I knew that I’d eventually leave corporate America and one day begin an academic career.
Becoming a college business professor has been one of my most rewarding career experiences. The PhD Project is the reason I have been afforded this opportunity. Without a doubt, it is the most impactful resource ever created for minorities (Black, Hispanic, Native American) seeking doctoral degrees in business. If you (or someone you know) are thinking about pursuing a PhD in business, read this, then visit www.phdproject.org to apply for the upcoming November conference.
I first learned about The PhD Project after Dr. C. Fred Higgs III linked me with Dr. Jefferey Robinson. At the time, I was working as an engineer at IBM and was thinking about pursuing a PhD. My parents are professors, and I practically grew up on a college campus. I knew that I’d eventually leave corporate America and one day begin an academic career. Jeff doesn’t know this, but my conversation with him changed my life. He helped me understand how an engineer could transition to the role of business professor. Surprisingly, many business professors have their first degree in engineering.
I applied and was accepted to The PhD Project’s annual conference (Nov. 18–20, 2009). It was a 3-day, all-expenses-paid event in Chicago, where you learned the nuts and bolts of becoming a business professor. There had to be over 300 working professionals in attendance, plus the students and professors from various academic institutions. When I first entered the Hyatt Regency O’Hare hotel ballroom, I saw a sea of Black and Brown faces. Some were corporate professionals seeking a career change. Some were business PhD students sharing their experiences. Others were business professors sharing stories of their transition from corporate America. I knew then that I was in the right place.
Here are just a few examples of how The PhD Project benefitted me:
- I met Dr. Lakisha Simmons at the Nov. 2009 conference. We crossed paths for no more than 2 minutes. She’s now my fiancee’.
- I met Dr. Leyland Lucas at the Nov. 2009 conference. At the time, he was the business PhD program coordinator at Morgan State University. I began my PhD journey at Morgan a year later.
- My peers voted me in as President of The PhD Project Management Doctoral Students Association in August 2013. The year I spent in that role was one of my most rewarding life experiences.
- My dissertation chair, Dr. Christopher J. Mathis, and 2 other committee members, Drs. Erica Anthony and SherRhonda Gibbs, are alumni of The PhD Project. They’ve been essential to my development as a scholar.
My involvement with The PhD Project has been transformational for me and many others. I personally gained a countless number of friends, peers, mentors, and role models. It has increased the number of minority faculty in business schools around the world, which leads to greater diversity in the corporate world. The PhD Project is force! Get involved so it can change your life too!