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DBA Student Spotlight: Henry Balani

The DBA Student Spotlight series highlights individual stories from within our Doctorate of Business Administration cohorts, representing diverse backgrounds, experiences and aspirations.

(UW-Whitewater photo/Jonathon Kelley)

(UW-Whitewater photo/Jonathon Kelley)

 

Henry Balani

Global Head of Strategic Affairs | Accuity, Division of Reed Business Information, Reed Elsevier

September 2017 (anticipated)


Men, angels and government regulation

The title of Henry Balani’s dissertation topic, “If Men Were Angels, No Government Would Be Necessary: Two essays on the effects of regulations on banking sector valuation,” loosely quotes James Madison in the Federalist Papers. Henry felt it was appropriate for his dissertation topic, as it relates to the challenges civil society faces in terms of the need for regulation.

With 25 years of practitioner experience in the field of economics and 15 years in the financial sector, Henry has an intense interest in money laundering and banking regulations. More specifically, he is concerned with understanding, identifying and preventing money laundering, as well as balancing regulatory insight with optimal banking effectiveness.

Henry had found that there was a lack of academic research related to the practical impact of regulation on the banking sector; the industry largely relied on anecdotal data. By augmenting his deep experience as a practitioner with the ability to perform rigorous academic research, he felt he could help bridge this gap, and contribute to both his field of practice and his company.

He explained, “My goal is to really look at my domain space with regard to money laundering and its impact on banking. My intent is to provide a more structured and deliberate framework for presenting my data. That was a big part of the impetus for doing a doctorate program.”

Henry focused on Doctorate of Business Administration programs, feeling the practitioner-focused terminal degree would give him the knowledge and tools he needed. After investigating programs throughout the nation, as well as some in the United Kingdom, he eventually chose the DBA program from UW-Whitewater College of Business and Economics.

Several factors contributed to this decision. A top criterion was being able to complete the program within three years. AACSB accreditation, an internationally-recognized standard of quality, was also a major criterion. An additional consideration was location. UW-Whitewater is a just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from his home near Chicago; whereas, he had also considered programs in California and Edinburgh, Scotland.

Henry Balani enjoys a moment of levity during a weekend class. (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)

Henry Balani enjoys a moment of levity during a weekend class. (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)

To maximize available study time during the monthly on-campus weekend sessions, Henry stayed in one of the UW-Whitewater dormitories. It had been almost 25 years since he had stayed on a college campus.

“I really enjoyed those weekends,” he said. “I think spending that extra time with my colleagues outside of the classroom helped build our camaraderie. It was really fun going back to school and staying in the dorms.”

There was a lot of hard work to be done, though. Henry found the curriculum itself was more challenging than previous studies he had undertaken.

“It’s significantly different from an MBA program,” he shared. He laughed and added, “’Significantly different’ is a loaded term, because you have to consider how you can statistically determine whether something is significant or not. It’s an example of how we end up thinking as doctoral candidates. It helps us be a lot more rigorous in terms of our approach to analysis, looking at concepts and challenging them.”

Reflecting on his experience, Henry expressed that it was positive overall. He stressed the impact on his thinking and how he looks at things.

He explained, “Coming from the practitioner world, I can understand some of the frustration towards the academic side. In the private sector, we’re always asking how something applies to the real world and what the financial benefit is. Now, having gone through a doctorate program, I understand the training and how it shapes the academic view. There’s definitely a balance to be struck.”

Planning to remain in practice, Henry hopes to help build connections between industry and academia by diving into practitioner-oriented research and publishing in business-focused journals. He intends to link rigorous academic research with real-world applications and financially relevant outcomes for the betterment of the banking industry.

This will not be an easy endeavor, given the complex relationship between government and banking, but Henry feels equipped for the challenges ahead.

He stated, “I have already had the opportunity to publish a paper on trade based money laundering in an academic journal. I continue to speak on the impact of regulation on banking, and recently was invited to speak at the United Nations in New York to policy makers and diplomats. The skills I have learned in the Doctorate of Business Administration program have been very valuable, and I look forward to researching publishing in this important area.”

