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Instead of fighting fires, senior execs can manage change thanks to the DBA course

News Page 19th January 2017

With the relentless march of the digital revolution, the uncertainty of Brexit, increased overseas competition and ever-shrinking budgets, it’s fair to say UK plc is having to contend with some seismic changes to the business and political landscapes.

While the pressure may be on for senior executives to work out how to overcome these challenges, a firefighter from Northampton believes the solutions already exist.

After leaving school in the late-1980s, Shaun Hallam quickly progressed from a job in data processing for a parcel delivery company to computer programming. Despite his rapid progress, he became jaded with office life, and performed a startling career U-turn. In 1993, barely in to his 20s, Shaun signed up to be a firefighter in his native Northamptonshire.

As head of Business Service for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, along with being an operational fire officer, Shaun is a strategic manager at a very challenging time.

With principle roles including strategic planning, performance management, health and safety, programme management and governance, he signed up for a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) at the University of Northampton.

The DBA is an innovative doctoral degree that combines the academic rigour of a traditional PhD with the practical application to solve real and complex business problems, aimed at senior executives at the mid-to-late career stage.

“With so much change taking place in the UK, there’s no better time to study a DBA, it is this link between academic research and developing real practical solutions that is so important,” said Shaun.

“I genuinely believe it’s something for senior executives who are looking for a professional development programme that’s going to help them manage change and come up with solutions.

“I chose the DBA route instead of a PhD because it allows you to apply theory in your workplace. For example, I’m carrying out research on the importance of identity and how this links to organisational performance and the wellbeing of our staff, so important at this time of change. Academic research is one thing, but it is the ‘so what’ factor that is important to me.”

Shaun added: “Organisations know they have to change, for whatever reason, but don’t realise we have all the answers as to how we can do it. There is so much research out there which can apply to organisations’ own circumstances, it’s just a matter of tracking it down and applying it. It really is that simple, and it’s something that the DBA allows you to do.”

Another huge plus of the DBA for Shaun is the chance to meet people from other walks of life.

He said: “My fellow students are fantastic. They are all senior staff and because they come from different industries, they can offer a different insight into a problem you might encounter, you learn so much on the journey by working together.”

  • The University is holding a DBA open evening on Thursday 2 February, which will give you the chance to find out more about the course, speak to tutors and DBA students.
  • Find out more about the DBA by visiting the course page.


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