Lead The Way with a DBA with University of Mary

4 mins read

Hear from two area professionals about the University of Mary’s online Doctor of Business Administration Program below. 

By Christian Weber, University of Mary Writing and Communications Specialist
Photo Courtesy of Mike McCleary, University of Mary Photographer

“When you think about it, three years is a long time. But it’s gone by so fast. I’ve enjoyed this experience immensely—making new connections with fantastic people, broadening my skillset and knowledge base, and working with outstanding faculty wo are accessible, knowledgeable, and supportive, all while gaining an edge in a volatile industry. It’s been a terrific experience all around.”

So said Marby Hogen, a full-time pharmaceutical sales representative in the process of earning her Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) from the University of Mary’s Gary Tharaldson School of Business.

Founded by the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery in 1959, the University of Mary exists to equip both traditional and adult learners for successful careers and fulfilling lives. The university’s ever-expanding catalog of degree offerings includes nearly 60 undergraduate majors, 17 master’s degrees, and 6 doctoral programs.

The Gary Tharaldson School of Business (GTSB), whose hotelier namesake holds the title of North Dakota’s only billionaire, integrates skills-focused classroom instruction with values-centered formation, one-on-one mentorship, and real-world learning experiences. Launched in January 2022, GTSB’s fully online DBA pathway exemplifies, according to program coordinator Dr. Jeff Moser, “our mission as a school is to form the whole student into an outstanding servant leader ready to make a genuine difference in the service of the common good.”

Marby first came to the University of Mary in the 1990s as a freshman literature major on a theatre scholarship. “Pursuing higher education has always been important to me,” she said. “I’ve always believed that education is something that lasts for life, something no one can take away from you.

By the time Marby graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in English four years later, this conviction of hers had only deepened. “I wanted to take the next step,” she recalled. “I’d always felt that business was everything—every field has something to do with business. So I decided to go for a master’s in management. Mary didn’t offer an MBA at the time, but I loved being on campus and wanted to stay for my graduate degree. That degree has translated into many, many opportunities for me.”

One of the most pivotal of those opportunities arose 22 years ago when Marby accepted her first sales position at a pharmaceutical company. Today, she advocates for people with diabetes, helping them collaborate with their providers to devise and implement effective, affordable treatment regimens. “I let patients know about great medications that will help them get their weight and A1C under control and reduce their cardiovascular risk,” she said. “Supporting people in that way brings me a lot of joy.”

Marby Hogen, who plans to complete her doctoral studies next spring, serves people with diabetes in her capacity as a pharmaceutical sales representative.

To position herself for further leadership opportunities in this vital area of expertise, Marby enrolled in the University of Mary’s DBA program. “Along with contributing to my sense of purpose and meaning in life, this path I’ve taken has been huge in terms of my career trajectory. Having a DBA shows that you’re so dedicated to what you do and so committed to your professional development that you spent three or more years becoming an expert in your area and challenging yourself to grow as a leader.”

A member of the program’s inaugural cohort, Marby expects to complete her dissertation and earn her doctorate this year. Her research interests reflect her heartfelt concern for people who struggle with weight and blood sugar control. “In my dissertation, I’m looking at the economic impact of obesity in the workplace,” she shared. “We have a serious health crisis in the United States—70% of our population is either overweight or obese. So I wanted to do my part to bring attention to how employers can help their employees prioritize their health and well-being.”

As for her post-graduation goals? “I love my work in pharmaceuticals with patients with diabetes. But in addition to that, I’ve always enjoyed teaching and mentoring, so that might be an opportunity in the future. There are so many incredible people at the University of Mary who have shown me the difference higher education can make, and I’d be honored to give back in that way.”

August Taylor works with the Mandan branch of the National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) as a talent acquisition associate, recruiting for a broad range of roles and cofacilitating bi-weekly onboarding sessions. His Master of Business Administration (MBA) coursework at the Gary Tharaldson School of Business sparked his interest in human resources management. “At NISC, recruiting is under our HR umbrella, what we call ‘people services.’ Plus, being familiar with policy and knowing the rules of the game has always appealed to me, so that’s why I focused on HR as I was getting my MBA. Having that background has made a massive difference for me in my current position.”

August Taylor, NISC Talent Acquisition Associate
An employee of the National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC), August Taylor (center) scouts talent for both "technical and non-technical" positions at the organization's Mandan location.

Only a few months after earning his MBA, August opened his inbox to find an opportune invitation. “[Dean of the Gary Tharaldson School of Business] Karel Sovak reached out to me when the DBA was launched. I had just finished my MBA, and I wanted to get a terminal degree, but I didn’t know the opportunity would come so soon. Ultimately, Karel’s pitch drew me in, and the timing was right for me and my family.”

For August, the program’s flexibility makes it an ideal choice for working professionals who prioritize family time. “The program’s really designed for someone who’s already set in their career. To be able to work full-time, spend evening with my wife and son, and then reach my educational goals at the same time has been such a big factor for me,” he said. “Along with that, I can weave what I do at NSIC during the day into my coursework at night, the same way my professors relate their real-world experience to what they’re teaching. I love making those connections.” 

Accordingly, like Marby’s, August’s dissertation research relates directly to his day-to-day work. “So many of our employees work from home,” he said. “I’m interested in how the sense of belonging differs between in-office and virtual employees in our organization and how feeling like you belong affects your job satisfaction. We already do an employee survey every year, so I have all the tools I need.”

“I’m going to compare us to other tech companies our size and see if there’s a correlation,” he added, his face lighting up. “I’m really excited to see how things work out.”

To learn more or inquire about the University of Mary’s Doctor of Business Administration program, please visit online umary.edu/DBA