DBA Grad BJ Dunne Learns to Question


B.J. Dunne joined the Marines at age 17 and served in an artillery combat unit for four years. Completing his Bachelor of Business degree (summa cum laude) and MBA from Western Illinois University, Macomb, Ill., he was recruited by John Deere to work in their Corporate Supply Management group. Eight years later, Dunne looks forward to a long career with the global leader in agriculture and construction equipment.

In December 2013, Dunne completed his Doctor of Business Administration degree at St. Ambrose.

Why did you decide to earn your doctorate?
"A colleague from work mentioned the program as he was preparing for the comprehensive exams. I was intrigued because I always assumed it would be necessary to quit work in order to complete my doctorate. After reviewing the DBA coursework and structure, I liked the idea of returning to a learning environment and became really excited for the challenge. I honestly didn't know if I could balance work and life with the demands of the program until my first semester was completed. After that, I knew the DBA was going to be a rewarding experience that would be worth the significant effort required."

How has your service as a Marine influenced your work or studies?
"My experience in the Marines changed my entire outlook on education. First, I discovered that classwork and exams are positive outlets for someone who is highly competitive. I found that learning and testing was something I really enjoyed and seemed to be good at. Oddly, this was not something I had any interest in during grade school or high school. After the Marines, I brought my new scholarly competitive drive to my college experience — and it was one of the keys to my success. Secondly, the Marines instilled in me a work ethic and drive that I simply didn't possess as a teenager. If I would have gone to college immediately after high school, I believe I would have performed poorly without the tools and desire necessary to do well."

What are you passionate about?
"I am passionate about learning new things, especially in areas where I have little experience. This passion leads me to discuss the things I've learned with others and share my enthusiasm. Eventually, I would like to teach evening/weekend college courses. I think that opportunity would be a fantastic experience."

How have you changed?
"Although it may sound trivial, I think one of the most significant changes I experienced as a result of the DBA program is a new tendency to question the accepted norm. A practical application of this comes when reading textbooks or journals. Commonly, individuals accept that if something is published, it must be indisputable fact. As a student, I learned to question the presented theory, method and results. I think graduates can also take that practice into the business world, to challenge the status quo."

What are three words someone would use to describe you?
"(I was told to write) hard-working, attentive and amusing."

What about you might surprise people?
"I am more of a cat guy than dog guy. I have had a playful boy-cat for 10 years, and he has moved with me all over the place. I recently got married and introduced the poor little guy to three new kitty-sisters belonging to my wife. 'The boys of the family' were definitely overwhelmed at first!"


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