The Practitioner Scholar

Doctor of Management Blog

Why do DM Students Choose Case? [Part 2 of DM Alumni Study]

November 8, 2010 ·

As part of our five-part series of blogs based on interviews with alumni from first decade of the Weatherhead DM program, this blog summarizes some of the reasons those alumni gave for choosing Case.


Of course, there was no single factor that alumni offered for their decision to join the Weatherhead DM program.  Alumni typically offered a combination of reasons. First and foremost in many of the interviews, however, was the point that the school is accredited with a strong reputation – it was imperative for many alumni that they attend a rigorous and well-respected program. Because Weatherhead’s was the pioneering program of its kind in the U.S., many business school deans from around the country were familiar with the Weatherhead program, understood its distinctive merits, and recommended the program.


A number of alumni insisted that it be a quality program with a good reputation. One indicated that she did not want to “buy” a degree, but instead earn it. Many alumni insisted that they chose it because the program was truly rigorous and intellectually challenging. Some contrasted the Weatherhead program to “light” executive programs that abound:


“I chose Case because of the reputation. Other programs were “degree mills.” I wanted some cache, if you will.” (GB)


Another reason many chose Case was because of the practical, cross-disciplinary focus. As one executive alumnus indicated, “I never made a monodisciplinary decision in my life.” (KR) The Weatherhead DM program is intentionally cross-disciplinary and crafted for executives with a great deal of experience. The curriculum is not an extension of MBA education, per se, but rather a mind-opening integrative experience intended to inform practice. One alumni commented on how he almost gave up looking for a practice-focused doctorate until he heard about the Weatherhead program:


“All schools were focused on problem of theory ? not practice! I spoke with several universities and almost gave up and my last call was [a prestigious Southeastern university] and the assistant director said he came from Weatherhead… then I called a retired executive vice president about Weatherhead and he said that it is the “Mecca of applied research studies.”(EA)


Further, many indicated that the quality of both the Case faculty and the quality of the members of previous cohorts were testaments to the strength of the program.


Beyond the rigor, reputation, and cross-disciplinary, practical nature of the DM program, many indicated that key reasons they chose Case included the combination of three practical factors: (1) it enabled them to continue working full-time; (2) they could complete the program in 3 years; and (3) it was conveniently located. Each of these were particularly important, because most DM alumni indicated that preserving time was critically important to their busy and accomplished lives. The Case program provided a unique way for these alumni to continue accomplish something special while at the same time balancing the many priorities that they juggle in their daily lives.



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 second of five parts based on those interviews. Part 1 addressed why DM alumni decide to pursue a doctorate. Subsequent blogs will address: (part 3) their reflections about the program, (part 4) the impact of the program on their thinking, and (part 5) the impact of the program on their careers.



Tags: Faculty Perspectives

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