At Thomas Edison State University, students participating in their doctoral-level courses can expect rigorous academics, personal development, and the potential for career advancement. Earlier this month, alums gathered from the first cohort of TESU’s School of Business and Management’s Doctorate of Business administration to share their experiences with the program and what made them choose TESU.
On Saturday, December 3rd, alums gathered virtually and in person for the DBA’s inaugural Orientation, Research Symposium, and Networking event. At the event, new and current students had the opportunity to hear from the original 2022 cohort regarding their experiences. Throughout the sessions, the program’s scholar-practitioner instructional model was highlighted as an innovative and practical model that could be applied professionally and offers students flexibility in the topics they pursue through their research.
Per Mimi Lenyugha Nkwepo, Old Bridge native and current student, participating in TESU’s Doctorate of Business Administration program have provided her with a supportive and nurturing academic environment. Throughout the day, Nkwepo and other students had the opportunity to attend the symposium and breakout sessions to connect with other students and discuss their impressions of the program with one another. Per Mimi, “It always helps to hear what others at different stages of DBA program completion have to say.”
As a busy mom, Nkwepo has her hands full with two young sons, a full-time career as the Head of Talent Acquisition for Coach USA, and the DBA program at TESU. She also receives a $2,000 Dr. George A. Pruitt Endowed Scholarship. Throughout the day’s sessions, she had the opportunity to learn how other students successfully navigated the Scholar-Practitioner Field Project and discuss strategies and mindsets that contributed to their ultimate success. According to Nkwepo, “I never took a traditional path in my education. My graduate-level work occurred after I was married and running a household while working. I’m convinced that almost anyone can do it if I can do it. It comes down to putting in the time and work. The interactions with fellow students who bring diverse leadership perspectives to our online discussion assignments are priceless.”
The Doctor of Business Administration program is a unique curriculum designed with low-cost educational resources, personalized instructional delivery, and student support in mind. One of the program’s most appealing features is its flexibility – as a 48-credit hour online program, students can enroll in one 3-credit course per term distributed across consecutive 8-week terms to complete the 16-academic course sequence in 32 months. In addition, the culminating Scholar-Practitioner Field Project 3-course sequence can be completed in an 8-week course format.
Per the Dean of the School of Business and Management, Dr. Michael Williams, “The DBA program is a professional differentiator that turns out scholar-practitioners who thrive on confronting 21st-century global business issues as they advance in their careers or forge new professional pathways.” As many students are already in their careers, Williams noted that they could immediately apply the knowledge they learn in class to their everyday lives. By actively using these principles, students are better equipped to establish themselves as leaders in the workforce. Many students have seamlessly transitioned into the program after completing undergraduate and graduate-level programs.
We spoke with Dr. Williams regarding his perspective on the program and how it is already transforming lives. Williams discussed what makes the DBA program unique: “We have many students from almost every different profession, every walk of life. This idea of a Scholar-Practitioner Interdisciplinary Model invites a broad population from multiple disciplines. The Scholar-Practitioner piece means that you get a scholarly base in research, but you also get to apply it in the field.” Continuing to discuss the students they serve, Williams noted, “The students who come to us are typically leaders in their field. They want to get the scholar’s foundational skills to make their work environments meaningful and make the careers they’re involved in much more impactful.”
One of the many unique aspects of this DBA program is the cohort model that is utilized. Williams discussed its benefits: “This is a cohort-based environment. When students are admitted, we accept X number of students, and then they move together as a cohort. The doctoral experience is deeply personal – it is deeply intense, and not just being intense for intensity’s sake; it’s just the nature of the doctoral study. So this idea of a cohort, people coming together and working together, is critically important.”
Discussing how the students support one another, Williams stated, “This is critically important not only for the peer support that they get from one another, but they develop their own’ cohort culture’. As they move through [the program], students in that cohort get the same experience together. So much of the learning comes from fission and fusion in those groups because they’re always talking and engaging. Engagement is a powerful nucleus of knowledge, and it’s remarkable what comes back from these cohorts.”
As the students work through the program and collaborate, the cohorts develop remarkable and innovative new ideas to take their careers to the next level. Per Williams, “They don’t only go to class; they create the class. So even though the material is there, the mentors, all the ingredients are there – when the students get into the subject matter, they take this stuff to places where it’s unbelievable. These folks are so innovative and advanced that we’ve often learned from them.” When TESU provides students with all the tools they need, they are empowered to make waves in their careers and the world around them.
With a high-quality, low-cost degree program, it is no wonder that students trust TESU for an education. According to Nkwepo, “I was already familiar with Dr. Williams and the school’s academic model as a TESU 2014 Master of Science in Human Resources Management (MSHRM) program graduate. So when I found out about the DBA’s courses and structure, I was excited to enroll because of my existing comfort level and familiarity with TESU’s staff.”
To keep this innovative program accessible, grants from the Thomas Edison State University Foundation have been utilized to develop low- or no-cost course materials for students enrolled in the program. If you’re interested in learning more or potentially enrolling, please visit tesu.edu/dba. Additional details regarding the TESU School of Business and Management can be found here: tesu.edu/business. Questions may be directed to TESU at (609) 777-5680. If you’re ready to take your education and business expertise to the next level, TESU has all the tools you need to succeed.