Michelle Jones had wanted to get a doctorate for over twenty years, but the time was never quite right.
“I got married, relocated, had young children and worked at a demanding job. There were a host of different reasons why I was unable to begin a doctoral program,” she said.
That changed a few years ago when Jones heard a radio advertisement for Trevecca’s Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program. There were multiple facets of the DBA that made it a good fit with her life and career goals.
“I chose Trevecca's DBA program because of its flexibility, practicality and timing with my personal life. The online aspect, coupled with no GMAT requirement, was appealing as well,” said Jones. “The fact that the DBA program was an applied doctorate program and took into account my extensive work experience mattered a lot to me.”
She started the fully-online program as a member of the first graduating class before the pandemic and was grateful for the stability it gave her during a challenging time.
“When COVID hit, it was beneficial to be going through an online program because it was uninterrupted. There were no delays in any of the coursework or any of the deadlines,” said Jones. “We stayed on schedule, and that was a real relief in the midst of so much uncertainty. This program continued to provide that cadence that made sure I was following along and moving toward the goal line.”
After completing the program in July, Jones hopes to use her new degree to change career paths and enter a new field: higher education.
“I work in human resources for Ford Motor Credit Company. I will have been there 30 years in February of next year, and ideally I would like to retire and start down this new path of teaching in higher education and administration,” said Jones. “I have had the opportunity to teach as an adjunct at two universities here in the Nashville area and I enjoyed it very much, to the extent that it reinforced my desire to do the doctorate so I can do it full time.”
In the DBA program, she can focus specifically on higher education, one of four specialized tracks offered at Trevecca. The others are consulting and coaching; enterprise leading and managing; and health care administration.
“With the higher education track, I was able to take some practical courses and get my feet wet in teaching in an online environment, which was different from what I had done before, '' Jones said. “I was able to shadow another instructor and get a better grasp of what it takes to engage a classroom online. My preference remains teaching in person, but I feel more confident that I am able to teach online classes if I had to.”
The DBA has a cohort model, allowing students the opportunity to build relationships within their degree program over the course of years. For Jones, this continues to be a source of encouragement as she finishes out her degree.
“Our cohort set up a Groupme that allowed us to connect with each other on a regular basis, pose questions about assignments, encourage each other, vent, etc.,” said Jones. “It created a safe space that continues to be a lifeline for me.”
Jones acknowledges that the program is just as challenging as it is rewarding and advises those considering a DBA to be realistic and prepared.
“You need to take one step at a time each and every day,” said Jones. “If you’ve got strong organization skills, perseverance and resilience and can acknowledge that it’s going to take some time, you can succeed.”