Turbulent is a word that is often used these days to describe the current state of the world of international business. Executive managers are increasingly being called upon to find more creative or out-of-the-box solutions to deal with the complex business situations and challenges they face. To meet the demands of today's business world, many senior executives are undergoing doctorate-level study in order to further develop their analytical and research skills. 'Our doctorate in business administration programme (DBA) encourages students to deal with the challenges in the contemporary business world by becoming reflective practitioners. The programme is especially geared to fostering strategic creativity and the ability to lead change, make decisions, and enhance organisational effectiveness,' says Professor Edward Snape, associate vice-president of the DBA at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU). 'We provide our students with an opportunity to challenge themselves intellectually, to broaden and deepen their management knowledge, and to reflect on their own practice in the context of the latest research on management and business,' Snape adds. The HKBU DBA is a part-time programme that can be completed over a three- to six-year period. Taught courses are conducted through a series of lectures, internet-based learning, guest lectures, group discussions, action learning and case studies. Students are required to complete seven compulsory courses, eight professional development workshops and a thesis. Classes are normally scheduled in weekend face-to-face teaching blocks at the university's Kowloon Tong campus. 'The programme is delivered by experienced and highly-qualified School of Business faculty members who provide quality teaching and individualised supervision. Our highly selective intake and small programme size ensures that each DBA candidate receives individual support and mentoring,' says Snape. 'Our visiting faculty are academics from around the world who bring their distinctive experience and expertise to the programme. In addition to the formal curriculum, a unique series of value-added professional and research development workshops add a highly practical element to the programme.' The professional development workshops provide a forum for dialogue among academics, practitioners and students to discuss current issues related to organisational change, strategic issues and corporate governance. While courses and workshops on research methods and data analysis have been popular with past students, each year there is a growing interest in aspects of the programme that relate to corporate social responsibility and governance. Thesis preparation begins early in the programme, with each student being aligned with a principal supervisor and a secondary supervisor who will give advice and monitor his or her progress towards the final defence of the thesis, which usually takes between 18 months and two years to complete. 'HKBU's commitment to academic excellence and to personal development is very much a hallmark of the programme. It requires good educational preparation and a high level of commitment from students. We are always looking for applicants who are well prepared, have good time-management skills and are determined to advance themselves through rigorous research training,' explains Snape. To enter the programme, applicants require an MBA or a master's degree in business-related subjects, and more than 10 years' managerial or professional experience at a suitable level. Students who are not graduates of an English-language programme need a minimum TOEFL score of 550 or an IELTS score of seven. Shortlisted applicants are required to attend an admission interview conducted in English by a panel. The programme costs HK$428,000 payable in three instalments.