Fighting corruption across the globe is an enormous challenge, yet that’s precisely what motivates Derek Ricke, an Executive PhD student in the Daniels College of Business.  

With funding from the Daniels Alumni Advisory Board (AAB), Ricke recently attended the International Anti-Corruption Conference in Washington, DC, a biannual conference hosted by Transparency International. Experts from government, private and nonprofit institutions gathered at the conference to discuss the current state of efforts in fighting corruption. While in attendance, Ricke met with academic and industry professionals and discussed his doctoral work, increasing the likelihood that his research will produce results to help move the industry forward.  

Providing opportunities that fuel burgeoning careers was the goal of the Daniels Alumni Advisory Board when they established the Alumni Advisory Board Endowed Scholarship. Made possible through gifts from its members—which include MBA graduates and undergraduates alike—the endowed scholarship provides professional development funds for Daniels students. It was endowed in 2021 with gifts from the AAB. The endowment currently stands at over $70,000, and the board aims to continue growing the fund to provide greater impact. 

Derek Ricke receives the AAB Scholarship at the 2022 Daniels Dean Circle event.

Derek Ricke receives the AAB Scholarship at the 2022 Daniels Dean Circle event.

“We decided to make this scholarship about professional development because we saw an opportunity to help students pivot into their careers,” said Jackie Battista (MBA 2010), a member of the AAB. 

One of the first students to receive the AAB Scholarship, Ricke’s background is impressive. Originally from Medicine Lodge, Kansas, Ricke is a West Point grad, and an Army veteran, with an MBA from UCLA and an associate’s degree in Mandarin. His PhD is focused on mitigating corporate corruption.  

“I’m pursuing a PhD in business and looking to better understand corruption in the corporate environment and how firms can leverage the ideas of leadership, ethics and corporate culture to better prevent corruption within their own organization,” Ricke explained.

In addition to scholarship funding for conferences and other professional development opportunities, the AAB connects students with likeminded alumni who can help them in their careers. 

“There is a group of alumni that stands as a support system for our students and wants them to succeed,” said AAB member David Cable (MBA 2006). “Beyond the tangible assistance of the scholarship, we want to give students the sense that they’re part of a bigger network.” 

Advancing students’ career opportunities is a central element of DU’s 4D Experience. Each student’s 4D Experience is unique, providing opportunities for intellectual growth, character growth, increased well-being, and opportunities to pursue careers and lives of purpose. Derek Ricke’s background and career objectives perfectly model the relevance of the 4D Experience. 

“Through the AAB Scholarship, students can pursue career preparation opportunities that otherwise might not be open to them,” said Vivek Choudhury, dean of Daniels College of Business. “I am grateful to the AAB for making these opportunities available to our students.”

During the scholarship’s first launch, 45 business students applied for funding, each with a strong case that was aligned with the purpose of the endowment. Awarding scholarships to such a pool of applicants would require that the endowment grow from $70,000 to over $2 million.  

“Students like Derek Ricke aren’t an exception at Daniels,” argued Jackie Battista, “which is why we want to award AAB Scholarships to as many students as possible. That’s our goal: giving more each year, seeing the endowment grow, and being able to impact many more students’ lives and careers.” 

To learn more and to support students’ career preparation through the Alumni Advisory Board Scholarship Fund, click here.