ASSIGNMENT OF PRINCIPAL ADVISOR AND CO-ADVISOR
DBA candidates will be assigned two advisors. The first is the Principal Advisor, assigned by Silpakorn University, and the other is a Co-Advisor, from the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Their role is to guide, counsel, and coach the DBA candidate during their entire DBA journey. These advisors will take a leading role to ensure the required academic standards are met.
Firstly, a Co-Advisor will be appointed by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts to the DBA candidate, usually shortly after having attended the Joint Study Weeks Lucerne/ CAS International Management. The Co-Advisor will guide and support the candidate to develop the draft of a Research Prospectus (see below) for submission to Silpakorn University. This ensures that the candidate is prepared for the Joint Study Weeks Bangkok. Usually, the DBA candidate will meet with the Co-Advisor twice in the time period between attending the Joint Study Weeks Lucerne and the Joint Study Weeks Bangkok.
Secondly, a Principal Advisor will be appointed by Silpakorn University to the DBA candidate within 30 days of the submission of the draft of the Research Prospectus (see below). During the Joint Study Weeks Bangkok, the first meeting between the appointed Principal Advisor and the DBA candidate will take place to discuss the draft of their Research Prospectus.
Phase 1: Research Prospectus
The Research Prospectus is the initial stage in the DBA program. To begin, a DBA candidate will independently develop a first draft of their Research Prospectus – to be submitted 45 days prior to attendance of the Joint Study Weeks Bangkok – advised and coached by the Co-Advisor. During and after the Joint Study Weeks Bangkok, the candidate will work on, and finalize their Research Prospectus, then mainly being advised and coached by the Principal Advisor.
The Research Prospectus will outline the candidates’ topic within the field of business administration, as well as the proposed methods of research to be applied, i.e., qualitative study, quantitative study or mixed-methods. The draft of the Research Prospectus should be about 10-15 pages and must cover the following topics:
- Introduction / Rationale / Problem Statement
- Proposed research gap(s) / Research Problem
- Annotated bibliography of the relevant literature
- Proposed research methodology (e.g., qualitative / quantitative / mixed-methods)
- Significance of study / Managerial impact
During or after the Joint Study Weeks Bangkok, with the Principal Advisors’ guidance and support, the DBA candidate is required to submit the Final Research Prospectus to Silpakorn University. After approval of the Final Research Prospectus, by both the Principal Advisor and the Co-Advisor, DBA candidates are eligible to proceed to the next phase of the DBA program (Phase 2: Thesis Proposal, Qualifying Examination, and Thesis Proposal Defense).
Phase 2: Thesis Proposal, Qualifying Examination, and Thesis Proposal Defense
Completing this phase is crucial to proceed towards doctoral candidacy. DBA candidates are required to develop a Thesis Proposal and successfully complete two examinations which are: (1) Thesis Proposal Defense, and (2) Qualifying Examination (QE).
(1) Thesis Proposal
The Thesis Proposal is an outline of the proposed research to investigate a specific topic or problem within the context of business administration. It must demonstrate a clear and practical research methodology, rigorous academic discipline and show how it will contribute to the current status of knowledge in this field. The length of the Thesis Proposal should be about 50-60 pages and structured as follows:
- Problem statement / research gaps
- Research questions and research objectives
- Relevant theoretical or conceptual framework
- Literature review
- Research methodology (e.g., qualitative/quantitative/mixed-methods)
- Significance of study/Business impact
- List of references
- DBA candidates will develop their Thesis Proposal under the supervision and coaching of both advisors i.e., the Principal Advisor and Co-Advisor.
(2) Qualifying Examination - QE
The Qualifying Examination (QE) is conducted to ensure that the DBA candidate reaches the program’s academic standards and allows the candidate to demonstrate sufficient expertise and comprehensive understanding of the theories and domains of knowledge related to the area of the candidate’s Thesis. They must also validate the methodological strategies used as the basis for pursuing their research. Respective guidelines for the Qualifying Examination are
- the Qualifying Examination (QE) is administered by a three-person MSSU-DBA Qualifying Examination Committee appointed by MSSU.
