From time to time, I used to think about what encompasses a doctoral study, especially as I came from an academic family (both of my parents were in academia over the years).
Over my professional life (I spent the last 20 years in various industries including finance, marketing, and communications), I was always interested in seeing what was behind the tools and methods used by consultants and managers. I realized all these things are just simplified versions of, or merely based on, academic studies, and this insight helped me decide in 2014 that I had to pursue this interest.
When you come from a professional field, you have an array of interesting topics you would love to develop. It is a little bit like being a kid in a toy store. I was no exception. Later, you must boil it down to the topic you are really into, that is your "true love." From the beginning, I was into the strategy, business modelling, but only after a year of intense reading and discussions with supervisors, it really came down to the aspect of replication. Finding your topic is like finally being on a plane ready for the takeoff. You have always been with it without even noticing it.
The DBA is a journey, not a one-time shot. It is crucial to constantly work on it; otherwise, you will never be done. I was really blessed to have two great, if not the kindest possible, GEM supervisors on my side. We had a very good pace of exchanging ideas and checking my progress on a regular basis, a jour fixe.
I also enjoyed testing my progress on an audience. I presented at three conferences (Grenoble, Venice, and Lyon), and the feedback I received during those meetings and the extension of knowledge beyond strictly my topic was invaluable.
The practical advice I can give is develop your DBA rhythm and customize it to find a balance. And then, stick to it. The DBA is a long ride, and lots of things may and do happen around you and with you. But when you integrate the DBA into your life, you will succeed.
Last but not least, the DBA intake is a small community compared to other studies I have done. But, meeting new friends and colleagues who are now part of your doctoral circle is also a great pleasure.
By Oleksandr Shyrokov, DBA.