The Practitioner Scholar

Doctor of Management Blog

DM Alumni Reflections on the DM Experience [Part 3 of DM Alumni Study]

December 8, 2010 ·

When we asked alumni to look back on their time in the DM program, we received a wide range of responses, but inevitably their reflections took them back to the relationships they formed in the program – the relationships with the members of their cohorts and with faculty.

 

The cohort, in particular, received a good deal of attention in the interviews. The quality and diversity of backgrounds of the members of the cohort struck many immediately upon entering the program:  

 

What makes the case program what it is, is the quality of the cohort. When I was first introduced I was amazed at the quality of the person that was there.”

 

This was the group that DM alumni spent three years and hundreds of hours of discussion.  Relationships that were formed were strong, and a number of alumni credited the support from members of their cohort was critical to their completion of the program.

 

“The high point is the quality of the faculty and the peer group ? interesting people, hard?working, smart… I believe I learned as much or more from the peer group as I did from the profs.. .”

 

It is clear from the interviews that the quality of the faculty is critical to the DM experience. Faculty were praised for empowering and challenging the students and for opening their intellectual horizons.

 

“The instructors and teachers were committed and excited. Not what others have experienced with other schools ? lack of energy and such. I never experienced that in the program. I like the commitment… all of the instructors did a super job and the administrators were always available. They were all there to help you get through the program.”

 

In addition to the cohort and the faculty, the curriculum was also generally well-received.  The first year is particularly important because it excited and stimulated DM alumni in a way that is completely new to them. Many reported that the first year was one of the most intellectually expansive points of their lives. In the words of one alum:

 

“Year one was absolutely amazing … the intellectual stimulation was extraordinary. Like I’ve died and gone to heaven…  The first year was an intellectual high?point.”

 

Although the first year packed quite an impact on the alumni, many appreciated the expansive, cross-disciplinary elements of overall program.  The appreciated being “knocked” out of their “comfort zones.”

 

“Most of us were disciplinarily thinking and [the curriculum] forced you to walk through an entire environment that was replete with all of the subjects but that you could not afford to dally on any one subject for too long. Each one of those things left a mark so that I could remember where they were and go back to them."

 

Of course, there was a constant tension between the stimulation and the workload. DM alumni indicated that the DM program was an unbelievably busy period in their lives, and that they were not necessarily prepared for the scholarly workload. As one alumnus indicated “It was extremely stressful because all of us had full time jobs.” Some came expecting a similar workload to their masters experiences and they were surprised with the amount of work the program required.

 

“The Case program challenged us to work hard and work well. It wasn’t there to weed us out, but was not soft…. That’s the hallmark of a quality academic program. I was treated as a serious person.”

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Nicholas Berente is a former faculty member of the doctorate of management program (now an Assistant Professor with the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia).  Dr. Berente interviewed alumni from the first decade of the DM program.  This blog is the third of five parts based on those interviews. Part 1 addressed why DM alumni decide to pursue a doctorate and part 2 summarized their reasons for choosing the Case program. Subsequent blogs will address: (part 4) the impact of the program on their thinking and (part 5) the impact of the program on their careers.

Tags: DM Reflections

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