBA. We
received the following opinions:
HR consultant Dr. Dorian Hartmuth
My tip: Only do the MBA at universities, not at universities of applied
sciences. In my opinion, the dissertation is less important than the MBA.
The doctoral thesis is particularly important if you want to be in top
management in Germany. The MBA also benefits you earlier.
Daniel (Dr. & MBA)
I did my doctorate because I wanted to deepen my professional work. Not
at the university though, as I have never pursued a university career.
However, careers in industry played a role, since in large companies the
title often opens the way to management positions faster.
I then joined the MBA because a few years later I was no longer so
convinced that the development - rather the professional work - is my
future. I wanted to develop myself into an all-rounder, and also tend to
focus on management positions. Interestingly, I now work as an all-rounder
at the interface between development and production, which on the one hand
challenges me a lot and on the other hand I am very satisfied. I also see it
as the next step on the ladder, because I am currently building up a network
in a complete company branch and gathering know-how about the processes and
helping to shape them. But neither a doctorate nor an MBA alone would have
put me in this position.
In retrospect, I believe that the promotion would help me move forward if I
switched to one of my former customers at the right moment. I never did that
at the time because the vacancies didn't appeal to me personally because
they were mostly exclusively anchored in development. However, I believe
that people with a different personality structure can be just as successful
or more successful with the MBA. An MBA from the right university enjoys a
lot of attention today, so these are also ideal starting opportunities.
I am rather satisfied when I can complete a project or two up to 100%, more
like a topic in a doctorate. In the MBA at the ESB, I learned many different
subject areas, but mostly only between 30 and 70%. Rather always scratched
the surface. This is how I feel for some of my colleagues who are
successfully on the road with a saddled MBA in marketing or controlling. And
that just doesn't suit me.
Nicolas (Dr. & MBA)
I thought very carefully about whether the doctorate or the MBA brought
me more. There is honestly no clear answer for me. Without a doctorate, I
would not have been able to start my career so easily. The MBA (maybe also
because of a second, rather foreign subject) has probably opened more doors
for me professionally.
Tip: In university management education, there is the possibility to
complete a Doctor of Business Administration after the Master of Business
Administration. You can use this to pursue a doctorate part-time and thus
your Dr. Attain title.