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The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is designed for business professionals who are looking for a challenge

Resolve critical problems for businesses and industries through the application of research and theory in a practical business environment.

Continue to work while you study, and find solutions to specific business challenges within your own workplace as part of your degree.

Key information about the DBA:

  • Three years full-time or six years part-time
  • Six taught papers + applied thesis
  • Distance taught online with on-campus workshops in Dunedin
  • Master's degree and 10+ years of work experience at middle to senior management level is required
  • Learn from others by studying in small, interactive classes with personalised supervision
  • Six taught papers and an applied thesis
  • Applications received by 1 May will be considered for intake starting in June/July
  • Applications received by 1 November will be considered for intake starting in January

Doctor of Business Administration programme aims

The aim of the programme is to support students to resolve critical problems for businesses and industries through the application of research and theory in a business environment. Students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which they are encouraged to use in combination with their own experiences and skills.

The degree is structured to allow candidates to continue working and to focus on specific business problems within their own workplace as part of their degree.

Additional information for New Zealand-based DBA students

Why Otago?

Choosing the right university is a very important decision. Your choice of university may have a significant impact in your life. The University of Otago is New Zealand's first university, and prides itself on its long tradition of excellence. The University of Otago graduates are highly regarded by employers.

The Otago Business School ranks in the top 1% of Business Schools worldwide with both AACSB and EQUIS accreditation. It has an international reputation for excellence and teaching, and is acknowledged as a centre of excellence in business and economics. Otago Business School is the leading Business School in New Zealand for research.

Key features

  • Includes a core curriculum which explores the integration of theory and practice in contemporary business issues
  • Strong focus on solving problems which have direct relevance for students
  • Small class sizes
  • Interactive online teaching delivery
  • Personalised support from admission to submission of thesis
  • Strong supervision

Entry requirements

  1. Every applicant must either
    1. be a graduate with a bachelor's honours degree and a postgraduate diploma, or a master's degree in a business discipline, or
    2. in exceptional cases, have alternative equivalent qualifications acceptable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Commerce)
  2. Candidates will be selected on the basis of their previous academic record (normally with a grade average of at least B+), their graduate experience and academic achievements, their commitment to the field of business, evidence that they are committed to ongoing education, and reports from three referees.
  3. Every applicant will normally have at least ten years of experience as a professional in business and demonstrate evidence of leadership in their field.

Career opportunities

The DBA has been developed to address the needs of industry and employers for graduates with industry experience, problem solving and data analysis skills, and the ability to undertake applied research. Graduates will have a wide range of career opportunities in industries within New Zealand, China or elsewhere internationally. These may include roles in middle and upper management, and as management consultants.

Programme requirements and regulations

Programme requirements and regulations for the DBA

Staff profiles

External and international staff

Liz Gordon

Teaching responsibility – BDBA902 Organisational Psychology


Liz worked in management for more than 20 years before a change to a career in tertiary teaching and consultancy. Liz is a chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management, a licenced practitioner for: We Invest in People (international), and she has a MSc in Human Resource Management. When not working, Liz loves nothing more than spending time with her grandson, painting/drawing and being outdoors. Her research interests include: systems perspective, learning organisations, creativity and innovation, diversity and inclusion, employee engagement and employee motivation.

Teaching philosophy
The core purpose of learning, in this content, is to encourage creative thinking at an individual level. Developing intellectual thought and discourse is encouraged to drive the cultivation of creative ideas and solutions that ultimately add value to the communities we serve. Learners are challenged to think, set themselves mindful challenges, explore insight and create practical solutions through enjoyable individual and collaborate learning experiences.

Martien Lubberink – Victoria University of Wellington

Teaching responsibilities – BDBA 904 Contemporary Issues in Finance

Martien's profile page

Andrew Perchard – MPhil (Glasgow), PhD (Strathclyde), FSA Scot, FRHistS, FRSA


Andrew has worked with a number of business and government organisations, including Alcan (now Rio Tinto), the Aluminium Federation, the Black Country Consortium, Highlands Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and the West Midlands Combined Authority on such matters as regional development and investment, research and development, trade and sustainability. His research contributed to the Scottish Government commissioned review of policing of the 1984-85 miners' strike in Scotland. He has given evidence to Pāremata Aotearoa / the New Zealand Parliament and contributed to features and programming in the broadcast and print media. He also serves on the scientific council of the Institut pour l'histoire de l'aluminium and as an editor of History Workshop Journal.

Juergen Scherer – MBA (Cologne), PhD (Cologne)

Teaching responsibilities – BDBA 909 New Ideas in Marketing Theory


Juergen's doctoral thesis on Procurement Marketing received the Scientific Award of the German Industry Association for Purchasing and Supply Management. He lecturers Business-to-Business Management topics at various business schools in Europe, the United States and now in New Zealand and has published papers in academic journals and readers. He has 30 years of experience spanning broad industry in executive positions for global corporations in Germany and the US, namely FMCG company Henkel, Specialty Chemicals company Cognis (acquired in 2010 by BASF) and Industrial Packaging company Mauser. He has lead large globally matrixes organisations on the Sales and Key Account Management as well as on the Purchasing and Supply Management side. Since 2019, he is a Business Consultant and Coach with BxB-Exchange.

Current DBA student research

Current student research projects – Doctor of Business Administration

Alumni profiles


For further information about the DBA please contact:

Dr Sarah Carr
DBA Programme Director
Otago Business School
University of Otago
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand
Tel +64 3 479 8573

Download the DBA flyer (PDF)

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