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)
Executive Director of SafetyÂ |Â United States Air Force Global Strike Command Headquarters
SeptemberÂ 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 inÂ 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, â€śThis is perfect for me. Itâ€™s not a narrow degree. I can do so many different things with it.â€ť
He went on to say, â€śI wanted something with the weight of a Ph.D. but didnâ€™t want to be exclusively immersed in theory. I wanted toÂ have one foot in theory and one foot in practical application.â€ť
The program had to pass muster in other ways, of course. The formatâ€”a combination of distance learning and face-to-face contactâ€”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 utilizeÂ his Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. UW-Whitewaterâ€™s program met all these criteria.
Describing the first few months of coursework, John shares, â€śI felt like an impostor, because the material was so hard and there was so much demand on me intellectually. Pain isnâ€™t all bad, though. There is pain because there is growth.â€ť (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)
After going through the application process and being accepted, the real work began. He described the challenges, saying, â€śThere 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.â€ť
Johnâ€™s background in the militaryÂ helped him persevere. He reminded himself, â€śYou got through Air Force pilot training and combat. You can get through this.â€ť
He has had the satisfaction of applying what he learnedâ€”from the pre-admission workshop through his dissertation workâ€”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 Commandâ€”which handles bombers and intercontinental ballistic missilesâ€”was the only Air Force command correctly using data that way.
He related, â€śThis isnâ€™t the way the Air Force does things or thinks about things now. But Iâ€™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.â€ť
Reflecting on the road yet ahead, John said, â€śIâ€™ve already begun to achieve every single one of my goals. Itâ€™s now a matter of running the course and getting to the end.â€ť
HeÂ shared his words of advice to individuals considering a DBA, saying, â€śYou 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.â€ť
UW-Whitewaterâ€™s Doctorate of Business AdministrationÂ 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.Â Learn more