Why I chose to study a DBA at Warwick Business School

10 May 2022

Alforde Charumbria shares why he decided to join the Doctor of Business Administration programme and his experience on the course so far. 

My name is Alforde. I was born in Chiredzi, a small sugar cane farming town in the South-East of Zimbabwe. I have lived in South Africa for a number of years, having studied at the University of Cape Town. Cape Town is also where my career began, starting off in finance, on the backdrop of my finance and accounting degree, before I pivoted into what I am really passionate about - social innovation. I hold an MBA from the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business and a Masters in Social Innovation from Cambridge Judge Business School amongst other academic qualifications. I am a Social Investment and Impact Strategist, Entrepreneur and Investor. I am also an Incubator/Start-up support enthusiast. I combine my business school undergraduate degree, background in finance and business, learnings from the MBA, my Masters in Social Innovation and most importantly my learnings and research on the Doctor of Business Administration programme, with a deep passion for helping global underserved communities. I advise and consult for multi-national organisations on social investment and ESG strategies to achieve sustainable solutions to the world's 'wicked' problems. I also work on Incubation/Start-up support programs across the United States, South America, Africa and Europe in various capacities.

Post my Masters in Social Innovation, I had been exploring academic opportunities to further my research on some of the issues that came to the fore during my Masters level studies. I had this burning desire to find answers to some of the issues that we were grappling with in my organisation and work environment. Particularly issues around impact investing and its intersection with social entrepreneurship and underserved communities. I am fascinated by this area of work and study because I genuinely believe that there is a lot of untapped potential to solve some of the world’s most ‘wicked’ problems through social innovation if we can find a way for impact investors, social entrepreneurs and underserved communities to effectively work together. I considered different schools before choosing Warwick Business School (WBS) and the DBA programme. I chose WBS because of their world class institution reputation as well as the fantastic subject matter experts, practitioners and professors that I would be able to interact with and learn from. The DBA from WBS also fit my circumstances and reasons for further study perfectly. I could keep working, research an area that would directly impact my work and my organisation, test and apply learnings in the work environment in real time, while at the same time contributing to the body of knowledge. Of course, there is the added benefit of experiencing Coventry and London life from time to time.

Although I am only still in my first year, the world class faculty, interaction with professors and subject matter experts and even more importantly the interaction with a diverse group of fellow students, not just from my cohort, but from different cohorts as well; have been the highlights of my time on the DBA programme so far. The high calibre of students on the DBA programme brings diverse and international perspectives to business and managerial issues. I am very grateful for the opportunity to hear what my fellow students are doing and have meaningful discussions about not only what we are studying and the common experiences we share, but also hearing about some of the challenges they face in their work environments and communities and how they are tackling those challenges. All of this combined with what has been an amazing experience exchanging knowledge, insights and sometimes debating with my supervisor and other professors, has really had a fantastic impact on me as an individual and my work. I can see my understanding and knowledge deepening and am definitely starting to see that the DBA will have a positive impact on my career. I feel that this will be an exceptionally rewarding journey not only for me, but for the organisations I work with and the communities I am involved in as well. The contribution to both academia and practice will be enormous.

Of course, with part-time studying comes the challenge of trying to fit the workshops and study time into an already busy schedule. I am still navigating this and anticipate that it will evolve over time. What has worked for me this far is establishing a routine and sticking to it. Open communication with family, friends and colleagues has also been helpful in terms of setting realistic expectations about social time, which has helped with freeing up time for my DBA work. If I am to give any advice to prospective students at this stage of my DBA, it would be if you are thinking about studying the DBA at Warwick Business School, DO IT. For me, it has been a highly rewarding experience.

 To find out more about the DBA programme please see here.

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