UW-Whitewater’s AACSB-accredited Doctorate of Business Administration program is a professional doctorate that enables students to develop in-depth expertise in a specific business area. The DBA is a 60-credit program offered using a cohort model where students attend classes one weekend each month for two years, followed by a year of dissertation work.  Learn more

Henry Balani was pleased to find a DBA program meeting his criteria within a two-and-a-half-hour drive of his home near Chicago.  (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)

Henry was pleased to find a DBA program meeting his criteria within a two-and-a-half-hour drive of his Chicago-area home. (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)

 

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Academic history: First DBA students successfully defend dissertations

Earning a doctorate is frequently described as a journey—one that has at its end a final pinnacle, the dissertation, to be scaled. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater College of Business and Economics is proud to share that two of its doctoral candidates have conquered their dissertations and reached the end of their Doctorate of Business Administration journeys.

On May 23, 2017, Stephen Gray successfully defended his doctoral dissertation, “Credit Decisions and the Effects of Earnings Quality,” and Brian Huels defended his dissertation, “Antecedents to Taxpayer Compliance: Essays exploring the influence of personality and culture,” on June 13. They each satisfied the requirements of their respective committees and earned their doctorate titles.

Their personal achievements also signify a major milestone for the university. Just over five years ago, in May 2012, Professor of Management Praveen Parboteeah made a serious proposal to begin a DBA program at the UW-Whitewater College of Business and Economics. Leadership at the college and university were very supportive, helping to propel the final proposal forward and navigate the University of Wisconsin System process. Meanwhile, a DBA committee—including Associate Dean Paul Ambrose, Associate Professor Pavan Chennamaneni, Assistant Professor Balaji Sankaranarayanan, Assistant Dean Robert Schramm, and Professor Linda Yu-—and many other dedicated faculty members, developed a strong, doctorate-level curriculum. The program proposal was approved by the Board of Regents in the summer of 2013 and the premiere cohort kicked off in September 2014.

As Dean John Chenoweth expressed before Steve Gray’s presentation, “This accomplishment showcases the ability of the college and university to be innovative, to move rapidly when needed, and most importantly, to do that while delivering quality.”

The DBA was designed to be a practitioner-oriented terminal degree with a strong focus on how to strategically solve real-world problems. UW-Whitewater developed a curriculum that integrates business knowledge across functional breadth areas such as management, accounting, finance, marketing and information technology.

The 60-credit program is intended to be completed in three years. Students attend classes one weekend each month for two years, followed by one year of dissertation work. This schedule helps accommodate professionals who cannot press pause on their careers.

Looking back on the program’s challenges and triumphs, DBA Program Director K. Praveen Parboteeah shared, “We faced skeptics who did not believe we had the ability to deliver a quality program. But with the help of university leadership, the DBA committee, and the 30 or so faculty who have taught courses, mentored students, and guided students as members of their dissertation committees, we have collectively ‘done it!’”

Dean Chenoweth put the milestone in a broader context, saying, “Our doctoral students are all engaged in professional communities, either in their respective industries or academia. We’ve taken a cohort through a process designed to train them and advance their research skills. Throughout that process—not just at the end—they’ve gained knowledge and skills to help advance the regional economy. And as they complete the program, it allows our university, as well as the communities they rejoin, to move forward.”

Everyone associated with UW-Whitewater wholeheartedly congratulates Dr. Stephen Gray, DBA and Dr. Brian Huels, DBA on completing their doctoral journeys, and looks forward to additional cohort members attaining their degrees over the summer.

Steve shared his feelings about completing the program, saying, “There is a great sense of satisfaction in accomplishing something like this, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to push myself to new levels. It’s prepared me to look forward to what’s next with confidence. Having completed an MBA and now a DBA, I know that I can take what I’ve learned and do something even greater.”

He added, “Before starting the DBA program, I made the choice to invest in myself. I have no regrets about that decision. Other investments can lose value, but no one can take this away from me.”

