Program Structure | École des Ponts Business School

E-DBA Program Structure

How is the Executive DBA designed?

This unique E-DBA program was designed for professionals, effectively minimizing the time required away from work to attain a professional doctorate. The program can be completed in as little as 2 years, although most are expected to complete the program within three years.

Year one of the program is concentrated into four residential sessions – two full weeks and two half-weeks.

Learning Labs: A reflexive and interactive learning experience

The École des Ponts Business School has joined forces with Architects of Group Genius ( to co-design a doctoral experience that cannot be found elsewhere.
The program includes two learning labs. During these labs doctoral students explore the contours of the doctoral journey, define and explore their own “practice” (area of expertise), understand how to create “braintrusts” (groups of peers to support them through their journey), and identify the areas where their work can create the most value for their careers and society.
The first learning lab focuses on the “doctoral student experience” (the learning portion of the program), while the second learning lab focuses on the “doctoral candidate experience” (the thinking, researching, and writing portion of the program).
The overall approach that can describe the learning labs is a “meta-thinking” approach, which involves thinking reflexively about one’s one goals, objectives, expertise, career path and potential/desired impact. The learning labs also allow all doctoral students to gain important insight into the intended doctoral work of the other participants and lays the foundation for significant peer support throughout the program.

Research Method Modules: Helping thinkers to ground practice in theory

The research methods modules have been designed to ensure that practitioners are able to complement the experience acquired through their practice with the application of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed research methods. In other words, to ground their practice in a wide range of theoretical constructs, concepts, frameworks, best practices, as well as recent and seminal research.
From reviewing literature to designing and implementing various research survey methods (e.g. interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, statistical analysis, cross-sectional analysis) to testing to validity and statistical significance, these course modules are designed to ensure that the significance and value of the participant’s qualified and quantified practice are robust and respect the international rigors of the scientific method.
The research method modules are offered in a progressive manner from introduction to capstone, and for all intent and purpose should be taken in order. In addition, each research method course paves the way for a rapid completion of the E-DBA doctoral project. Each module requires a mini-version of the three elements of the doctoral project.
Once the learning labs and research modules are validated, the doctoral student officially becomes a “doctoral candidate”.

The E-DBA Project: Innovative in form, effective in timeframe

Following completion of the four research methods modules and the submission of a research proposal, the final requirement, prior to receiving the E-DBA, is writing three discrete research projects and defending them viva voce (orally) before a scientific committee.
The school has chosen an innovative E-DBA “dissertation” approach (see Figure 1 – the “E- DBA doctoral project”). E-DBA candidates typically choose to write three papers that together constitute the doctoral dissertation experience. Each paper is supervised and vetted by an appointed dissertation faculty, who “mentors” each doctoral candidate through the process. One of three papers must be of publishable quality and intended for publication in a respected (listed) journal following an established peer-review process. In order to satisfy the doctoral requirement, the paper must be deemed “of publishable quality”, based on generally-acceptable international standards, by the E-DBA Scientific Committee.


The program has been designed to enable the majority of participants to complete the program within three years. The minimum time estimated to complete the program is two years for special cases (PhDs, PhD ABDs, DBAs, researchers, transfer students, …) and the average expected duration for busy working professionals is 5 years. The maximum duration allowed is 7 years.

Tuition covers the first four years of courses and doctoral supervision. At the end of the fourth year, ungraduated participants will be asked to confirm their commitment via a maintenance of matriculation fee. Any request for exemption to the duration policy must be discussed with the E-DBA Program Director.


While the learning labs and research modules are in English, and require business-level English proficiency, in order to encourage a multicultural approach to the E-DBA program and broaden the scope of participants and program output, the three doctoral papers may be written in the language of the doctoral candidate’s choice, as long as they are accompanied by official translations of the original work into English.
Generating papers in a wide range of languages will facilitate the publication of many doctoral papers and ensure their inclusion in the École des Ponts Business School International Case Study Center (forthcoming), and École des Ponts Business School Practitioner Journal (forthcoming in the second year of the E-DBA program).


The Executive DBA program delivered by Ecole des Ponts Business School is accredited by AMBA, the International Associaltion of MBAs.

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