Doctorate in Business (IS concentration) vs Computer Science (business analytics concentration)

Hi All,

After getting my undergrad in Environmental Science, I started my career as a lab technician with an environmental consulting firm and over the next decade or so worked my way up to a senior management position. I recently returned to school and earned my (AACSB-accredited) MBA, and want to continue my education with an emphasis on business analytics. Not knowing how competitive doctoral programs are, and now sure how my lack of a traditional business background would affect my chances, I applied to several doctoral programs. I applied both to business programs that will allow me emphasize information management and analysis, and to computer science programs that will allow me to emphasize business analytics and decision-making.

I have been accepted into the following programs

  1. DBA, the only opportunity to focus my education would be the research/dissertation component of the program (the entire cohort takes the same courses), at Rollins College (U.S. News #1 ranked regional university in the south)

  2. PhD in Business Administration,Information Systems concentration, at USF (Tampa)

  3. PhD in Computer Science, with an opportunity to focus on business analytics (but no specific concentration), will require satisfying quite a few prerequisites, at FAU (Boca Raton)

  4. PhD in Information Systems, emphasizing business analytics, will also lead to a Master in Management Information Systems part-way though the program, at Nova Southeastern (Ft Lauderdale)

I understand these are not top-tier colleges, and the above list is generally ranked in order of decreasing reputation. I have no interest in teaching. My end-goal is a senior-level analyst for a large corporation. I am leaning towards one of the last two options, despite their lesser reputation, because I feel 1) I will find the subject material more interesting, and 2) the combination of a MBA and doctorate in computer science will make me a very competitive candidate for the type of job I want.

With the Fall fast approaching, I need to make an immediate (if not sooner) decision.

I’d love to get feedback on these specific programs, as well as general thoughts on a doctorate in business administration versus a doctorate in computer science (in terms of general attractiveness to employers).

Thanks, all!!

It really depends on what your future career plans are like. If, as you say, the last two are more in line with your goals, then you should choose between them. As for deciding which one is best, look at what the faculty do in each program to see what kinds of dissertation opportunities might be available and choose the one that fits your interests best.

To be a senior-level analyst (if we’re thinking of the same kind of analyst) the last two programs would definitely be more appropriate. Computer/information science skills will be a lot more in-demand for those positions than business administration. Also, you said that the subject matter is more interesting.

After that, it kind of doesn’t matter, but it sounds like #4 will take less time because you have fewer prerequisites to satisfy. So that might be a good way to go. Also, if you earn an MS in MIS along the way, you can explore whether you actually need to finish the PhD to get the jobs you want.