- the Qualifying Examination is a ‘take-home’, written examination. DBA candidates will receive the QE questions within 30 days of the submission of their Thesis Proposal to MSSU. DBA candidates must answer the QE questions within 15 days of receiving them.
(3) Thesis Proposal Defense
The Thesis Proposal Defense will be conducted after the DBA candidate has successfully passed the Qualifying Examination (QE). This part of the assessment process consists of an oral presentation to the DBA candidate followed by questions from the DBA Thesis Proposal
Defense Committee. The DBA Thesis Proposal Defense Committee consists of five members, including the Chair, Principal Advisor, Co-Advisor, Internal examiner, External examiner. The DBA Thesis Proposal Defense Committee will consider the DBA candidate’s Thesis Proposal and prepare questions to be asked during the Thesis Proposal Defense. The Thesis Proposal Defense will be conducted via an online conferencing program set by the DBA Thesis Proposal Defense Committee. It usually takes approximately two – three hours.
After the completion of the two examinations (QE and Thesis Proposal Defense), DBA candidates can proceed to the next phase (Phase 3: Thesis and Thesis Oral Defense).
Phase 3: Thesis & Thesis Defense
The Thesis Development period can take up to three years (from the time of admission), with approved extensions possible up to a maximum of five years in total. The development of the Thesis is pursued under the guidance and counselling of both advisors, i.e., the candidate’s Principal and Co-Advisors. The research investigation of the Thesis must be based on a wide and diverse range of literature, theoretical frameworks, and a particular methodology appropriate to the Thesis. The resulting data from the research needs to be analyzed and interpreted showing clear results. The conclusions made need to be justified and contribute to expanding the current base of knowledge within its field – demonstrating tangible academic and business implications. The main Structure of the Thesis is:
- Introduction and background (rationale)
- Problem Statement / research gap(s)
- Research questions and objectives
- Relevant theoretical background
- Literature review
- Research design
- Findings and results
- Discussion of academic and business implications
- Conclusion, contributions, and recommendation for further research
- List of references
Once both advisors consider the Thesis is complete and appropriate for submission for Final Approval, the DBA candidate needs to apply for the Thesis Oral Defense. The DBA Thesis Defense Committee consists of five members, including the Chair, the Principal Advisor, the Co-Advisor, an Internal Examiner, and an External Examiner. The then following final Thesis Oral Defense will be conducted via the online conferencing program. It usually takes approximately three hours.
Within the period of three years after admission to Silpakorn University (with an extension to a maximum of five years), DBA candidates are required to publish two research articles derived from parts of their Thesis; this is a graduation requirement. DBA candidates must be the first author of these two research articles. Both articles are supposed to be published in recognized national or international journals according to the criteria of the Announcement of Office of the Higher Education Commission on Dissemination of Academic Papers. Recognized journals are listed in the following databases: Eric, JSTOR, MathSciNet, Project Muse, Pubmed, Scopus, the Thai Journal Citation Index (Tier 1 & 2), Web of Science (in SCIE, SSCI or AHCI only).
Since publication is one of the compulsory requirements of graduation, DBA candidates are required to submit evidence, which could include the published article or the acceptance of the editor confirming forthcoming publication.
Silpakorn University, as a public university in Thailand, celebrates the graduation ceremony at Sanamchandra Campus, Nakhon Pathom province, in November or December every year. It has traditionally been a Royal Ceremony graced by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, conferring the degrees to the graduates. All graduates are honored to participate in the Royal Graduation Ceremony and receive their degree from Her Royal Highness personally. All those attending the ceremony will be trained by staff of Silpakorn University with regards to the protocols and procedures. This would include 2-3 training and rehearsal sessions by each degree category and faculty. These rehearsal sessions will take place a week before the ceremony date and begin with the highest academic honors and Doctorate degrees. Special arrangements may be organized so that DBA graduates can minimize their stay prior to the ceremony. This also means that the DBA graduates will have to acquire/rent the appropriate gown to join the ceremony.
Alternatively, DBA graduates (from abroad) may receive their DBA certificate by mail service to their home address.