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Student Spotlight

NECB Student Spotlight: James Aiken Achieves Doctorate in Business Administration in Quality Systems Management (QSM)

by Stephanie Lines, Marketing Communications Manager
NECB DBA Student, James Aiken at Age 10.

NECB: Why did you decide to attend NECB?

James: Throughout my 30+ years working in the Federal and State government as well as the private sector, I have held positions of increasing responsibility. I’ve been responsible for making timely and effective business decisions through strategic planning, the implementation and evaluation of programs and policies all with the goal to drive tangible results.

I tell my students, “If you are learning then you are green and growing”. By obtaining my DBA in Quality Systems Management, I am also continuing to grow. I decided to attend NECB because I knew NECB would allow me to expand my analytical, interpersonal, organizational, and communication skills that I’ve developed over my 30+ years.

NECB: What advice would you give to someone who is considering going to NECB?

James: Go for it! NECB will give you the greatest return on your educational investment dollars.

NECB: What advice would you give to students to be successful with online learning? Any challenges you had to overcome? Or any misconceptions you had going in that turned out to be untrue?

James: As an older student, I attained my bachelor’s and master’s degrees at a traditional college. I remember I was once told, “Don’t attend an online school because they are not as well-received.” Well, I can personally attest that statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

Today, you’ll be hard pressed to find a “traditional educational institution” that doesn’t have an online component to it. NECB’s Doctorate program has exceptional professors with vast real-life expertise that they weave into their courses to add real-world context and application.

You will be challenged but your critical thinking skills will grow as a result of your professors challenging your thinking to see things from a different perspective.

NECB: How do you juggle / manage being a student while working and trying to balance everything? Any tips you can share with future / current NECB Students?

James: My advice is to make a plan for when you will study and complete coursework and then stick with it!

NECB: What was the #1 thing you’ll take away from your time at NECB?

James: My personal journey and growth at NECB. Even though NECB is 100% online, I have become great friends with some of my classmates.

NECB: What does graduating with your degree mean to you?

James: Unlike my bachelor’s or master’s degrees, which I achieved to help provide for my family, my DBA is all for me.

I believed I could improve Enterprise Architecture within the Federal Government and the NECB Doctoral (DBA) program helped me achieve this goal by guiding and shaping my research in this field.

As a result, I am the proud author of “Aiken Unifying Enterprise Architecture Framework” which has been copyrighted with the expectation of publishing late 2019 under the current working title of, “PROCESS IMPROVEMENT IN QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS: DETERMINING AN EFFECTIVE ENTERPRISE ARCHITECTURE FRAMEWORK FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.”

My hope is that by sharing this new body of research and knowledge, Federal Government agencies will be able to save millions of dollars.

NECB: What’s your goal(s) / plan(s) once you graduate?

James: I have two dream jobs that I’m aspiring to achieve! The first is to become a Chief Information Officer (CIO) for an organization using my newly developed skills and knowledge. The second is to teach and become a mentor to other DBA/PhD student candidates.

NECB: Have you noticed if the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired at NECB have helped with your performance at work? If so, how?

James: Yes! I decided to attend NECB because I knew NECB would allow me to expand my analytical, interpersonal, organizational, and communication skills developed over the pass 30+ years. And I was right, because I now use these skills and expertise every day to improve my performance at work.

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