Organic Mentorship: DBA Provides Natural Structure for Supportive Culture

Thursday, August 30, 2018
Introducing the 2021 Class of DBA Scholars

Let’s face it:  any doctoral program will be rigorous.  This includes the Belk College of Business Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA).  The select few who accept this challenge are top quality, with firm resolve, aggressive goals, and a driving purpose.  Often, a professional of this caliber is independent enough to tackle challenges alone when necessary; however, they also respect the benefits of teamwork, guidance, and a support structure.

The Belk College DBA offers just that:  a support structure that, interestingly, is evolving naturally on its own. As the incoming scholars of the Belk College DBA began this summer, faculty and staff began to watch a noticeable development:  the inaugural cohort (now in their second year of coursework) has taken the incoming scholars under their collective wing. Relationships began immediately, and guidance was freely shared. It is evolving as an organic mentorship, which will prove to benefit both cohorts.  As a growing number of professionals across our region are choosing to apply to the Belk College DBA, this unplanned support structure is expected to flourish as the numbers continue to increase.

Welcome to the newest DBA cohort

This new class of DBA scholars began their journey this summer, working toward their doctoral degree.  During their 3-year program, these incoming scholars will benefit from the focus areas of research methodology, seminars in applied research and a dissertation.  Belk College faculty and staff, as well as existing scholars, welcome these newest DBA professionals.


Click to learn more about each scholar.

Culture of Support Began From Day One

Knowing the overall program is extensive and rigorous, the scholars were eager to begin with a strong start during the first weekend of classes in July.  The new 2018 cohort were greeted by the second year scholars who shared program tips, helped them make connections and introduced newcomers to faculty and staff.   Both groups of professionals shared a high level of energy and enthusiasm, realizing that they are all eager to take what they learn and apply it to their respective professions.  A combined lunch between the cohorts allowed for even further exchange, creating a natural setting for the more senior group to guide and encourage the newcomers into the program.  The first cohort will be incredibly valuable as a resource to the incoming class, and they have already begun to naturally evolve into the role of mentors, developing a close and organic relationship between the two classes.

Broad and diverse professional backgrounds strengthen the program

The new cohort consists of 25 new scholars from a range of industries and career levels.  The disciplines and roles vary greatly, from CPA to JD to Banking AVP. Increasingly, talent is coming to the program from across the U.S., from as far away as Illinois and Arizona.  However, like other world-class programs, these scholars all share high levels of experience and expertise in their own fields.

This extensive foundation of professional experience provides the students an even stronger program, lending each other an exponentially larger environment for thought leadership.  The Belk College DBA was created for professionals who want to enhance their leadership expertise through the challenges that are inherent to this type of forum. This model allows them to approach business problems with a higher level of holistic and strategic consideration.

DBA continues to grow in size, momentum and respect

Not only is the program proving strong currently, it is also gaining momentum.  As top professionals are already reserving their seats in future cohorts, the program continues to earn its increasing recognition across the nation.   Reginald Silver, DrPH and DBA Program Director, shares, “We have had tremendous demand for this program. The interest is so strong that we are talking with many qualified prospective students for future years.”  

Another reason for the growing respect of the program stems from the partnership with local industry.  Belk College is proud of its deep relationships with the Charlotte business community, just another element that distinguishes the Belk College of Business DBA. The program was developed in partnership with the industry leaders to address an unmet need in the Carolinas: a premier business degree taught in an executive format. The recognition, reputation and quick success of this program is clearly a product of that partnership.

The Belk College congratulates all DBA scholars on their hard work and their supportive environment.

DBA scholar enjoys an “unplanned benefit”

Like many of the Belk College programs, the DBA creates many environments and opportunities for the scholars to build their network, opening new doors to significant connections.  Recently, a Belk College DBA scholar from the inaugural cohort, Sue Collins, shared her own summer experience:


“The UNC Charlotte Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) program offers many benefits for interaction with leaders in the community. One invitation was to the Charlotte Business Journal’s 2018 Mid-Year Economic Outlook. Unexpectedly, the opportunity turned into a candid conversation with the CEO of my firm, Roger Ferguson, who was there to participate in a panel discussion. We discussed what I do at TIAA, my dissertation topic, and the accomplishments and dedication of my teammates for a recent milestone. Without a doubt, it was an unplanned benefit afforded to me because of UNC Charlotte, and for that I am grateful. What I took away from this event was the ability to envision what is at the end of this doctoral journey and the opportunity for daily conversations with C-Level leaders in the boardroom and future leaders in the classroom."  - Suzanne M. Collins, IT Program Manager, TIAA Bank, DBA, ‘20

About the Belk College Doctorate in Business Administration

The first of its kind in the Carolinas, the DBA is a three-year program consisting of 18 three-credit courses taught over one weekend per month at UNC Charlotte Center City, located in the heart of Uptown Charlotte. The curriculum has three major components: Research Methodology, Seminars in Applied Research and Dissertation.  

The Doctorate in Business Administration at UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business opens three primary career paths that expand your horizons across the entire business landscape:

Corporate Consulting - Strategize the models, algorithms and systems that install significant change across an organization.

Business School Professor - Create a managerial tree that improves the world of business with every graduating class.

Corporate Change Agent - Address complex business challenges and inspire as a thought leader in your field.

As the region’s only urban research university, UNC Charlotte and the Belk College of Business are a driving force and partner in the economic growth of the greater Charlotte region when it comes to research. The Belk College of Business helps address major business challenges by developing top-tier talent through our DBA and other nationally ranked academic programs.

Visit for more information about the program.