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Cohort X, Ph.D. in Business for Executives
The newest cohort for the Ph.D. in Business for Executives includes, front row, from left: Robert Sapien, Angela Schwartz, Lance Coffman and Jesse Meldru. Back row: Dan Gregory, Bill Fairhurst, Natasha Poularikas and Prashant Budhale.

Spears Business welcomes Executive Ph.D. Cohort X

Monday, October 11, 2021

Media Contact: Terry Tush | Director, Marketing and Communications | 405-744-2703 |

The Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University welcomes Cohort X to the Ph.D. in Business for Executives program.

Students will begin their three-year, AACSB-accredited doctoral program for the 2021-2022 academic year. This program allows organizational leaders to earn a doctorate while continuing their full-time careers. The program is designed to bridge academic study and business practice through a rich, research-based curriculum. 

“We are excited to welcome the 10th cohort to our nationally recognized executive doctoral program,” said Ken Eastman, dean of the Spears School of Business. “This diverse group of executives come from a variety of backgrounds including oil and gas, higher education, and technology and medical fields. We can’t wait to see what awaits them.”

Executives from Cohort X (2021-2024)

Prashant Budhale: Budhale is the Vice President of Technology for SONIC/Inspire Brands and is responsible for all aspects of technology supporting more than 3,500 restaurants, more than 300 franchisees and over $5 billion in revenue. He has worked for Pizza Hut, Fujitsu America and Capgemini US. Budhale earned his MBA (finance) from Butler University. 

Lance R. Coffman: Coffman is the Regional Business Consultant for Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, where he has assisted business owners in increasing sales by over $10.7 million last fiscal year. He accomplished this through one-on-one consulting and expanding experiential learning programs to pair clients with several new classes and departments. Coffman earned his MBA from MSU.

Bill Fairhurst: Fairhurst is President/Co-Founder of Riverford Exploration, an oil and gas exploration and production company and an oil and gas consulting business with offices in The Woodlands, Austin and Dallas. Fairhurst has also held positions at the University of Texas-Austin, Lee College, and Eagle Oil & Gas, Co. He has an MBA (finance) from the University of Houston and a master’s degree in geology from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Dan Gregory: Gregory is Vice President of Administration at Concordia University Texas where he serves as operational and strategic lead for facilities management, capital projects, land planning and acquisition, campus police, auxiliary businesses, environmental stewardship, risk management, insurance, compliance, contracts and legal. Gregory earned a master’s degree in industrial technology from the University of Texas-Austin and a master’s in construction engineering management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Jesse D. Meldru: Meldru recently became CFO at StaffDx. He has more than two decades of diverse experience leading management and financial success with global and domestic organizations in a variety of industries, including healthcare. Meldru earned a master’s degree in professional accounting (taxation emphasis) from Colorado State University and an MBA (finance emphasis) from Georgia State University.

Natasha P. Poularikas: Poularikas serves as an Instructor for Marketing and Supply Chain Division at the University of Oklahoma. She previously worked for MidFirst Bank, the Hess Corporation and Burlington Resources. She earned her MBA (finance) from Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Robert E. Sapién: Sapién is a Distinguished Professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of New Mexico and serves as Chief Medical Officer for sapienWELLNESS. Sapién received his medical degree from the University of New Mexico's School of Medicine, and a master’s of medical management at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business. He has been a practicing physician since 1986. Sapién completed hypnotherapy training at the Hypnotherapy Academy of America in 2005 and is a co-founder of the International Board of Hypnotherapy.

Angela T. Schwartz: As Services Practice Leader for Microsoft Corporation, Schwartz leads an organization of 300 consultants, engineers, project managers and technical delivery managers working with federal government clients to perform platform migrations to the Cloud, infrastructure modernization, cyber security hardening including addressing the people change management, process, and governance aspects of Cloud Services migrations. She earned her MBA from Mercer University.

The Executive Ph.D. program is also accepting applications for Fall 2022. Applications are due Feb. 1. For more information visit:

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