Aston Business School – Doctor of Business Administration – John Blakey


John Blakey: My name’s John Blakey. I’m studying in the DBA programme at Aston
Business School. I’m an executive coach to CEOs and keynote
speaker and an author. A DBA is a Doctor in Business Administration
so I think many people have heard of the MBA — the DBA is the next rung on the ladder
of management education, so it’s the equivalent of a PhD, so I will be able to call myself
“Dr. John Blakey” at the end of my DBA. And the DBA allows you to focus on a specialist’s
niche of business education and become a thought leader in a particular topic. Dr. Ann Davis: It’s a great way of learning
while you’re carrying out your day job. It relates directly to the day job. You can make the links between the theory
and practice. You can perhaps also use it to route into
a different career. John Blakey: The DBA is suited for self-motivated,
driven, experienced business leaders who want to challenge themselves intellectually to
go to the next level. So my DBA topic is trust and, in particular,
how CEOs build trust in a world where nothing can be hidden. Once your research area is clear, Aston will
match you with a supervisor or a supervisory team who has specialist’s knowledge in your
area of research. So I was matched with Dr. Ann Davis and she
challenges me and supports me to try and keep me intellectually honest in terms of doing
the work that I need to do. Dr. Ann Davis: We’ve tried to put together
supervision packages that cover a variety of areas of research activities, so you may
have one supervisor who is focused on the particular field of research that you’re doing. You may have another supervisor who is perhaps
more focused on the particular methodologies that you want to do. John Blakey: I decided to do my DBA at Aston
because I knew of its reputation, I knew of its international standing in terms of its
research capabilities. It ticked a lot of boxes for me. Part of the experience of doing a DBA is that
you’re part of a cohort of students who are researching with you on the programme. And those students come from many different
business sectors, many different parts of the world, and they’re an inspirational group
of peers. We get speakers invited to come address us
from many different parts of the world, many different business schools, all of whom have
been experts in that doctorate research programme. What the DBA has developed in me is that attention
to detail, that real grasp of becoming an expert in a topic. So it’s made me question things, it’s made
me analyse arguments at a deeper level. One of my aims in doing the DBA was to publish
a book on leadership and I originally planned to write the book after I’d completed the
programme but halfway through the programme I was approached by a publisher who wanted
to publish the work based on the research that I’d done. So I wrote the book and that book was shortlisted
for The Chartered Management Institute’s Book of the Year. It also led to me being named as one of the
top 100 local thought leaders in trust by Trust Across America. So all of a sudden it catapulted me into the
limelight in terms of thought leadership. Peter Moores: I think since John wrote his
book, it’s made quite a big difference to him because it’s focused him on what’s really
important, what makes the biggest difference. And going through the whole journey of it
has brought him out of himself. John Blakey: I knew that if I wanted to make
an impact in the world of leadership, I knew I needed to have that real, substantive research
behind my work. Dr. Ann Davis: He is now identified as a world-renowned
expert in trust as a result of the first study that he did for his DBA. Peter Moores: When John works with me or anybody
else, the basis of what he’s saying is “come on, stretch yourself. What do you really want to do?” The fact that John committed himself to such
a challenging course which would give him so much back says something about him, I think. And I think he’s gotten it all back. John Blakey: 7 years ago I wasn’t delivering
keynote speaker sessions at leadership conferences, I didn’t have two best-selling leadership
books to my name, and I wasn’t working with the calibre of clients that I am working with
now. None of that would’ve been possible without
doing the DBA, so it’s been the passport for me into the next stage of my career and it
has changed my life in that respect. It’s been hard work but I wanted that challenge
and its definitely given me everything that I expected.

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