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DBA Student Spotlight: Brian Huels

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

DBA Student Brian Huels

(UW-Whitewater photo/Jonathon Kelley)


Brian Huels, CPA, CFE

Associate Professor | Rockford University

June 2017

Reaching Full Potential as a Practitioner and Educator

Brian Huels did not want to settle for less than 100 percent. With over 18 years of experience in the field of accounting, 17 years as a CPA and three years as an assistant professor at Rockford University, he knew he had substantial real-world experience. But without a terminal degree, he felt he still lacked in terms of high-level academic qualifications and a true understanding of academic research for business and accounting.

In the interest of serving his students fully and maximizing his career potential, Brian began to research terminal degrees. He was excited to learn about UW-Whitewater’s new Doctorate of Business Administration program because, as an alumnus of the College of Business and Economics, he was confident in its reputation and accreditation. The style of the program was also a major consideration because Ph.D., and other doctorate programs he researched, would not have allowed him to maintain full-time employment while completing the doctorate.

He has been extremely satisfied with the focused, high-level instruction he has received. He related, “From a practitioner perspective, I couldn’t have found a better program. The faculty is an unbelievable group that goes out of their way to make themselves available. They want to ensure you’re a success and that, in turn, the program is a success.”

The DBA journey requires complete commitment, however. Brian found he had underestimated the amount of work required. Instead of the expected 10 to 20 hours, he has dedicated 30 to 40 hours each week. With young children, currently three and five years old, his wife has taken on a lot so he could pursue his goals.

“It’s definitely a juggling act,” he confirmed. “I’ve worked on my course work or dissertation from 7 p.m. to between 12 and 1 a.m. nearly every weeknight, with more hours added on the weekend.”

As a result, he strongly recommended having a family conversation early because it is a family commitment. He stressed, “You need to carve out time and hit the ground running as soon as the program begins.”

When asked for advice to those considering a DBA, Brian encouraged potential candidates to attend an information session. He appreciated the genuine assistance of the DBA faculty during the enrollment process, because they were truly looking for candidates that would fit the program and be successful.

He also emphasized, “Make sure you take on the challenge for the right reasons. Embarking on the program should be sourced in a desire to learn as one of the top objectives. Be honest with yourself. Why are you doing this? What do you want to achieve? Talk openly with the faculty about your goals.”

Brian plans to remain active as an educator while also keeping his hand in the field of public accounting. He looks forward to the completion of the DBA program and the skills that the program will add to his professional toolbox. The combination of past professional experience with the DBA terminal degree will provide a sound foundation for advancing the learning of both students and clients.

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


On June 13, 2017, Brian Huels defended his dissertation, “Antecedents to Taxpayer Compliance: Essays exploring the influence of personality and culture,” and satisfied the requirements of his committee to earn his doctorate title.

DBA Student Brian Huels

Nearing the end of his dissertation journey, Brian Huels advises prospective DBA students, “Embarking on the program should be sourced in a desire to learn.” (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)


This entry was posted in AACSB, Accounting, Career, DBA, General. Bookmark the permalink.


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