Q+A with an (Almost) Ph.D. in Management

Conversations with (almost) graduates of Sullivan’s Doctor of Philosophy in Management program.

Nicole Modafari, Doctoral Candidate

Q+A with an ALMOST Ph.D. nicole

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
Ph.D. Concentration: Strategic Management
Current Position: Budget & Program Management Analyst at the United States Environmental Protection Agency

Q: Tell us a little bit about your background and why you made the decision to earn your Ph.D. in management.

A: Over the last eleven years, I’ve worked in management, acquisition, human resources and budgetary capacities with the EPA, Coca-Cola Enterprises and Comair. Simply put, a management Ph.D. seemed to best fit my background as well as my career aspirations at my current place of employment.

Q: Why did you choose Sullivan’s Ph.D. program? 

A: Working closely in study groups while earning both my BBA and MBA at Thomas More College, I made some lasting friendships. When one of my friends later became a faculty member at Sullivan, he introduced me to the different program options. Needless to say, coupled with the pace and content of the Strategic Management regimen, it didn’t take too much coaxing for me to ultimately enroll right alongside him! It looks like Sullivan has some strong internal “cheerleaders” among the SU community!

Q: What has been your experience with online education at Sullivan? 

A: I feel like the ANGEL platform provided a great online working environment for students. Though I worked primarily online, there were still numerous opportunities for visiting campus and interacting with faculty members and other students involved with the programs of study. It helped things seem less “virtual” 100% of the time. Students could put “faces with names” and further benefit from the value of their shared experiences.

Q: What are some other opportunities Sullivan provides to its Ph.D. students?

A: Sullivan offers teaching assistant opportunities that definitely provide some exposure for anyone interested in the field of teaching. Serving in this role for online courses specifically offered new insights into working within the ANGEL platform as well. From a networking perspective, the TA role helped facilitate introductions with other professors at Sullivan who, for example, may not necessarily teach any Ph.D. courses.

Q: Tell us a little about the dissertation you’re working on. In what ways has Sullivan supported you throughout the process?

A: The title is “Diversity in Private-Sector Education: The Effects of Ownership/Governance Structure and Accreditation Status on Institutional Outcomes.”

Since there is a tremendous gap in further exploring the assumption that the entire private sector of higher education operates in exactly the same way, this study will help bring specific attention to the differences within this group by looking at ownership/governance structure and accreditation status and the unique impact that these diverse differences might make on certain dependent measures.

All of my dissertation committee members continually make themselves available for questions, concerns, etc. They display patience, knowledge and a level of commitment that makes me tremendously proud to have them on my side.

Q: How do you believe your education from Sullivan will help you reach your goals?

A: Most recently I am fortunate that my progress led to a new part-time teaching role at my local alma mater. The courses included in the Strategic Management concentration were a perfect fit for their needs!

Q: What advice would you give to prospective students who are considering Sullivan’s Ph.D. program?

A: I would say that trust in the process is imperative. There are certainly times when one might experience a myriad of emotions (sometimes several at once, in fact); however, when nearing completion, the most overwhelming emotion is pride—pride in everything accomplished!

Q: If you had to choose one word to sum up your overall experience at Sullivan what would it be?

A: Transformative.

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