I spend a good deal of time mentoring folks at various stages in their careers. For many, there comes a point where they want to climb to the top of the educational ladder and earn a doctorate. Depending on their field, this could be a Ph.D., an Ed.D., a D.Eng., or a DBA. Choosing a degree and school is a complicated decision with lots of variables and constraints.
As a supply chain management professional who wanted to earn a doctorate part-time, while continuing to work and raise a family, this was a tough decision for me, too. But studying for a DBA at Cranfield University in the U.K. has turned out to be a surprisingly logical solution. For those who are looking at this decision for themselves, here are ten compelling arguments that you might want to consider:
U.K. education is world-class. Cranfield is in an elite club, and draws faculty from other top universities.
For supply chain management, Cranfield University has long been recognized as one of the leading programs in the world. Their program is 35 years old. It is entirely devoted to graduate education (no undergraduate programs, at all) primarily in business and engineering. And, well, the university has its own airport!
Classes are taught in, you guessed it, English. (The language we speak in America bears a resemblance to English, but I do sometimes find myself stumped by “proper” English phrases.)
Students and faculty are global. I get confused just trying to figure out where all of my classmates grew up, live, and work.
Executive-level doctoral education is more common in Europe, and is designed to be rigorous and research-intensive. But the U.K. government also mandates that universities demonstrate impact on practice and society. Doing work that is relevant matters a lot to me, so this just makes sense.
Study during the day, take phone calls and do email at night (if you must). If you have a job that won’t let you unplug completely for a whole week, you can use the time difference to your advantage. Schedule essential conference calls any time after noon EST, and you’ll be taking the call after 5:00 PM in the U.K. No need to miss class. Though you might end up missing dinner.
Studying abroad, full-time or part-time, gives you a different perspective on U.S. business and culture. If you haven’t had the opportunity to live and work outside of the U.S., then it is hard to appreciate how the rest of the world views us. Gaining this insight through your studies will make you a better professional and help you make better decisions for your business.
The U.K. government recognizes higher education as a valuable export, and is trying to grow the sector.
Dollar to British Pound is at the best rate in over 100 years. That's on top of the fact that European schools are cheaper than American universities.
Many European schools (including Cranfield) qualify for student loans from the U.S. Department of Education and are accredited by U.S.-based accreditation organizations like AACSB.
So, if you are looking at pursuing a doctorate, and you want to go part-time instead of full-time, I suggest that you do a bit of research and consider the opportunity to study abroad. You may end up spending a little bit more for travel to and from school. But the insights, experiences, and network that you gain can significantly increase the value of your experience. And the difference in costs and exchange rates right now will definitely work in your favor.
By the way, Cranfield schedules Doctoral Open Day events throughout the year. This is a great way to see the campus and meet the faculty. It's well worth the investment of time and money to attend this event before you make the leap and decide to pursue your doctorate.