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Doctor of Business Administration

Paul Rouse ’04 DBA

President, Rouse Consulting Group, Inc.

"You can always push yourself harder. In my first semester, I didn't think it possible to work so hard. Initially, I dreaded the dissertation. But all the classes I took made it an enjoyable process. I was taught all the reading and research tools to complete it in a compact timeframe."

How to succeed

“The demands are great, but so are the rewards. Be committed, and do the work at a reasonable pace. Be prepared for a lot of writing and research."

After Paul received his bachelor's degree in management information systems and a MBA from the University of Iowa, he went on to earn his DBA with a focus in organizational behavior from St. Ambrose University. In 1995, he started Rouse Consulting Group, Inc., to provide managed services and IT solutions for small- and medium-sized businesses.

"In consulting and the IT world, anyone can say they're an IT consultant. It's not a regulated industry, like accounting or the law. The Ambrose DBA is a strategic advantage that differentiates my company and me. It demonstrates expertise to our clients."

In his own words

What was your dissertation topic?

Technology acceptance and sense making: exploring the antecedence and moderating trigger conditions related to perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use. I surveyed bank tellers. I found that acceptance of technology comes down to trigger conditions. If there were advantages to job security and the tellers had proper support and could locate things easily in the system, they were more receptive to new technology.

David O'Connell was a phenomenal guide and a natural choice as my chair. When he speaks, you gain a lot of insight. There was a lot of one-on-one time, thinking through the entire research process. I worked harder than I've ever worked, but he was so supportive. It was a great experience.

How have you applied what you learned?

The dissertation benefitted my own company. When we introduce new systems to our clients, there may be some change resistance. But if technology is perceived as useful and easy to use, they're more accepting of the change. It has also helped me to mentor my own employees. I tell them, "We can build the greatest system, but it will be a failure if the behavioral aspects aren't addressed." We engage clients on a business-level; our systems are not just for tech people.

What were your classmates like?

Our class supported each other. Six or seven of us formed a "freshmen" group. We spent a lot of time helping each other. Everyone came from different backgrounds, from macroeconomics to consultants. We provided each other with great insight to class topics.

How did you balance your work, personal and studying commitments?

For those five years, I had a very structured regimen. I worked during the day and went to class two nights a week and every night I read and studied my notes. On my off nights, I focused on family. The schedule tested my limits and served me well.

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