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Why A Doctor of Business Administration Degree? Part 1

 

Thinking about starting a DBA degree program? Members of Saint Leo’s business faculty explain why they decided to pursue the degree.

Thinking about a DBA?Reasons differ for entering a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree program.

Some experienced business professionals choose to pursue DBA degrees because it opens doors to academic careers.

Others are preparing for advancement opportunities in their current jobs.

When faculty members in Saint Leo’s Donald R. Tapia School of Business Webster Baker, George Zagursky, and Sherrie Lewis decided to enter DBA degree programs, they were focused on elevating their credentials to move their consulting careers forward.

“The doctorate degree heightened my individual credential as a consultant,” said Dr. Baker.

“As a full-time consultant, I discovered that the DBA degree, combined with my technical experience, provided the necessary credentials and perspective valued by both government and commercial organizations,” said Dr. Zagursky.

In this post, Drs. Baker, Zagursky and Lewis share some of their business experience before transitioning to academia and their teaching careers at Saint Leo and what led them to DBA degree programs.

Editor’s Note: This article is part one of a two-part series.  You may also want to read "Why a DBA Degree? Part 2," "Taking a Closer Look at Saint Leo's DBA Degree Program," or "DBA Degree vs. PhD: What's the Difference?"


Webster Baker
Assistant Professor of Management

Describe your business experience prior to entering academia.

Webster Baker.Saint Leo UniversityUpon transition from eight years of military service during the Persian Gulf War, I was an independent consultant for small business entrepreneurs, primarily in the area of human resource management.

I moved on from there to law school where I took my first position in Miami assisting in the field of international business insolvency. From there, I moved on to a position of judicial clerk with the federal court in West Palm Beach.

Ultimately, I opened my own law firm in north Florida for a few years prior to entering academia with Saint Leo University.

What were you doing when you decided to enroll in a DBA degree program?

At the time I began my DBA, I was the director of quality management training for the 40th Flight Test Squadron, UASF.

Why did you decide to pursue a DBA degree?

The doctorate degree seemed to be the natural culmination of my business education and focus on the human aspect of effective business management.

Dissertation topic?

“Organizational Leadership: The Impact of Middle Management Competing Values on Overall Organizational Effectiveness.”

What impact did the DBA degree have on your career?

The DBA heightened my individual credential as a consultant allowing me to remain successful in my future endeavors.

 

George Zagursky
Professor Emeritus

Describe your business experience prior to entering academia.

George Zagursky.Saint Leo UniversityAt the time I entered academia as full-time faculty, I had over 20 years of domestic and international experience as an engineering manager, management consultant, trainer, and corporate evaluator for the government and commercial nuclear utility industry.

What were you doing when decided to enroll in a DBA degree program?

After a few years as a technical support and design engineering manager on several large commercial nuclear power plant projects, I was just entering the engineering and management consulting field. I was also teaching as an adjunct professor for several local colleges and universities as a side interest.

Why did you decide to pursue a DBA degree?

I had already completed my MBA to supplement my nuclear engineering undergraduate degree but felt that I wanted to learn more. As a full-time consultant, I discovered that the DBA degree, combined with my technical experience, provided the necessary credentials and perspective valued by both government and commercial organizations.

I also found that most engineering department problems were related to management issues, not technical ones.

The rank-and-file engineers generally knew how to do their jobs but frequently the engineering managers were ill prepared to create the right environment without additional guidance. Management and humanity courses are not a large part of a typical engineering curriculum and engineers tend to be very task, not people, oriented; this is not the ideal training or personality traits needed for managing groups of people.

My technical background, combined with my DBA, allowed me to bridge this gap and help others satisfactorily solve their problems.

Dissertation topic?

“Decision Making Using a Modified Delphi Approach (i.e., An Anonymous Debate)”

What impact did the DBA degree have on your career?

Although consulting was very interesting and lucrative, I greatly enjoyed teaching at the college level. I therefore decided early on that I would eventually change careers and enter academia full-time.

After teaching for Saint Leo University for many years as an adjunct, I became very fond of the school, the students and its employees. When the opportunity arose, my DBA allowed me to accept a full-time faculty position at the Atlanta Center in 2001. My “side interest” became my vocation and I have not looked back ever since.

 

Sherrie Lewis
Associate Professor of Management

Describe your business experience prior to entering academia.

Sherrie Lewis.Saint Leo UniversityTen years of management experience, four years of training and development experience.

What were you doing when decided to enroll in a DBA degree program?

I had considered another degree. After taking a few courses in other disciplines, I realized that management courses were more interesting than any other subjects I'd taken.

Why did you decide to pursue a DBA degree?

I began teaching part-time and realized that I liked the students and was passionate about teaching management.

Dissertation topic?

“Distance Education & Management Students”

What impact did the DBA degree have on your career?

I was able to get more responsible corporate positions and consulting work.

Where would you like to go with a DBA degree?

Image Credit: ÁWá

See related stories:

DBA Degree vs. PhD: What's the Difference?

Taking a Closer Look at Saint Leo's DBA Degree Program

Why A DBA Degree? Part 2

Saint Leo Launches First DBA Degree Cohort


 

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Comments

I am considering applying to the DBA Program and I appreciated the feedback provided by the professionals in this post.
Posted @ Monday, September 23, 2013 11:43 AM by William (Bill) Branch
Glad you found the post helpful, Bill. If you need more information, you can contact Camille Clark, who is the enrollment counselor for the DBA program. You can reach her directly at (352)588-5807 or Camille.Clark@saintleo.edu. You can also apply online at http://online.saintleo.edu/applynow. Good luck!
Posted @ Monday, September 23, 2013 11:50 AM by Mary Beth Erskine
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