Welcome to our comprehensive guide on scholarships available for Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programs starting in 2024. 

Earning a DBA can open doors to higher-level business administration roles and professorship opportunities and expand your knowledge through original research. However, the cost of a DBA program can be prohibitively expensive without financial assistance. Our goal is to educate you on the various scholarship resources and give you the information needed to make an informed decision about furthering your education.

Understanding the DBA Degree

Before diving into specific scholarship details, let’s first define what a DBA program entails at a high level. A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a terminal business degree, meaning it is the highest academic level in various business fields such as finance, marketing, operations management, and more. DBA programs typically take three to four years of full-time study to complete after earning an MBA or other relevant master’s degree.


DBA students conduct rigorous original research through a series of coursework, qualifying exams, and a lengthy dissertation. The dissertation is the culminating project where students make an original contribution to a business problem or theory through quantitative, qualitative, or mixed research methods. Successful completion and defense of the dissertation leads to conferred status as a Doctor of Business Administration.

Graduates of DBA programs are qualified for higher-level roles in corporations, consulting firms, and academic positions. Professors at universities are generally expected to hold a terminal doctorate like a DBA or PhD to teach at the graduate level. Others may use their DBA to advance as C-suite executives or start their own businesses.

Types of DBA Scholarships

With the key aspects of a DBA in mind, let’s explore the different sources and types of scholarships available to help fund your studies. Broadly speaking, scholarships can come from either academic institutions themselves or private external organizations.


Institutional Scholarships

Many graduate business schools that offer DBA programs also provide internal scholarship support. These may come in the form of:

Merit-Based Awards – Given based on factors like prior GPA, GMAT/GRE scores, references, and statement of purpose. Rewards top applicants.

Need-Based Grants – Consider financial need determination through FAFSA. Helps offset high costs for those who demonstrate need.

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Diversity Scholarships – Targeted support for students who enhance diversity in areas like gender, ethnicity, and nationality. Schools aim to increase inclusiveness.

Teaching or Research Assistantships – Part-time work such as tutoring, grading, or assisting faculty. Provides tuition remission and/or stipend in exchange for an on-campus commitment of 15-20 hours per week.

Schools like Harvard, Stanford, University of Southern California, and others offer some combination of the above annual awards. Amounts vary widely but can cover 20-100% of tuition depending on the program and individual qualifications. Be sure to check each business school’s financial aid website for application deadlines and requirements.

External Scholarship Possibilities

Beyond what any single school provides, numerous private organizations also offer scholarship money specifically for doctoral-level study. A sampling includes:

American Marketing Association – For those pursuing marketing research focus. Up to $5,000 per year.

Forest Products Society – For talented students from all backgrounds entering fields related to wood sciences. Awards $5,000-$15,000.

ICDHR Scholarship – International agency that supports diversity in HR and management worldwide. $5,000-$10,000 available.

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation – Exceptional financial need scholarship for high-achieving students in any field. Covers significant costs.

Delta Sigma Pi – Business fraternity scholarships for members studying accountancy, finance, management, etc. Varies in amount.

SMART Scholarship – Focuses on STEM-related research for national security purposes. Full education plus a stipend for a future work commitment.

The key is researching scholarships beyond just your targeted school to find additional funding that fits your goals, background, and intended area of study. Networking is also important – professional organizations may have scholarship listings that are not widely advertised.

Scholarship Application Process

Now that we’ve explored the types of available scholarships let’s cover some general best practices for the application process:

  • Start early – Most deadlines are 6-12 months before planned enrollment. This gives time for strong applications.
  • Craft compelling personal statements – Highlight strengths, knowledge of the proposed research topic, career goals, and fit for the scholarship’s mission. Use specific examples.
  • Ask for recommendation letters in advance – Give recommenders 4-6 weeks’ notice and provide helpful context. Select people who truly know your abilities.
  • Collect all required documents – Transcripts, test scores, resume or CV, proof of citizenship, etc. Scholarship applications are often detailed.
  • Keep organized application materials – Use checklists to ensure you include everything by the deadline. If you miss anything, your app may be disqualified.
  • Follow all guidelines and instructions precisely – From format style to word limits, pay close attention. Errors reflect poorly.
  • Follow up professionally if anything is missing – Courteously inquire if materials were received. Be diligent but not a pest.
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Following this application process will give your bid the best chance at success. Scholarship committees want to fund capable, motivated students – so present yourself in the most positive light across all required elements.

Comparing Scholarship Options

Once you’ve identified scholarship opportunities that match your background and goals, it’s wise to evaluate and compare the options. Some key factors to consider:

  • Award amount and duration – Annual totals and length of funding support (1-2 years usually)
  • Restrictions on the field of study – Eligibility depends on the proposed DBA research topic
  • Work commitments post-graduation – Some require you to work for affiliated companies/sectors
  • School fit – Make sure the targeted program accepts outside scholarships on your list
  • Renewal criteria – Minimum grades, progress checkpoints to keep receiving yearly awards
  • Application intensity – Page limits, essay prompts, and recommendation burdens vary

Weighing these aspects will help you maximize the scholarship that provides the best overall fit and value for your specific situation and timeline. Don’t hesitate to contact representatives for clarification if some of the award terms need explanation.

Perfecting Your Candidacy

While scholarships consider many factors outside your control, one area you have influence over is continuously enhancing your candidacy profile in the lead-up to applications. Here are a few additional tips:

  • Pursue DBA research previews – Publish conference papers, assist professors, build name recognition
  • Highlight relevant experience – Internships, career accomplishments, and leadership roles say you’re investment-worthy
  • Maintain high academic marks – A’s demonstrate your ability to succeed in advanced study
  • Craft objective statement drafts – Practice conveying goals clearly, edit based on feedback
  • Stay involved professionally – Memberships certification exams reflect commitment to growth
  • Consider extra credentials – Additional master’s courses enhance background for targeted topics
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The strongest applications result from candidates who go beyond the basic qualifications to build their case every step of the way during preparation. Scholarship committees notice extra initiative and passion for the chosen field of study.

Finalizing Your Business School List

Once you’ve researched the best scholarship options and enhanced your profile, it’s time to finalize target business schools. This is an important decision factoring in:

  • Program fit – Coursework, faculty expertise, and resources match your research interests
  • Ranking and reputation – Prestige impacts career and funding opportunities long-term
  • Cost of attendance – Scholarship awards may cover different amounts at each school
  • Location preferences – Relo expenses, support systems, environment, quality of life aspects
  • Application requirements – LSAT or other admission hoops may take time to complete
  • Program culture – Size, diversity, and student collaborative traits based on qualifying your options

Due to the investment required, it’s wise to craft a modest list of top 2-4 programs that are strong fits across academics and lifestyle needs. This focuses application efforts for the best results. Craft a variety to balance safety and reach schools, too.

Finalizing Your Funding Plan

With scholarship research and school evaluation complete, the final step is solidifying a financing plan to help fund your DBA journey. Key questions to answer:

  • How much will schooling cost after any scholarships are deducted?
  • How will the remaining balances be paid each term – personal savings, loans, additional aid?
  • What living expense funds are budgeted and sourced during studies?
  • What emergency contingencies are planned if costs increase or aid decreases?
  • Have you researched loan repayment options post-graduation?

Creating a spreadsheet budget with projected income and expenses brings clarity. Consult financial aid offices as needed for the most accurate cost forecasts. Back-up plans include part-time work and outside private loans if other relief options are exhausted. Proper planning calms financing fears so you can focus fully on your studies.

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