Brian offered his reflections, saying, “When I started the program, I was looking at it like a ‘start and stop’ endeavor. But what I found is that the DBA isn’t a ‘start and stop’ program. It really just laid the foundation for me to see that there’s so much more out there I can do. The reality is that you’re always learning. The degree is done, but there’s always more.”

In terms of what was next, he added, “I’d thought that I’d complete the program, get the degree, and someday down the road it might open doors for me. But it’s been exciting to see how quickly those doors opened up.”

The program has now successfully concluded recruitment of its fourth cohort, which will start in Fall 2017. Applications for the Fall 2018 DBA cohort will be accepted starting September 1, 2017, and rolling admissions decisions will be made starting November 1, 2017. The final application deadline is January 30, 2018. Learn more

Doctor of Business Administration program director Praveen Parboteeah, right, gives a "thumbs up" to Stephen Gray immediately following Gray's dissertation defense. (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)

Doctor of Business Administration program director Praveen Parboteeah, right, gives a “thumbs up” to Stephen Gray immediately following Gray’s dissertation defense. (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)

Brian Huels, left, walks across campus with fellow cohort member Stephen Gray and Stephen's wife, Geralyn. Stephen and Brian were the very first doctoral candidates to complete the DBA program. (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)

Brian Huels, left, walks across campus with fellow cohort member Stephen Gray and Stephen’s wife, Geralyn. Stephen and Brian were the very first doctoral candidates to complete the DBA program. (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)

Members from Cohort 1 gather outside Timothy J. Hyland Hall after class. (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)

Members of the Fall 2014 Cohort gather outside Timothy J. Hyland Hall. The DBA program’s cohort model provides an important source of support for students. (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)

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DBA Student Spotlight: Aaron Kinney

The DBA Student Spotlight series highlights individual stories from within our Doctorate of Business Administration cohorts, representing diverse backgrounds, experiences and aspirations.

DBA Student Aaron Kinney

(UW-Whitewater photo/Jonathon Kelley)

 

Aaron Kinney

Executive Director – Cardiac Service Line | Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

September 2017 (anticipated)


Advancing business knowledge and academic research

A comparatively young degree, the Doctorate of Business Administration is a practitioner-orientated program with a curriculum that integrates business knowledge across functional areas such as management, accounting, finance, marketing and information technology. Unlike the traditional Ph.D., which tends to be more theoretical, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater DBA focuses on how to strategically solve real-world problems.

This approach was attractive to Aaron Kinney, a doctoral candidate in the UW-Whitewater DBA program and Executive Director of the Herma Heart Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Prior to working for Children’s Hospital, he worked for the Medical College of Wisconsin. Both institutions fall within a niche where patient care, academia and business intersect.

Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems surveys, which measure patient perspectives on care, are an area of concern for hospitals. Based on these scores, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services can withhold up to two percent of hospitals’ Medicare reimbursement payments—potentially millions of dollars for large institutions. Furthermore, healthcare consumers may search and compare HCAHPS scores through an online database.

Because the surveys measure patient perception, many variables may drive their responses. As a result, there is some uncertainty how accurately the surveys reflect quality of care, as opposed to patient satisfaction, and the relationship of the two. Aaron also felt there were opportunities to improve how hospitals analyzed and responded to the survey data.

He related, “I realized it was pretty muddy on the academic side in terms of how patient satisfaction is measured and used. Most hospitals have completed HCAHPS surveys, but academic studies often isolate one survey question as being definitive of patient satisfaction.”

In addition, he was interested in a variable neither directly related to care nor captured on these surveys.

He explained, “I think technology plays an increasingly important role, and that at times, the patient’s perception of the healthcare experience has nothing to do with the care they receive. I wanted to see if there was a clear connection between patient satisfaction and the use of technology like electronic patient portals.”

These interests and concerns fed into Aaron’s DBA coursework and development of his dissertation topic, “Towards a Theory of Patient Satisfaction: Studies on the Impacts of Patient-Technology Fit and Electronic Patient Portal Use on Patient Satisfaction Outcome.”

