College of Business and Economics

DBA Spotlight: John Muraski

February 21, 2017

Written Dana Krems | photo by Craig Schreiner

Seven years ago, the 30-person consulting practice John Muraski co-owned was helping a professional sports organization create its vision statement. Inspired to define his own vision, he realized his path would lead to academia when that statement became, “To engage, educate and enable others.”

John decided to take a year off from consulting to teach at the university level. He began as an adjunct professor at UW-Oshkosh and transitioned to full-time lecturer soon after, but he quickly realized his potential would be limited without a terminal degree. After researching Ph.D. programs, he knew he could not commit to a full-time, onsite program for several years. Frustrated and at a crossroads, John was relieved to learn that the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater was launching a cohort model Doctorate of Business Administration program that was designed to only take three years.

Though he considered learning to be a hobby and described himself as a lifelong learner, the program truly challenged John. In fact, he called the pursuit his “personal Mount Everest.” He routinely put in about 40 hours of work a week during the first year of coursework, but whittled this down to 30 hours a week in the second year.

John was surprised by how much he continued to learn during the dissertation process. In addition to refining his writing skills, he has been learning theory and methodology. And although he checks in with his DBA mentor weekly, the dissertation process is completely self-directed, requiring greater self-discipline.

He admitted that he could not have persevered without the whole-hearted love, support and tolerance of his family. John explained, “It’s tough and it’s rigorous. It’s not just another master’s degree or a series of courses you take.” He stressed, “You aren’t there to receive. You’re there to contribute and lead. You’re taught how to create knowledge. Above and beyond good learning skills, you need to acquire good leadership skills.”

He added that he wouldn’t have been successful without the exceptional DBA faculty at UW-Whitewater. He explained, “They push you. They take your brain out for a test drive and it’s supposed to be tough. But they also want to enable you to succeed.”

John’s cohort has also been integral to his success. A number of the DBA students stayed on campus or in town during the session weekends. As a result the group cooked together, went out together and formed a strong support network. In fact, he felt that those who went home in the evenings may have missed the full benefit of an intensive, immersive learning environment with fewer outside distractions.

When asked for words of advice to anyone considering a DBA, he shared, “The DBA isn’t a mountain you climb because it’s there. It’s a pinnacle of learning how to learn. It’s a pinnacle of being a social scientist. You need to have a desire to learn, commitment to follow through, and belief that you can succeed.”

John looks forward to reaching the summit of this academic challenge and living out his vision of engaging, educating and enabling others.

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.