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WPI Business School Creates Executive PhD Program

First Cohort of Students Will Begin Taking Classes in Fall 2022

May 17, 2022

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is announcing a new Executive PhD program in The Business School, specifically designed to give executives greater influence on the challenges and opportunities in their industries, combining their life experiences with rigorous academic research to effect change, particularly in support of social justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Debora Jackson, Dean of WPI Business School
The Business School continually aspires to meet the needs of today’s highly dynamic world, in which social justice and diversity continue to emerge as critical factors in a company’s vision.
Debora Jackson
Dean of WPI Business School

“The Business School continually aspires to meet the needs of today’s highly dynamic world, in which social justice and diversity continue to emerge as critical factors in a company’s vision,” said Debora Jackson, Dean of The Business School. “The Executive PhD program will ensure leadership professionals have the critical skills necessary to make meaningful contributions in the ever-changing global business landscape.”

The program helps experienced executives advance their own careers, become thought leaders, and make scholarly contributions through which they can have a greater impact on their fields. The executives’ research can also benefit junior colleagues by giving them another tool to increase their occupational knowledge and help grow their careers. The first classes for the new PhD will be held in fall 2022 and students will be able to choose from one of three concentrations: Entrepreneurship, Information Technology, or Operations Management.

The program is geared toward senior leaders in an organization, such as those in the C-suite or adjacent to it, who have at least 15 years of experience; it is designed in a way that allows students to remain in their current professional roles while working toward their PhD.

Diane Strong, Professor & Department Head, WPI Business School
Executives interested in this program are not participating because they want another degree, they’re participating because they want to make the world better in some way, and this program can provide a mechanism for giving back.
Diane Strong
Professor & Department Head WPI Business School

“The Executive PhD program can help executives be a force of positivity and support social justice goals. Executives interested in this program are not participating because they want another degree, they’re participating because they want to make the world better in some way, and this program can provide a mechanism for giving back,” said WPI Business School Professor and Department Head Diane Strong.

Executive PhD students go on their academic journeys as a unit, moving through the program together. Once the students reach the stage where they conduct their own research, they will be guided by a faculty advisor while also continuing to collaborate on projects, formally and informally, with their cohort. The relationships developed among the members of the cohort are intended to carry over into their professional network, where their influence and impact will continue to grow.

Jackson said that obtaining her own doctorate has had an immeasurable effect on her life, and she hopes the Executive PhD can have the same effect for business leaders. “Being in an executive leadership position and having an impact on others is humbling and amazing," she said, "and it comes with a responsibility to make a difference. We want this program to prepare these students to truly fulfill that responsibility.”

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Explore more about how to elevate your impact with the Executive PhD

WPI alum Ron Welter explains why he decided to pursue the Executive Phd in The Business School, which, upon completion, will be his fourth degree from WPI. 

Experts in this Story

Diane M. Strong

Diane M Strong

Professor & Department Head

WPI provides an environment that values both teaching and research, which is ideal for me. I enjoy teaching at WPI because students are interested in learning and willing to work hard. My teaching focuses on how business, healthcare, and nonprofit organizations can best use computing technologies, such as database systems, electronic health records systems, and mobile apps. Students in my classes learn to design computing applications that meet the needs of organizations.

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Media Contact
Jack Levy
Senior Public Relations Manager
508-831-6486
jlevy2@wpi.edu