I just returned from the 2010 Academy of Management (AoM) Annual Meeting in Montreal, Canada. The Weatherhead School of Management's Doctor of Management (DM) alumni and students overall had 17 paper presentations and won 3 best paper awards in three different divisions. Their presentations were well received and deemed both rigorous and relevant--demonstrating that students of the DM Program span the boundaries of practice and academia and engage in management-related practitioner scholarship that is theory driven, uses rigorous and credible research methods, and is at the same time well anchored to the problems and realities of management. One of the best and most rewarding experiences for DM faculty who attended the meeting was the pride, confidence and enthusiasm that our students showed when they interacted with other management scholars and participated eagerly in the debates in symposia, paper sessions and design workshops at AoM.
The AoM Meeting included a couple of sessions that dealt with the status and challenges in doctoral education--some of them directly addressing the issues of educating "practitioner scholars" in "executive doctoral" programs, or other various programs that are specifically targeted to executives who wish to go beyond their Master's education to receive a terminal degree. Representatives from top tier schools, including some deans and faculty, criticized these programs, claiming a lack of rigor and academic quality. When enlightened about the research intensity, relevance, and quality of the DM Program, and when informed about the high number of papers presented at this year's Meeting by DM students and alumni (17 papers accepted leading to an acceptance rate of c.a. 90% within the DM Program), they expressed incredible surprise at this remarkable achievement. Their reaction is important because it shows that, although recognition of the DM Program is gaining ground, the Program continues to be an "unknown gem" in many areas of the academic world. We have to effectively promote the Program more broadly so that the "big school" deans and faculty will appreciate the DM Program and the impressive contribution of wisdom and expertise our alumni and students make to the academy.
As Director, I am taking steps to actively engage in getting the word out about our "unknown gem." I do hope that our alumni and current students will do the same. Comments, such as those I pointed out from deans and faculty at the Meeting, illustrate that often simple stereotypical assessments of executive doctoral programs are made. A common thought is that all of these programs are the same, as if all MBA programs or MD programs are alike. With this in mind, we need to spread the word to both the worlds of academia and practice that the DM Program is not only rigorous and challenging, but that it also meets all the criteria of a high-quality doctoral program focusing on research and the generation of new knowledge that matters in management.
I look forward to hearing comments from DM Program alumni and students about their experiences at AoM this year, your experience in the Program, and your ideas about the status and marketing of our program.
Director, DM Program