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Executive DBA/Organisation of the programme

Organisation of the programme

The Executive DBA programme is organized into three separate phases:

  • Phase 1 is equally devoted to:
    • Core seminars focusing on the acquisition of knowledge and the methodologies available for research
    • The definition of your thesis topic, which in taking into account your preferences, should emerge over the course of the seminars and your discussions with professors.
  • Phase 2 is devoted to the initial stages in the writing of your thesis, a process that takes place under the supervision of a professor from Business Science Institute's Scientific Committee.
  • Phase 3 focuses on you writing up the final version of your thesis and the organisation of a mock defence to help you prepare for this important stage in your learning journey.  Finally, you will defend your Executive DBA thesis duriing the Annual International Week held at Château de Wiltz (Luxembourg) during the last week in September.  Succesful completion of this phase will lead to the award of the Executive DBA by Business Science Institute and the DBA by iaelyon School of Management-University Jean Moulin.

The actual duration of the programme will depend on:

  • Your availability and time commitment
  • Your ability to undertake high-level research
  • The quality of your writing skills

Each module is assessed based on the research projects submitted by the doctoral students and their presentations during the seminars. The thesis is evaluated on the basis of the preliminary external examiner reports, the overall quality of the written thesis and the oral defence.


Content of the programme

Phase 1

Seminar 1: Managing the Executive DBA Thesis
This introductory seminar provides the student with the resources and approaches to help them efficiently carry out the process of developing their own Executive DBA thesis. The following topics will be addressed:

The choice of thesis topic
The format of the thesis
Effectively managing the thesis process
The formulation of the research question
Searching for information
Data collection and processing methodologies
Designing the structure and writing the thesis


Kalika, M. (2017). How to successfully complete your DBA? Paris: Ems éditions.
Beaulieu, P., Kalika, M. (2020).  The DBA thesis project in practice.  Paris: Ems éditions.

Seminars 2 & 3: Thematic Paradigm I & II
This seminar aims to provide managers with an overview of current research issues in the various fields of management (Strategy, Marketing, Finance, Information Systems, Human Resources, etc.).
Each lecturer (during one or one and a half days) brings to the managers their personal knowledge of the research field in which they work, the current state of the art, as well as their practical experience in terms of methodology and conducting research projects.
These two seminars offer students:

An overview of research issues related to the management of companies and organizations.
A practical illustration of the methodologies and approaches used in various research fields.
The background and resources (according to their own experience, company and area of interest) to successfully build up a personal research topic that will constitute the core of their Executive DBA thesis.
Of course, each professor bringing to the programme their own unique experience, they will contribute specific expert content and a selected bibliography.

The reading list for seminars 2 and 3 is currently under review.

Seminar 4: Qualitative Methodology of the Executive DBA
This seminar enables students working in companies or organisations to better master the qualitative methodologies of collecting and processing management information.  The following aspects are specifically covered:

Carrying out interviews in companies
Analysis of managerial discourse
Clinical analysis
Content analysis
Case studies, action research, etc.
Psychological theories
Critical theories

Walsh, I. (2017). Discovering new theories.  Paris: Ems éditions.
Denzin, N.K. & Lincoln, Y.S. (Eds.).  (2018). The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. 5th edition.  London: Sage.

Seminar 5: Quantitative Research Methodologies for the Executive DBA
This seminar will enable students to become familiar with statistical techniques useful for processing data and carrying out a thesis project if they use numerical data. The focus is not on mathematical demonstrations but on the use of the tools in research protocols. With the help of examples, are discussed in particular:

Analyses of variance
Structural equations

Chevalier, F. , Cloutier., M., Mitev, N. (2019).  Research Methods for the DBA.  Paris: Ems éditions.
Moscarola, J. (2021). Let Your Data Speak! Paris: Ems éditions. French language version.

Phase 2

Seminar 6: Follow-up and Writing the Executive DBA thesis
This supervisory seminar comes in addition to the monthly follow-up by the student's supervisor and allows students to take stock of:

The progress made in the research process
The literature used
Data collection and processing
The thesis plan
Writing the thesis
Specific individual problems encountered

Phase 3

Individual follow-up by the thesis supervisor
Writing up the thesis
Submitting the thesis to the external examiners
Thesis defence (viva)

Assessment of the Executive DBA

Assessment during the programme focuses on the progress made in the formulation of the research project as well as on the final defence of the thesis, which is the key element of the programme.
During the first year of the Executive DBA, the five modules are assessed in order to verify their contribution to the advancement of the research project.
This assessment takes the form of written work handed in to the professors and/or a final integrative piece of work about the candidate's research project.
At the end of the first five modules, the student presents the CERTIFICATE of RESEARCH IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION during the Annual International Week.
Module 6 in Phase 2 'Follow-up and writing the Executive DBA thesis' is assessed through oral presentations of the student's research project.
At the end of the programme, the candidate submits the thesis to their supervisor. The supervisor then gives their opinion to the Business Science Institute Scientific Committee which authorises the defence if a favourable opinion has been received from the two external examiners.