ISM insight: Life as an ISM student

The ISM Student Blog provides insight into life at ISM. Bloggers are current students and recent alumni who are excited about sharing their diverse learning experiences in ISM’s programs. Explore this blog to learn more about life at ISM, and how the program benefits students in the long run. You may also want to follow ISM on Facebook or join the conversation on Twitter.

Throughout the two years of coursework, doctoral students are continually honing their research and writing skills in preparation for the final stage: writing the dissertation. But before doctoral candidates begin to write a dissertation, they must first submit a dissertation proposal. Fortunately, preparing for this phase of the doctoral process begins on day one of the courses. 

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ISM’s doctorate business programs provide diverse course offerings, enriched by an environment of students who may be entering the program as subject matter experts in various fields, such as medicine or law.  Further, as a discipline, business itself has a vast array of facets, with some subject matter experts such as accountants or HR professionals, desiring to deepen or broaden their area of expertise. These past professional experiences help to enrich classroom discussions, weaving together a diverse tapestry of perspectives in the discussion.

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As a DBA student based in the United States, I chose ISM due to the diverse student body comprised of working professionals from a variety of backgrounds.  For me, the face-to-face courses were a critical factor in my decision to attend ISM, as they would allow me to greatly expand my professional network and enable me to engage in more hands-on learning.  

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For nearly the last two decades, I have been a full-time student for the majority of my professional career. I have had a family for the length of that period as well.  I share this as a means of offering support and encouragement to others considering pursuing a doctorate of business administration (DBA) from ISM.  With a support network plus the right school and curriculum, anything is possible.

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As a doctoral student, you are required to write two additional research papers outside of your traditional course assignments. The first paper, referred to as Case Analysis I, is assigned approximately one month before you begin the program; you have exactly three months to complete it. The second paper, referred to as Case Analysis II, is sent when you have completed approximately 75% of your course studies and also has a three-month deadline. Totaling 1.5 credits each, the first assignment is staged to serve as a baseline from which to measure your research and academic writing growth during the program.

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When pursuing a doctorate degree, no matter your circumstance, you will inevitably receive the question, “How do you do it?” Admittedly, the schedule and deadlines are daunting but with a plan, a support system, and a desire to remain part of this elite and impressive group of students and alumni, it can be done.

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I think one of the most unique aspects of ISM is the flexibility of the programs, particularly for their fully employed students. I run a full-time real estate business in the United States, and, despite this, I am able to finish my coursework.  

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Courtney Rottman

I am not a morning person, but I recently eagerly woke up at 3:45 a.m. to attend a class discussion with my DBA and PhD classmates. Under the direction of Dr. César Baena, I recently completed the Dynamic Strategic Management course which explores the challenges and analyses required for businesses to remain competitive and responsive in their ever-changing environments.

As part of our coursework, my classmates and I were able to come together as a group to ask questions and discuss the course materials and our research. Although unusual for an online course, attending an early morning wake-up call was a welcome interaction to spend time with my classmates in time zones across the globe due to the rich and diverse perspectives they bring to the course materials.

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