The Practitioner Scholar

Doctor of Management Blog

Reflections of a Graduating Doctor of Management

May 7, 2010 ·

The Doctor of Management (DM) process begins with the recruiting and/or screening of experienced executives who have a diversity of interests in achieving an advanced education in the field of management.  The primary premise for the program curriculum is to close the gap between scholarly theory and practical management knowledge.  The program takes a very interesting approach toward bringing practicing executives into the world of scholarly research and then back again into practical applications.  Through monthly residencies of two-to-four days, DM candidates absorb scholarly knowledge in two directions: First through a series of seminars covering a diversity of subjects from the abstract (e.g., philosophy, ethics, culture and leadership compassion) to the factual (e.g., the industrial revolution, political influences, and economic indicators); and second, the candidates attend a separate series of seminars aimed at building from the ground up a working knowledge of theoretical foundations and research methodologies. 

Through the abstract to factual seminars, I learned several important lessons.  The program's selection of topical journal articles and books opened my eyes to an abundance of deep and broad scholarly thinking that goes well beyond any prior experiences.  With the tools available through the internet today, I found that almost any subject interest is searchable and accessible to anyone willing to pay for the access rights.  In simple terms,  even with a bachelors and two masters degrees under my belt, the availability of scholarly knowledge and theory that was made available to me was several orders of magnitude beyond anything I had previously experienced.  The ability to search and access the most advanced studies on any subject of interest is a learning experience that I will utilize the rest of my life.

From the program's research processes direction, I was driven to experience first-hand the challenges and methodological rigor associated with developing a research question, conceptual model, and developing and conducting both a qualitative and quantitative study applying survey instruments and structural equation modeling methods.  I can think of no better way of learning the challenges of developing scholarly works than by personally struggling through these methods and being held to rigorously high standards similar to other doctorate program.  Through this challenging learning experience, not only have I developed the basic skills to create scholarly work, but more importantly, the ability to discern good scholarly work from bad and to confidently challenge works deemed inferior. 

Overall, the DM program is all that I wanted and more.  The daily exposure to Case Western professors, who are some of the top scholars in their fields, was a phenomenal personal experience.  The interactions and discussions among professors and DM cohorts that occurred during each seminar was invaluable and leaves me at the conclusion of the program to want more.  As for recommendations for improvement, I am left wondering if the difficulties I experienced at selecting a subject, developing a conceptual model and identifying an appropriate advisor, couldn't have been better facilitated by the program directors.  In the end, I believe I would have made more timely progress if I had chosen a research subject in which I had extensive practical experience.  Because I did not choose wisely, I found myself behind those that were working in a field they already knew well- even without the theoretical foundations that they absorbed later in the process.  For someone who had absolutely no prior research experience, choosing an advisor and knowing how to use him or her was a frustrating experience that I believe could have been better facilitated by the faculty.  As I found out too late, the timely selection, acceptance, and understanding of the interactive processes associated with an advisor is critical to the timely completion of almost all of the necessary activities leading to program completion.  With all that said I am deeply grateful for all the help and professional conduct by program leaders and am completely satisfied with both the efforts demanded and results experienced.

Don E. Teague (DM 2010) has over 27 years of production operations experience leading employees in the design, manufacturing and logistics support of military and commercial aerospace products.  During his career, Mr. Teague has implemented best manufacturing practices, business processes, Lean initiatives and employee involvement teams across multiple production programs and manufacturing sites.   

Tags: DM Reflections

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