Faculty in the Daniels executive PHD

Daniels becomes the third university in the world to offer an executive PhD

Peter Tripp’s (EMBA 2018) LinkedIn profile is peppered with titles at the vice president, C-suite and principal levels for organizations ranging from nonprofits to HBO. This fall he was among an 18-person cohort of seasoned professionals with an average age of 47 who enrolled at Daniels and entered one one of three Executive PhD programs in the world—and the only one in a major metropolitan area. (The only others are offered at Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State.)

Launched in September 2018, Daniels’ first PhD program makes it possible for students to maintain their careers while also earning their doctorates in as little as three years (including two summers). “The market for doctoral education in business is growing,” explained Program Director Lisa Victoravich about the College’s decision to establish the Executive PhD. “In business schools, there is a demand for faculty who can do research and who have rich work experience. To earn a traditional PhD requires people to leave the workforce for four to six years, which creates a high barrier to entering academia.”

While some universities offer doctor of business administration degrees targeted to executives, Daniels opted for the PhD because of the additional rigor and prestige, according to Victoravich. “We give students the same rigorous research tools taught in traditional business PhD programs with the aim of applying these skills to solve the complex problems relevant to businesses in today’s competitive market.”

Accredited by AACSB, the Daniels Executive PhD’s blended program takes place both online and on campus. Its research-driven curriculum is designed to train veteran executives to understand, use and conduct business scholarship. Nine times during the first two years of the program, students travel to Daniels for all-day immersive classes on Friday and Saturday. Then each week, they connect for interactive video seminar discussions. Courses run the gamut from research methods and data analytics to ethical leadership (a hallmark of education at Daniels) and cross-disciplinary decision-making. Coursework culminates in a predissertation applied research practicum during which students work as a team to complete publication-quality research in an area of interest while working closely with a faculty member. In the final year of the program, students finish an independent dissertation with a faculty committee.

Daniels’ Executive PhD cohort consists of students mainly from Colorado with a handful commuting from Texas and the Northeast. Tripp, who lives in the Denver area, enrolled to “get smarter.” Having served in leadership roles for years, the newly minted researcher wants to explore ways to help organizations—and society—improve emotional intelligence. “I believe that EI is so important to career success,” he said. “You reach a certain level and your colleagues are all VPs and they are all smart in their area. You can never compete on domain, but how you navigate the politics is all about EI.”

On the phone during a class break, CPA Dawn Reed, who lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, explained that she chose Daniels’ doctorate program because of its quality, location and flexibility. Having fallen in love with teaching as an adjunct professor in the online Master of Accountancy program at Bay Path University, Reed plans to use her terminal degree to transition to academia.

“I’m loving being back in school,” she said. “And I love that in a few years, I can get a job to think about things and find answers. It’s a lot of work and a lot of time, but I’m really enjoying it.”

“I would like us to be looked at as the model Executive PhD around the world,” Victoravich said. “Europe has similar doctoral programs, but they require longer term residency sessions, which can be difficult to juggle for working professionals. The flexibility of our hybrid model will enable us to reach a much larger audience.”

For more information about Daniels’ Executive PhD program, visit the website or watch this video.