Ekin Pellegrini represents UMSL DBA program on Executive DBA Council board

A group of UMSL DBA students attended the 2019 EDBAC Engaged Management Scholarship Conference in Belgium. Ekin Pellegrini (standing, sixth from left) serves as treasurer on the EDBAC board. (Photo courtesy of the Doctor of Business Administration program)

Most days, the U.S. Bank Executive Education Room in Anheuser-Busch Hall is quiet, the large screen and empty chairs only hinting at the innovative ideas produced there. On select weekends, though, it comes alive when top executives from across the country converge to create research that’s making the business world take notice.

Barely two years since its founding, the Doctor of Business Administration program at the University of Missouri–St. Louis College of Business Administration has already earned significant recognition and ranks as a top 16 DBA program in the U.S. and a top 26 program internationally, according to CEO Magazine.

Now there’s a new accolade on the list: representation on the Executive DBA Council board.

Ekin Pellegrini, founding director of the DBA program and associate professor of global leadership and management at UMSL, was named treasurer in the summer 2019.

Ekin Pellegrini, EDBAC board treasurer, enjoys a networking event at the 2019 Engaged Management Scholarship Conference. (Photo courtesy of the Doctor of Business Administration program)

“The UMSL DBA is on their radar, and they want us to be part of the group that shapes what a DBA looks like,” she said. “It’s incredible.”

EDBAC is the primary point of contact for DBA programs throughout the world, setting the degree’s strategic direction and approving new member programs. Currently, almost 60 colleges are members of the organization. Nine universities have representatives on the board – three from Europe and six from the United States.

“In the summer, I heard that I was elected to the board, and I was proud,” Pellegrini said. “These are really the best DBA programs in the world guiding all other DBA programs. UMSL is sitting on the board with Georgia State University and Case Western Reserve University.”

Pellegrini has played an integral role in the program since its founding. When the idea for a new degree was first mentioned, she researched DBAs throughout the world, particularly in Europe, where the programs are more common.

She was already familiar with the degree thanks to her time at Bosphorus University in Turkey, where she earned a BA in sociology. It was followed by an MS in Management from the University of Florida and a PhD in business administration from the University of Miami.

Today, she directs the DBA program’s three cohorts and 44 students. She will soon be joined by John Meriac, who is set to become a member of the program’s leadership team as the academic director in January. The first cohort, which launched in December 2017, is on track to graduate in December 2020 with a 100 percent retention rate.

“I would like to see the program grow because we have so much demand,” she said. “Right now, we are really on the radar. Our program is extremely visible and highly regarded. There’s so much growth potential.”

Pellegrini’s appointment to the board offers advantages for DBA candidates as well. A dozen UMSL students presented at the 2019 EDBAC Engaged Management Scholarship Conference in Antwerp, Belgium and were asked to submit their work for publication in a scholarly journal.

UMSL DBA student Bill Butler presents his research at the 2019 EDBAC Engaged Management Scholarship Conference. (Photo courtesy of the Doctor of Business Administration program)

“This honor provides us with access to engaged scholarship, collaboration and networking with other members of the council around the world,” said James Jordan Jr., a student in the 2020 DBA cohort. “With membership in the council, we have access to some of the best and brightest researchers in a variety of business areas. With that knowledge and the knowledge practitioners bring, we are poised to revolutionize how business is done throughout the world.”

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