Adam Goldman When he started researching different academic programs in early 2019, he had no idea what a Doctor of Business Administration was. After spending most of his career in human resources, he became interested in consulting and teaching and eventually stumbled upon the DBA program. University of Missouri-St. Louis
“Human resources people who are good at making data-driven decisions or analyzing things generally have a good reputation,” he said. I started researching it and found out that DBAs are a thing and there are different levels of certification that programs have. UMSL is an AACSB-accredited program, narrowing the pool and putting them in a pretty small group of programs. I looked at UMSL and other universities and finally chose UMSL because of the recognition but also the faculty and staff here.
Goldman, who graduated in May of this year, flew in from Dallas last week to meet the program’s 13 new cohorts for a welcome dinner and orientation event. Launched in 2017, the three-year cohort-based program is Missouri’s first and only AACSB-accredited DBA program offering a research focus in all areas of business administration. He is also a member of the Executive DBA Council, an international organization of which Ekin Pellegrini, founder of the UMSL DBA program, recently served as president.
The UMSL DBA program offers a flexible format with two weekend trips to campus for face-to-face interaction with faculty and other students. In its first few years, it welcomed students from all over the country, including Alaska, Arkansas, California, Montana, and Tennessee.
Mark Franz, who worked at Anheuser-Busch for 22 years before joining the trade association and earned a master’s in information management from Washington University in St. Louis, said he looked at several DBA programs before finally choosing UMSL. He was drawn to the program because of its AACSB accreditation, as well as its focus on certain subject areas, such as information systems.
Ananda Jayaraman, who has worked in various roles in the IT industry for the past 15-plus years, began to feel stagnant in her current role as a project manager. As an emerging empty-nester, she had some extra time on her hands. After sharing her situation with some of her good friends who were members of the UMSL 2024 DBA team, she felt that the program could give her a leg up in the field, especially when it comes to leadership.
“They were talking to me about this program; He got my attention and I am here now,” she said. “My personal roadmap for my career growth in the next five years is to become a C-level executive, so I hope to do that in three years. I’m excited about networking and going back to school. It has been 21 years for me, so it was a long time, and academics were not the same.
of Zffert & Associates Inc. CEO Jeffrey Promnitz is also returning to school after several years as a member of the new DBA team. Promnitz, who teaches as an adjunct faculty member in UMSL’s Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, said his colleagues in the College of Business Administration inspired him to pull the trigger on enrolling in the DBA program.
“The meet and greets before and the direction here, it’s totally encouraging,” he said. “The staff and faculty make you feel really welcome and energized and I think those are really big things that motivate people. You don’t feel like a stranger. For me, it’s about enrichment and knowing that I can take what I think I’m already good at to the next level. In business, with the goal We always talk about how do you compare? How are you compared to last time? And the most important thing to me is how are you compared to what you can do? And that’s what I really appreciate here: I know I’m kicking ass on those two, but I know I can still do more. That hunger, That thirst – that’s what makes me happy.
Francesca Ferrari, director of DBA program administration, said many students often feel a little overwhelmed the first time they arrive on campus. The orientation is designed to inspire and motivate them.
“For orientation, we give our students all the tools they need to be successful and we have an alumni group that welcomes the students to cheer them on,” she said. “Generally, students are like, ‘Oh my goodness, what am I getting into?’ And then, ‘Yes, it’s possible. We’re the product. We’ve survived.’ In addition to staff and faculty, DBA students have happy students jumping in and supporting them. This is a doctoral program; you need a village to do it.
On Friday, the new DBA team heard from Goldman, as well as DBA students Scott Morris and Honey Zimmerman.
Morris, who was recently named director of UMSL’s newly formed Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, will retire from corporate life in January 2022 to begin a second career as a college professor. He looked at several different DBA programs and finally chose UMSL after having an open discussion with his wife and Pellegrini about the interest in the program, which they learned from their neighborhood life.
“As I became more exposed to the faculty, before I joined the team, I felt a sense of community and that was something I wanted to be a part of,” he said. “What attracted me was the sense of community, the fact that they were approachable and that I didn’t stand out at 50. Then I just started as soon as I got into the program. Absolutely fell in love with the place. Everyone is very honest and very loyal. It is a perfect society. They pour into the students as much as they pour into everything they do. I am now in love with the entire UMSL environment. I went to Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business for my MBA, and I stack the graduate programs here with the best of the best. It was great.
Zimmerman, an assistant professor of supply chain management at Western Illinois University, graduated in 2021 as part of the second cohort to go through the program. As a mother of four young children with a full-time job, she felt the DBA program was more realistic for her than a PhD program, and she appreciated the emphasis on practitioner-oriented research as opposed to theoretical research. Zimmerman also enjoys the networking provided by the program and continues to connect with faculty, including her graduate chair, and meet in person with members of her group.
“Besides the degree itself, a lot of it is just the lasting relationships you build,” she said. “I graduated two years ago. But I still talk to my classmates. Another great thing is that the program is AACSB-accredited. I teach supply chain at an AACSB school, so I wanted to make sure I had resources. Although I haven’t taken many supply chain courses, I know there is supply chain faculty that I can use as a resource if I need to. Before I decided, I went down and met all the faculty, and they were down to earth and easy to talk to, and I knew it was a good fit.