Program Structure | École des Ponts Business School

Executive DBA Program Structure

How is the Executive DBA designed?

Our unique E-DBA program was especially designed for full-time working professionals! We’ve had at heart to maximize learning while effectively minimizing the time required away from home and work.

The program is separated into two phases:

Year 1: Doctoral Student Phase

The course work is spread over four one-week residentials: Research Methods, Learning Labs, and Writing Labs.

Year 2 and following: Doctoral Candidate Phase

The second and third years of the program are dedicated to Doctoral Research and the writing of the Doctoral Project. At the end of this phase, doctoral candidates are invited to defend their research in a Viva Voce (oral defense). Upon validation of the Doctoral Project and a successful Viva Voce, doctoral candidates are awarded the E-DBA degree.


Curriculum Overview

The curriculum of the Executive DBA is designed to equip you with the methodologies of applied reasearch and help you ground your practice in theory. You will also need to make sense of your new skills and think strategically on the expertise you want to be recognized for. The program integrates three unique elements that work together to help you develop your thought leadership in your own  professional space.

1. The Research Method Modules

In this program, we don’t teach you business, we teach you applied research.

On Year 1, you will participate in four Research Method Modules. They are designed to help you ground your practice in frameworks, concepts, models and research. They ensure that your work is robust, significant and respects the international rigors of the scientific method.

These modules are highly structured. With a lock-step deliverable process, they bring you closer, step-by-step, to the advancement of your doctoral project – even before you officially start your research.

2. The Labs, a reflexive and agile learning experience

To succeed in your Executive DBA, you will need to put in hard work and self-discipline. At École des Ponts Business School, we believe that our role is not only to train you, support you in your doctoral journey and assess the quality of your final thesis. We mean to inspire you, help you connect to your deeper motivations, and make sense of your efforts.

The program starts with a Learning Lab, led by Maurizio Travaglini, the founder of Architects of Group Genius. The Learning Lab brings doctoral students to think critically about what they want to achieve with their E-DBA. Optional Learning Lab Extensions are offered yearly throughout the program, to help doctoral candidates maximize their impact on the business community.

The Doctoral Writing Labs are designed to help doctoral students concretely progress toward the completion of their papers. Participants are guided step-by-step in these learning-by-doing workshops. Doctoral candidates can attend up to two Doctoral Writing Labs per year.

The first year of the Executive DBA ends with a Futures Literacy Lab, led by Riel Miller from UNESCO. This Lab equips participants with an effective way to think about the future – their own and especially that of their sector/industry/activity. Participants leave with a fresh view on their research objectives and ensure that they effectively address the emerging future of their area of expertise.

3. An E-DBA project in three papers, for maximum impact!

The school has chosen an innovative E-DBA “dissertation” approach. E-DBA candidates typically choose to write three papers that together constitute the doctoral dissertation:

  • An applied research article,
  • A teaching case,
  • An embedded case study.

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 considered of publishable quality and intended for publication in a respected journal following an established peer-review process.

We increasingly recommend a Book Format doctoral project in which there is a thematic link between the three doctoral research papers to which an introduction and conclusion are added.



The labs and research modules are conducted in English and require business-level English proficiency.

Ecole des Ponts Business School encourages a multicultural approach to the E-DBA program. To broaden the scope of participants and program output, the three doctoral papers may be written in the language of your choice. The condition is that, if a paper is not written in English, you will need to submit an official translation of the original work into English.


The program can be completed in three years, although most doctoral students are expected to complete the program within four years. The minimum time estimated to complete the program is two years for special cases (PhDs, PhD ABDs, DBAs, researchers, transfer students, …) and 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.

Deegree and Accreditation

Upon graduation, successfull candidates are conferred the degree of “Executive Doctorate of Business Administration” from Ecole des Ponts Business School and Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC, alaso known as Ecole des Ponts ParisTech).

The program is accredited by AMBA, the most selective accrediting body for business schools globally. Ecole des Ponts Business School is a proud member of the Executive DBA Council (EDBAC).



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