The Practitioner Scholar

Doctor of Management Blog

Michael Fisher: First and Last

March 13, 2012 ·

This past week kicked off the last semester of my classroom work in the DM/PhD program. This made me think back on the past two and a half years to when this journey started and I realized that I had written several reflection papers that first semester. Reading these papers again, I had a few observations that I thought note worthy.

In that first reflection paper, I highlighted three observations that I made during the first residency: multidisciplinary studies, self-directed study, and the purpose of reflection. As most would expect from a DM program the curriculum ( spans a wide variety of disciplines ranging from collective action to complexity theory to global economics. This trend starts immediately with the first semester and continues throughout the program and also includes deliverables of qualitative and quantitative research projects. While we have spent significant amounts of time in the classroom discussing all of these topics we were and continue to be asked to explore our own interest. Often our research takes us into disciplines and topics that no course has prepared us for but the ability to teach ourselves is as important of a skill as grounded theory in qualitative research or regression analysis in quantitative research. While our time in the class draws to an end we can look back knowing that we are much broader and hopefully more critical thinkers but most importantly, in my opinion, is that courage and curiosity to pursue all the other knowledge that lays in our possible futures.

At this time again it is appropriate to reflect on reflecting. Two and a half years ago I wrote that “instead of either dismissing the EDM program for a couple of days in order to catch up on work and family obligations or immediately diving into the homework assigned for the next residency, this time spent thinking has given me an opportunity to bring the major concepts back into focus.” Unfortunately, I have never been one to keep a journal despite the genre of diaries and journals being one of my favorite for the first hand observations and unpolished narrative that it provides. And despite one of my former MBA colleagues keeping and later publishing his reflections from that pursuit ( I still not keep up with my reflections during this program. Perhaps my contribution can be the spark for someone else to pursue this endeavor of self reflection.

Michael Fisher is a Managing Director of AKF Partners (, an organization located in Fountain Hills, AZ that assists organizational teams resolve critical scale and availability issues by aligning organizational technology and product strategies with the needs of the business. He is also a student in the PhD in Management: Designing Sustainable Systems program at Case Western Reserve University and can be reached at

Tags: DM Reflections

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