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Originally from India, Ravi Tahilramani now lives in the United Arab Emirates where he works as a Customer Service Manager for Det Norske Veritas. Having gained a distinction in Information Technology through online studies with the University of Liverpool, Ravi is now pursuing a Doctor of Business Administration.

“The programme has changed my entire outlook towards life.”

What attracted you to studying online with the University of Liverpool for this doctorate?

Credibility, flexibility, and most of all - the programme structure, which I was familiar with through my masters in IT with the University of Liverpool.

Why did you choose to study for a professional doctorate instead of a PhD? For example, does it give you a higher return on investment or wider professional networking opportunities?

I did not aspire to be a professional researcher, but a researching professional, and I think that DBA is the right path to achieve this ambition.

At what stage are you in the programme and what have been the highlights and challenges so far?

I am presently in the seventh of nine taught modules, and have attended one of the face-to-face residency sessions, which will replace module eight. The programme has made me realise the significance and potential of critical reflection and double loop learning.

How are you expanding your international network by studying online for your DBA? Who are you interacting with in the online classroom? Where are they from, what do they do?

The diversity of my cohort brings an invaluable wealth of knowledge that wouldn't have been possible through conventional learning. I have interacted and established good rapport with fellow students from almost every habitable continent, they range from full time researchers to retired professionals.

How do you fit online study into your life? How does it work out in practice?

The asynchronous nature of the programme makes it flexible but it is not easy. One requires a lot of commitment and understanding not only personally but also from family and co-workers. I study almost every day of the week averaging from 25 to 30 hours of study per week.

What are your top tips for others?

Start your week early, especially the learning set discussions, which is where I think most of the dynamic learning occurs.

The DBA takes a Critical Action Learning approach that is unusual in the market. How have you experienced that as a student? Is it having a positive impact on you, personally or professionally? Is it changing your own management practice?

Both Critical Action Learning and the Action Research Approach have been among the best discoveries for me during the programme. Engaging into double loop learning has taught me to overcome assumptions and biases which in hindsight had been obstructing my learning and development both as a professional and as a human being.

Do you have an idea already of what you will research for your thesis? How will this topic help you as a manager and leader, or help increase your impact in your business or organisation?

I have a few ideas so far, and am still contemplating which one to pursue. Part of me wants to ask the following question to every stakeholder I know "If there’s one thing about our business that you would like to know and you don’t know, what would it be?", and then research upon the images and patterns that emerge out of the answers I receive.

You mentioned the DBA residency? What was it like?

I attended the first face-to-face session in Liverpool in March. The session primarily focused towards preparing us for the Doctoral Thesis, and aimed to give us a better understanding of research methodologies and tools. The final part of the face-to-face session will be a 6000 word conference paper which we will be presenting during the second session scheduled in October.

The experience of physically being in the red bricks of the University of Liverpool and being face-to-face with our professors and colleagues was really nice, as was the opportunity to meet some of the DBA students I had got to know online.

Complete this sentence: I would recommend the University of Liverpool because...

of the exceptional value and quality this esteemed institution provides towards learning.

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