Four Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) students at University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) have presented their research at the high-profile Engaged Management Scholarship (EMS) Conference in Calgary, Canada. The fall conference welcomed students and faculty from executive doctoral programs around the world, challenging them to reimagine the future of business.
The UMGC presentations ranged from research on competition among electric vehicle manufacturers to an examination of the impact of ROTC leadership-building efforts.
“The students were asked by me to participate in the EMS conference because we wanted to showcase the excellent academic achievements that are being obtained in the DBA program,” said Monica Sava, acting director of the DBA program and part of UMGC’s collegiate faculty. “It was wonderful that students were accepted at all different phases of the program for this conference.
“The applicants had some of the best research projects being conducted in the UMGC program at the time,” added Sava, who served as the manager and mentor of the students’ doctoral dissertation course.
Ravi Mittal, chair of UMGC’s Department of Business Administration, also attended the conference and assisted with the doctoral consortium.
Dennis Brice, who graduated with his DBA in June, did a virtual presentation of his research titled “Working Across Silos to Bolster Organizational Effectiveness: Managing Boundary Spanning Actors and Activities in Multinational Companies?” Brice is president and managing director at BMA America, and his research was supervised by Laura Witz, an adjunct professor in the DBA program.
“I have worked in multinational companies my entire career and have observed the highs and lows of boundary spanning. This is a relatively recent phenomenon and most research has been conducted in the last 30 years or so,” Brice explained. “The boundary spanning theme really began to emerge with the globalization wave beginning in the 90s.”
His research suggested that the people and activities at multinational companies are essential to organizational effectiveness. “I wanted to understand how best to engage and manage these assets for organizational benefit,” he said.
Another of the conference presentations—“Electric Vehicle Manufacturers and the Effort to Establish Competitive Advantage via Closed-Loop Supply Chains?”—was made by Jeffrey Gold, a UMGC adjunct professor in finance and accounting who is currently pursuing a DBA.
“I wanted to pick a topic that involved the intersection of business and the environment and something that had the potential to be impactful,” Gold said. “It is interesting that there was suddenly a lot of interest in supply chains because of COVID, so that felt like a good fit.
“My advice to those in a DBA program or any doctoral program is to pick a topic that you are passionate about,” Gold added.
Richard Milter, an adjunct professor, advised Gold on his dissertation.
The Sept. 7-9 conference, organized by the Executive DBA Council and University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, highlighted research focused on issues that included: “How prepared are we to address the escalating global issues that will demand our attention? What can leaders do to create prosperity for our companies, industries and regions? What is under individual control, and where should the companies and nations work collectively? How can we help the governments in driving our economies and societal wellbeing? What is the role of public and non-profit players in the future of business?”
Research by UMGC’s Clarissa Lang examined the impact of ROTC training on the development of leadership competencies among students in higher education institutions. Her presentation was titled “ROTC Verse Career Expectations in Leadership Skills: A Content Analysis.” Lang is director of veteran services at Frostburg State University. UMGC Adjunct Associate Professor Ray Muhammad mentored her during the research process for her dissertation.
“By exploring this area, Clarissa seeks to shed light on the specific competency-based skills acquired through ROTC training that connect with careers, both in the civilian and military sectors, after college,” Sava said. “The research questions considered in Clarissa’s study are timely and significant, especially in today’s dynamic and competitive job market.”
Meanwhile, an understanding of what makes business strategies effective underpinned the research of DBA candidate Jim Schleckser, who runs a CEO advisory business doing strategy consulting. “Factors Influencing Successful Strategy Implementation in Global Businesses” was the title of his dissertation, and he was guided by Adjunct Professor James Gelatt. Schleckser noted that Gelatt was “a critical foil to keep my work centered and well-written.
“When the research indicated that only 50 percent of strategies were successfully implemented, it became clear that there was a need to bridge the academic and practitioner concerns,” Schleckser recalled. “I thought the EMS conference was a great way to highlight my research and get feedback from other scholars. Quality feedback is hard to find, and the input from the EMS conference will undoubtedly make it into my dissertation.”