Kinney engages in a group discussion. Describing the cohort model, he relates, "It would be really challenging to go through the program without your fellow cohort members. They offer such broad experience. You're able to lean on each other and work through things. (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)

Kinney engages in group discussion during a weekend class. Describing the cohort model, he relates, “It would be really challenging to go through the program without your fellow cohort members. They offer such broad experience, and you’re able to lean on each other and work through things. It’s very helpful. (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)

Though he is not yet done with the program, Aaron has already reaped benefits from his studies. For example, it has impacted his ability to solve real-world business problems and participate with faculty and staff that are publishing in academic journals. As a co-author, he has had numerous abstracts accepted for presentation and even has a manuscript recommended for publication in the journal Pediatric Cardiology.

“Because I’ve gained an understanding of theory, research, and statistics, I’ve been able to contribute to papers and presentations as a co-author,” he shared. “I’m definitely putting what I’ve learned into practice.”

Reflecting on his experience with UW-Whitewater, Aaron said that he would do it all over again.

“Overall, it’s been great,” he said. “It’s been very challenging, but rewarding. If I had to do all over again, I might look at Ph.D. programs a little more closely, but think I would land on the same solution. The DBA is perfect for what I want to do, and UW-Whitewater’s format and schedule fit my needs.”

He also expressed appreciation for the UW-Whitewater’s veterans’ services, saying, “A lot of schools say they have people to handle it, but in my experience, UW-Whitewater really delivers. The staff was amazingly good at taking care of my GI Bill benefits. They’ve made it easy for me, which has been a pleasure.”

UW-Whitewater’s AACSB-accredited Doctorate of Business Administration program is a professional doctorate that enables students to develop in-depth expertise in a specific business area. The DBA is a 60-credit program offered using a cohort model where students attend classes one weekend each month for two years, followed by a year of dissertation work.  Learn more

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Inaugural master’s hooding ceremony celebrates graduate candidates

The UW-Whitewater College of Business and Economics held its inaugural master’s hooding ceremony at Timothy J. Hyland Hall on May 12, 2017. The hooding ceremony was a special event to recognize graduate candidates in a more personal way than would be possible at the university’s general commencement. It was also an opportunity to recognize the support of their families and friends, as well as the college’s exceptional faculty and staff.

More than 70 graduate students were hooded in the presence of about 250 guests. Candidates represented the Master of Science in Environmental Safety and Health, Master of Professional Accountancy, and Master of Business Administration programs. The ceremony was followed by a networking reception, where candidates could connect with faculty and fellow students. Degrees were conferred the following day at the university’s spring commencement event.

Congratulations, graduates!

Master of Ceremonies Jon Werner welcomes graduate candidates, their guests, and faculty and staff to the UW-Whitewater College of Business and Economics’ inaugural Master’s Hooding Ceremony on May 12, 2017. (UW-Whitewater photo/Jonathon Kelley)

Master of Ceremonies Jon Werner welcomes graduate candidates, their guests, and faculty and staff to the UW-Whitewater College of Business and Economics’ inaugural Master’s Hooding Ceremony on May 12, 2017. (UW-Whitewater photo/Jonathon Kelley)

Dean John Chenoweth addresses graduate candidates. (UW-Whitewater photo/Jonathon Kelley)

Dean John Chenoweth addresses graduate candidates. (UW-Whitewater photo/Jonathon Kelley)

Andrew Burish, MBA '82, Managing Director at UBS Financial Services, offers words of wisdom and inspiration. (UW-Whitewater photo/Jonathon Kelley)

Andrew Burish, MBA ’82, Managing Director at UBS Financial Services, offers words of wisdom and inspiration. (UW-Whitewater photo/Jonathon Kelley)

Dennis Kopf, associate professor of marketing, accepts the Online Teaching Excellence Award. (UW-Whitewater photo/Jonathon Kelley)

Dennis Kopf, associate professor of marketing, accepts the Online Teaching Excellence Award. (UW-Whitewater photo/Jonathon Kelley)

