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The seventh cohort of OSU's PhD in Business for Executives program includes participants from across the United States and Canada.

Seventh cohort attracts diverse group to begin Ph.D. in Business for Executives program

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Oklahoma State University’s innovative doctoral program for executives continues to grow as the seventh cohort of the Ph.D. in Business for Executives features 16 participants from across the United States and Canada.

The three-year doctoral program in OSU’s Spears School of Business kicked off in August with an orientation session on the Stillwater campus. The seventh cohort joins 93 participants from across the world who have already taken part in the Ph.D. in Business for Executives program.

“This program continues to attract individuals with an impressive collection of experience; a fact borne out by this seventh cohort,” said Ken Eastman, dean of the Spears School of Business.  “These 16 individuals have embarked on a challenging journey and we are excited to see what they can accomplish. Our program is very unique and graduates report that it has made a significant difference in their lives. The program has an outstanding international reputation and it shows in the quality of individuals who are admitted.”

Executives from the seventh cohort participating are (listed alphabetically):

  • Cassidy Creech, President, Level 11 Group (Cornish, Utah)
  • Felicia Farrar, Internal Revenue Agent, Large Business and International Division, Internal Revenue Service (Houston)
  • Micah Harman, Air Manpower Manager, Kansas Air National Guard (Topeka, Kans.)
  • Nick Hayden, Coordinator of Student Life, University of Kansas Medical Center (Kansas City, Kans.)
  • Anthony Kegode, Managing Director, Kalima LLC (Newfields, N.H.)
  • Gyebi Kwarteng, Founder and President, Global Citizen Financial (Round Lake, Ill.)
  • April Lawson, Senior Manager, Operations Audit, Walmart Inc. (Centerton, Ark.)
  • Jeffrey Mader, President and CEO, The Penrose Company (Greater Washington, D.C. area)
  • Ngozi Ogoke, Director, Ovana Energy LTD (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
  • Ryan Paul, Americas Sales Manager, EP Engineered Clays Corporation (Houston)
  • Venkat Sankaran, Founder and CEO, Levergent Technologies (Palatine, Ill.)
  • Jim Servi, Owner and President, JAMPS Strategic Development (Hamburg, Wis.)
  • Michael Stanley, Chairman, CIS Group of Companies (Southlake, Texas)
  • Jeff Tyler, Portfolio Manager, Principal Funds Inc., (Des Moines, Iowa)
  • Greg Wicklman, Owner and President, Retail Rhythm (Delray Beach, Fla.)
  • Dustin Wise, COO, Preferred Pediatric Home Health Care, Inc. (Oklahoma City)

“I chose this program first because of its AACSB accreditation and rigor,” said April Lawson with Walmart. “The unique format of this PhD program was very appealing to me in that it allows me to maintain my job and my livelihood and get a rigorous education. I want to apply my research to help my organization. This degree will benefit my company immediately.”

“I see the PhD in Business as an investment in my future,” said Nick Hayden with the University of Kansas Medical Center. “With a traditional PhD program, you have to suspend your career and family responsibilities. With the flexibility of this program I can work around my busy schedule and still have the connection with my mentors, colleagues and cohort. With this degree I can make a meaningful contribution to my organization and be a motivating force that creates change and innovation. I can bring in my own research and drive changes in my organization. I want to be the person that my organization seeks out for strategic direction.”

“As a company we are committed to continuing education,” said Michael Stanley with the CIS Group of Companies, “and it is important for the senior leadership, in my case the chairman, to put his money where his mouth is and show my employees that we value it. I like to learn and the program presents opportunities that I would not get in just the workplace. The work that we will do will translate directly into my company. It is not just purely an academic pursuit.”

The cohort includes CEOs, senior level executives, owners, and managers from well-known and respected organizations across the United States and Canada. The program now consists of individuals representing Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. 

“Each year the application process for our PhD in Business for Executives program becomes more competitive as we receive more applications from executives with tremendous career accomplishments,” said Toby Joplin, director of Executive Doctoral Programs. “Our students and alumni represent some of the most prestigious companies in the world. This is truly becoming the elite PhD in Business program offered in an executive scheduling format.

“The program allows professionals to continue to run their organizations while earning an AACSB-accredited PhD degree. Our students graduate from the program better equipped to make data-driven decisions and their organizations win because they are steered by innovative, evidence-based leaders.”

These students are from industries such as energy, banking and financial, higher education, manufacturing, construction, aerospace/airlines, state government, health care, non-profits, retial, telecommunications, transportation, bioscience, entertainment, information technology and engineering.

The doctoral program has graduated 42 students from the first four cohorts. The program has attracted executive students from all across the world, including Brazil, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, and The Netherlands, and from 26 states.

The original stated goal of the program was to enable executives to better make data-driven decisions to make their organizations more successful. But over the past four years, research universities have discovered the quality of our graduates and our students have accepted positions at universities like Harvard University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Texas, Texas Christian University, Southern Methodist University, Marshall University, St. Edward’s University, Weber State University, Tulane University and others.

For more information or to explore how to become a member of the 2019 class, go to the Ph.D. in Business for Executives website:


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