Jason Altmire speaks to a classroom full of people.

What you can do with a DBA

Students and business professionals enroll in the University of Florida Warrington College of Business’s Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program for any number of reasons. Many intend to use their doctorate to attain academic jobs or further their research, but that’s not the only path. Some undertake their doctorate to help them succeed in C-suite roles or as financial advisors, asset managers, entrepreneurs and more.

Jason Altmire

Jason Altmire shares career and academic insights.

Jason Altmire (DBA ’20) is among those who opted for the professional track. A former congressman, Altmire gained interest in Warrington’s DBA program when he published a book about political polarization in 2017. Incorporating research and data into his book, Dead Center: How Political Polarization Divided America and What We Can Do About It, inspired him to turn his career toward leadership in higher education.

“Ironically, just as I was finishing my DBA and preparing to graduate after defending my dissertation, I was approached about a CEO role at a national association representing higher education members,” Altmire recounted. “I don’t know if the DBA was a deciding factor, but it certainly didn’t hurt as I went through a long interview process and got the job.”

In his current role as president and CEO of Career Education Colleges and Universities, the national trade association representing private postsecondary career schools, Altmire is using the skills he learned in the DBA program to conduct analysis and research that is critical for the organization’s members. His doctorate also comes in handy while teaching a course in healthcare management at Texas Tech University.

This spring, Altmire spoke at a symposium hosted by the Warrington College of Business about how a DBA can prepare students for whatever track their career will take, be it in business or academia. Also at the event were Joey Smith (DBA ’22), Inga Moffitt (DBA ’22), Eddie Sanchez (DBA ’19), Jim Hoover (DBA ’17) and Jennifer Cainas (DBA ’17), who used her DBA to elevate her teaching career at the University of South Florida to become its associate dean.

Jennifer Cainas

Jennifer Cainas discusses how her degree impacted her career.

Cainas had already been teaching at USF for 10 years before pursuing her DBA. Immediately after graduating, she was promoted to a clinical position and transitioned into her administrative role as associate dean of the university’s business college in 2022. With her extensive education and experience as a professor, Cainas brings her own practical experience as a Certified Public Accountant to the classroom, where she has received many teaching awards for her courses in accounting.

“I believe the DBA program is extremely beneficial to individuals looking to expand their careers, whether in academia or business,” she said. “Students learn applied research skills from some of the top academics in the world, transitioning from business leaders to business scholars. And you will make some lifelong friends!

“It is a challenging program, but worth the sacrifice.”

Although DBA students are required to write a dissertation, like PhD students, the DBA program takes a more hands-on approach than your typical doctoral program. Where most doctoral programs center around developing theory, DBA students get to focus on solving practical business problems, instead.

“The goal of the Warrington DBA program is to integrate the theory and practice of business within the context of current issues faced by the business world,” said Warrington’s Hyatt and Cici Brown Chair in Business, Philip Podsakoff. “The UF DBA program helps candidates develop proficiency in applied research by improving their methodological and analytical skills while working alongside world class faculty in the college. Regardless of whether the students plan on transitioning into the academic world or not, a major benefit of the program is that it sharpens their analytical and critical thinking skills to enable them to make better decisions in their jobs, and to gain the credibility they need to influence others.”

Working alongside some of the most influential scientists in the world, students can expect to gain the skills they need to reach the next stage of their career. Climbing the corporate or academic ladder isn’t easy, but as one of the top universities in the nation, the University of Florida will help aspiring professionals get where they want to be.