Purpose The purpose of this paper is to identify and discuss the drivers behind the rise and fall of the Australian Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and to assess its future. Design/methodology/approach Data covering the period 1993-2013 was sourced from the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training to provide a comprehensive analysis of the rise and fall of the Australian DBA. Findings In Australia, the DBA was introduced in 1993. In the first 11 years of the programme, enrolments increased from only nine candidates in 1993 to 1,505 candidates in 2004. However, by 2013, the number of candidates had fallen to 869 candidates. The authors argue that the principal rationale for the dramatic fall in enrolments points to the challenges and issues of managing overseas candidates by second tier and regional universities rather than a decline in the market per se. Practical implications The challenge for universities is to determine whether they can or are able to offer the DBA under a quality framework that requires academic rigour equal to the PhD. Originality/value This paper presents – for the first time – the most comprehensive description of trends in the Australian DBA programme from its inception to the present day. It also offers valuable insights and cautionary lessons for other countries thinking of introducing or expanding their current DBA programmes
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