College of Business and Economics

DBA Spotlight: Amelia Russo

January 31, 2017

Written by Dana Krems | Photo by Craig Schreiner

Amelia Ruzzo has spent nearly 20 years with companies in high-tech industries such as defense, mining, information technology, industrial automation and scientific research. Reflecting on what she had achieved in her career and what she aspired to do in the future, she realized her goals centered on teaching and motivating others and that she wanted to transition to an academic career.

Having held high-level executive roles in fast-paced, high-stress environments, Amelia felt prepared for the rigors of the DBA program. That said, the sheer volume of reading and other coursework required was overwhelming at times. Describing her survival strategy, she shared, “Learn how to tread water. You have to identify what’s most pertinent and critical, because you won’t be able to do absolutely everything.”

In addition to coping strategies, she has relied on a tremendous support network that includes her husband, who also works in defense contracting in the greater Washington, D.C. area, as well as her fellow cohort members, whom she holds in very high regard.

Her confidence shines through on the subject of her dissertation, “Using the Gold Lease Rate as a Risk-Free Rate,” which was largely inspired by her experience working for a gold mining company and observations of the federal government’s struggle to stimulate the economy. When Amelia defended her proposal, she emphasized, “It is extremely important to have more reliable macroeconomic models that help guide our policymakers and chief economists.”

Amelia earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, majoring in management of computer systems. She followed this with a Master of Science in management of technology from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Describing the DBA faculty at UW-Whitewater, she said, “The faculty is first class. They are interesting, current and articulate.”

She related that the experience as a whole had been a long, but satisfying journey. She elaborated, “The DBA program has been extremely rewarding because it accelerates learning by exposure to advanced research techniques that involve drawing from a student’s previous professional involvement.”

Like many endings, the completion of the DBA journey will mark an exciting new beginning. Amelia intends to embark on a new career in academia or government to leverage her advanced researching skills.

UW-Whitewater’s AACSB-accredited Doctorate of Business Administration program is a professional doctorate that enables students to develop in-depth expertise in a specific business area. The DBA is a 60-credit program offered using a cohort model where students attend classes one weekend each month for two years, followed by a year of dissertation work.