Choosing a DBA Over a PhD and The Start to a New Career – Sushant Rajput’s (DBA Intake of 2021) SPJ Journey

We often encounter the urge to complete our academic journeys with a PhD. Sushant Rajput was no different. To become a successful researcher and academician, he was convinced that a PhD would land him at his destination until he came across SP Jain’s Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program.

Weighing the pros and cons, he realised his impulsive need to pursue a ‘second career’ with a DBA and finally accomplish his research goals. How has the SPJ journey been for him so far? How is it different from the other research programs?

We caught up with Sushant to learn more about his SP Jain’s DBA journey. Let’s take a look.

Q. Could you tell us about your academic and professional background?

I have completed my MBA (Marketing & Systems) from Karnataka University and graduated in Computer Science. I have over 18 years of corporate experience and have undertaken various roles in the ITES industry across Investment Banking/Asset Management operations, Business Development, Consulting, Transitions and Business Transformation.

I was associated with Societe Generale (SG GSC), Cognizant Technology Solutions and Deutsche Bank (DSL Software Ltd) and am currently associated with HCL Technologies Ltd. My core experience spans across helping global organisations in identifying right-shore opportunities, business process migrations and working alongside Automation teams to help transform or digitise client’s business processes.

Q. How did you decide to enrol in a DBA program at this stage in your career?

My interest and fascination with teaching and research amplified while studying for my MBA. My career plan was to gain substantial industry experience (15-20 years) and then fulfil my passion for becoming part of the academic fraternity. Currently, most management institutions consider doctorates (industry professional or academician) more worthy for academic and research roles. This led me to enrol on SP Jain’s DBA program. Along with my strong industry experience and DBA degree, I would be able to shape my future career in Academics and Research.

Q. Why did you choose the SP Jain DBA?

There are broadly three reasons to choose SP Jain:

1. Course Structure and duration of study – Before 2020, I had applied for a PhD program at three other institutions/universities but couldn’t get admission as each demanded a full-time research scholar and very minimal preference for a working executive.

The experience at SP Jain was rather different. The DBA program holistically covers all aspects of a doctoral program and is specific to Business Management. This helps management professionals accumulate knowledge about their field of work. Alongside, the duration of study for this course allows a student to complete their degree in three years, which helps achieve further goals swiftly.

2. Institute of Repute – Having read and heard from various sources about the unique ways in which students are guided and directed to achieve their academic goals and diverse student profiles from different industries and geographies, quality of education is among the best when compared across other known educational institutions in India and overseas. Finally, globally recognised accreditations and faculty with rich academic/industry experience drove me to consider SP Jain.

3. Build your second career – During interviews for admission to PhD programs, I had heard about how the course would help enhance knowledge, while it was during SP Jain’s DBA interview that Dr A Seetharaman provided a very interesting perspective for doing a DBA, i.e. “Second Career” – it should not be an extension of what we have been doing till date, but it should help direct us in looking for a shift in career. This was my primary reason for pursuing a DBA.

Q. What was the admission and interview process like?

I was elated in 2021 when I received the offer for selection into the DBA program. It wasn’t easy to get a straight admission. The overall admission process was seamless, from the informative session organised by the institute to providing the required details and clarification of the course right up till the onboarding process.

The interview schedule was adjusted based on my request (due to professional commitments). This interview gave me the confidence to enrol at the right place, especially after interacting with Dr A Seetharaman and Dr K Maddulety.

During the interview, the focus was more on my professional achievements than academic prowess (which I observed in the selection process of other PhD programs). Interviewers expected my commitment (time and energy) and dedication to completing the course. This gave me the necessary reassurance of being able to complete my degree within the planned timeline. The onboarding formalities with required administrative support were round the clock (literally) and had no logistical challenges in getting admitted.

Q. Who’s your mentor, and how are they helping you with your research and thesis?

Dr A Seetharaman and Dr K Maddulety are hands down the best mentors any doctoral student would be blessed to have. Both these experts have provided the required help and support throughout my coursework. The platform was aptly set during unit one of the course work, where we began thinking about possible areas of research.

We were provided with the right tools and templates that helped narrow a research topic by the end of the unit. In subsequent units, we were guided to take the same research topic to apply learnings of other units and also got hands-on experience by completing assignments on the same topic.

These experts are miles away from us, but they have always been available for a call or discussion whenever needed (irrespective of the time zone) to clarify and finish our work/assignments/course work. After completion of my course work, I can confidently state that the subsequent actual research will be smoother as most of the groundwork has already been completed through timely support from my mentors.

Q. How do you think this program will help you professionally?

My ultimate goal after completing the DBA is to shift my career into full-time teaching assignments, partner with academicians for research, and contribute to the marketing field. Eventually, this course will help provide avenues to become part of a new industry (academics) than just continue being professionally associated with the IT/ITES industry. 

Q. What do you plan to do after graduation?

My short-term goal (less than two years) is to be associated with MBA institutes in teaching (visiting/guest faculty), mentoring and partnering with academicians for research. My long-term goal (after two years) is to take up full-time teaching and research assignments at management institutions.

Wish to read more stories from SP Jain’s DBA students and alumni? Click Here

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