Abbie Daly, assistant professor and program coordinator, hoods an MPA student. The hood is a symbolic piece of apparel reserved for individuals who have attained academic degrees beyond the bachelor's degree.  (UW-Whitewater photo/Jonathon Kelley)

Abbie Daly, assistant professor and program coordinator, hoods an MPA student. The hood is a symbolic piece of apparel reserved for individuals who have attained academic degrees beyond the bachelor’s degree. (UW-Whitewater photo/Jonathon Kelley)

Graduate candidates connect with faculty and fellow students at a networking reception following the hooding ceremony. (UW-Whitewater photo/Jonathon Kelley)

Graduate candidates connect with faculty and fellow students at a networking reception following the hooding ceremony. (UW-Whitewater photo/Jonathon Kelley)

 

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DBA Student Spotlight: John Good

The DBA Student Spotlight series highlights individual stories from within our Doctorate of Business Administration cohorts, representing diverse backgrounds, experiences and aspirations.

(UW-Whitewater photo/Jonathon Kelley)

 

John Good

Executive Director of Safety | United States Air Force Global Strike Command Headquarters

September 2017 (anticipated)


A Nexus of Theory and Application

Describing John Good as a process-oriented person is an understatement. As a retired United States Air Force Colonel and current Executive Director of Safety for the Air Force Global Strike Command headquarters in Bossier City, Louisiana, his approach to change is thorough and analytical.

John had found himself in a narrow niche as a federal government employee, and looking forward 10 to 15 years, realized he wanted to have a broader impact on society. Digging deeper, he determined he wanted to eventually be a college professor.

With this vision in mind, John began to set goals, beginning with education. This led him down an exhaustive road of research and inquiry into career and degree options, wherein he evaluated 11 distinct paths by 20 criteria. Ultimately, he chose a Doctorate of Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Describing the DBA program, he said, “This is perfect for me. It’s not a narrow degree. I can do so many different things with it.”

He went on to say, “I wanted something with the weight of a Ph.D. but didn’t want to be exclusively immersed in theory. I wanted to have one foot in theory and one foot in practical application.”

The program had to pass muster in other ways, of course. The format—a combination of distance learning and face-to-face contact—was important to John. AACSB accreditation, cost and location were also key considerations. The final piece of the puzzle was finding an institution that could readily utilize his Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. UW-Whitewater’s program met all these criteria.

DBA Student John Good in the classroom

Describing the first few months of coursework, John shares, “I felt like an impostor, because the material was so hard and there was so much demand on me intellectually. Pain isn’t all bad, though. There is pain because there is growth.” (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)

After going through the application process and being accepted, the real work began. He described the challenges, saying, “There are two phases to the program: the academic phase and the dissertation phase. They are completely different levels of achievement and intellectual demand. They are like two completely different degrees.”

John’s background in the military helped him persevere. He reminded himself, “You got through Air Force pilot training and combat. You can get through this.”

He has had the satisfaction of applying what he learned—from the pre-admission workshop through his dissertation work—to make a difference in the Air Force. For instance, John is working to use accident investigation data to build predictive models. He shared that Global Strike Command—which handles bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles—was the only Air Force command correctly using data that way.

He related, “This isn’t the way the Air Force does things or thinks about things now. But I’ve been given the tools and have been shown the right way to do it, and I can bring this into my organization. Where did I learn this? UW-Whitewater.”

Reflecting on the road yet ahead, John said, “I’ve already begun to achieve every single one of my goals. It’s now a matter of running the course and getting to the end.”

He shared his words of advice to individuals considering a DBA, saying, “You really need to have a reason and motivation beyond just getting the degree. Formulate a vision and associated goals. The degree helps you realize your vision.”

UW-Whitewater’s AACSB-accredited Doctorate of Business Administration program is a professional doctorate that enables students to develop in-depth expertise in a specific business area. The DBA is a 60-credit program offered using a cohort model where students attend classes one weekend each month for two years, followed by a year of dissertation work.  Learn more

 

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