In 2008, I decided to pursue a doctoral degree and started investigating the educational programs that would allow me to stay employed fulltime while attending a top-notch academic program. I discovered a variety of traditional, online and hybrid doctoral programs aimed at busy professionals. I evaluated all of them and quickly narrowed my options to three. Out of the five programs that made the cut, I decided to apply to three of them and got accepted in two. Then I had to make the final choice. And that is a choice that I will never regret now that I have graduated and successfully transformed my life. I selected the Doctor of Management program at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) because of its strong and unmatched value proposition. Let me discuss that further:
- Busy professionals represent a very attractive target for educational institutions. Programs are popping up every year offering new EDBA’s and EDB’s for example. The DM program at CWRU have existed for over 18 years and hundreds of graduates have successfully completed the programs, have published papers and books, and are still very active in conducting academic research. The longevity of the DM program meant for me that I could contact alumni to get support and guidance as well as to build on some of the work they published. It provided a sense of comfort to know that over 150 people graduated from this prestigious institution! Going to alumni reunion is a real pleasure. We are a family and I truly enjoy reconnecting with all of them.
- The DM program is a management program with a focus on design and sustainable systems. As such, the program is not aimed at studying or solving business problems. The program exists to conduct human- and organization-centered research solidly anchored in the practice of engaged scholarship. After 20 years in business, the last thing I wanted to do is to study business. I wanted to learn more about management and design theories so that I could continue my personal transformational journey. And so I did! I finally was able to learn a lot about how human beings and organizations operate. I could connect the dots between my strong business experience and management theories. It suddenly made sense!
- The DM program creates practitioner-scholars in their respective field of research. The program is set-up to embrace the reality of managerial practices with the robustness of academic research. I never knew I could write. The program taught me to write for both practitioners and scholarly outlets. Over the past 5 years, I am privileged to have published over 30 papers and am working on my third book. Who would have thought? I was the king of bullet points! Now I cannot stop writing.
- The DM program offers a blend of content classes (leadership, design, culture & politics for example) and research classes aimed at raising the participants’ intellectual capital as well as developing best-in-class researchers. I was personally enriched by learning the foundation of design theory going back to great philosophers. I was able to interact with some of the best thinkers in the field of value, design, organization behaviors, and management. I also learned by the peers in my cohort. The variety of research topics and the class interactions allowed me to learn from various fields of research.
- Lastly, having graduated from the program, I can tell now that this was a personal and human transformational process. The DM program changed my life. First, I made lifetime friendships with my cohort peers as well as with staff and faculty. Second, I am not the same person in 2014 that I was in 2009 when I joined the program. I am more curious, more interested in building good arguments, more fascinated by the power of good research. Third, I have decided to leave the corporate world to pursue a career in writing, teaching and researching. This is what I love and the program equiped me to be able to do it and make a living while doing it. Finally, learning about mindfulness, design, love, and human interactions made me a better person. I aim to make a difference in the world by educating others. I am also a better father to my son, Lorenzo, who now sees more of me.
If you are in the market for a doctoral program, I strongly encourage you to consider the Doctorate of Management program at CWRU. Talk to students, to alumni and visit the school. You will quickly discover the strength of its value proposition. There is no other program like it. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to learn more about my experience and how it changed my life.
Stephan Liozu, PhD
PhD in Management: Designing Sustainable Systems Class of 2013
Weatherhead School of Management
Case Western Reserve University