Editor’s note: This is the continuation of a series of portraits of students and alumni of the Pamplin College of Business Executive Ph.D. in business.
Industry professionals leverage the advanced research skills and problem-solving skills they acquire through the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Executive Ph.D. have acquired. Program to transform business and higher education landscapes.
The Executive Ph.D. program, also known as Ph.D. Focused on Executive Business Research, was launched in 2016 to serve experienced executives who seek the advanced knowledge and skills needed to conduct high-quality research on critical emerging issues facing the business community and the world at large are. The hallmark of the Executive Ph.D. Program is its part-time format – a unique opportunity that attracts students with a variety of career goals.
One such student was Sarah Tuskey, who joined the first cohort of the Executive Ph.D. program in autumn 2016.
In search of a research-focused executive doctoral program, she had regularly checked the Executive Doctorate in Business Education Council (EDBAC) membership roster to see what new programs were underway or about to be launched.
“When I realized Virginia Tech had joined EDBAC, I reached out to learn more,” Tuskey said. “A few weeks later, I spoke to the program director, Dr. [Dipankar] Chakravarti, who gave me the vision for the program. What he described was everything I was looking for in a research-based doctoral program, including the opportunity to work with full-time graduate students and take courses. students and to be supervised by permanent lecturers in my field of research. I knew immediately that I had to be a part of what was being built in Pamplin.”
Tuskey, who graduated in summer 2021, currently serves as Dean of Faculty for Miami Dade College’s Wolfson campus. Before taking on this role in early 2020, she was Associate Dean of Faculty and Professor of Business Administration at the Kendall Campus; and Chair of Business, Technology and Engineering at the Homestead Campus.
“As a manager, I’ve always been curious about self-perception and how it affects behavior in the workplace,” said Tuskey, whose focus is on the Executive Ph.D. program was management.
Her research interests in workplace identity, employee well-being, and the impact of technology on employee attitudes and behavior fueled her dissertation, Identity at Work: Balancing Demographic-related Identity in the Workplace and the Impact on Extra-role Behaviors and Turnover.
She has presented her work at the Academy of Management; Southern Management Association; and Industry Studies Association conferences; and was published in the Academy of Management Proceedings; Journal of Management; and human resource management.
“As a student in the Executive Ph.D. The program has changed the way I think, how I approach problems, and even the questions I ask,” said Tuskey. “I would say this to anyone thinking about it: the program will challenge you in ways you never thought of and it won’t be easy. But you become a better researcher, a better scholar, and leave the program knowing that you have the ability to contribute and advance new knowledge.”
The academic rigor of the Executive Ph.D. program may seem daunting at first. However, according to Tuskey, overcoming this hurdle is one of the skills that can be acquired through the program.
“No matter how many rejections you get, no matter how impossible or insurmountable or daunting something may seem, just keep trying,” she said.
This lesson was learned by another student in the program, Gelila Sebhatu.
“It wasn’t that the work was 10 times harder than anything I’d ever done before, but that I put my whole mindset and problem-solving from a practitioner’s perspective – what is the problem and how best can I solve it – on it.” had to adopt a more academic, theoretical approach – what does the existing research say and how can I build on it?” said Sebhatu. “I had to clear my brain completely.”
There have been bumps in navigating the path between the corporate world and academic culture, but Sebhatu refuses to give up and is now on the home stretch of writing her dissertation, which is expected to be completed in Spring 2023.
Last year, she presented research from her ongoing PhD thesis, Early-stage Investor Decision Making: The Role of Narcissism and Gender, at the 2021 Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BCERC).
Attending this and other conferences during a Ph.D. The student has allowed her to meet experts in her research field, she said, with some she keeps in touch and one has even become a mentor and friend.
“Being able to make those kinds of connections is invaluable and really helps you feel part of the academic community,” she said.
Sebhatu had considered getting a Ph.D. in business for a while. “There aren’t many universities that offer a program like this,” she said, “and Virginia Tech was at the top of my list because of such a positive experience in the Executive MBA program.”
Pamplin’s cohort model is one of the things she liked most about both programs. “Students in the cohort offer each other so much emotional support,” she said. “We really are there for each other.”
While she was able to adapt to a more academic culture and the final stages of the Executive Ph.D. program, Sebhatu is still trying to decide if a traditional academic career of teaching and research is in her future.
But she knows one thing for sure.
“The program made me realize how much I really love research and that I want to continue doing research and publishing in journals. Even if I end up in a corporate setting again, I’m determined to find a way to do it,” she said.
About the Executive Ph.D. program, click here.
– Written by Barbara Micale and Jeremy Norman