Doctoral Career Pathways Conference: Featured Career Story

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Career Services hosted a four-hour Doctoral Career Pathways Conference on September 19, 2019, which explored six common career pathways for doctoral students. As a contribution to the conference, several students and alumni shared their career stories and advice for applying doctoral skills in the workplace. The following career story features an interview with Dr. Andria Coleman, a DBA alumna with experience in leadership and consulting.

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Dr. Andria Coleman

Career progression:
I started working at an insurance company after college and earned an undergraduate degree in business, then earned my master’s in nutrition. I became a Registered Dietician and, after three years, I advanced into a Clinical Nutrition Manager role. I received an MBA and shortly advanced into my current role as a Food and Nutrition Operations Manager at a hospital system.

Professional and academic skills I gained during my doctoral program:
As a part of my DBA program, I completed a doctoral consulting capstone project where a gained consulting experience and learned how to use a consulting framework to improve performance. I learned how to evaluate an organization’s processes, apply analytical skills, and identify critical areas for performance improvement. Specific skills I gained were how to apply a balanced score card and the Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework, a specific leadership and performance framework that was new for me. My doctoral program taught me how to interact with clients to build relationships and trust, and how to come together for the common goal of performance improvement.

Using doctoral skills in the workplace:
My doctoral program helped me take on additional leadership roles. Within my organization, I participate in several Food and Nutrition quality groups and I am also a Zero Employee Harm coach. Outside the organization, I participate on two quality improvement committees. I am a National Baldrige Examiner and a National Quality Examiner. In my organization, part of my role centers around performance improvement and my participation as a Quality Examiner and Baldrige Examiner have helped institutions become more efficient and effective.

Advice for Walden students and alumni:

1) Think about how you can apply the skills you gain (e.g. analytical, writing, and time management skills) in the workplace to improve processes and make a difference.
2) Commit yourself to social change and social justice – don’t be afraid to try something new during your doctoral program.

Missed the live Doctoral Career Pathways Conference program? Access the full conference recordings here and read additional career stories in the Pathways Guide.

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in the Doctoral Career Pathways Guide in September of 2019.