From auditor to professor: A CPA pursues a DBA
After 30 years of working in finance for small companies, banks, the government and even the FBI, Christina Gehrke was ready for a change of pace. As a CPA with extensive experience in auditing, she had a lot to offer.
After finishing her MBA in 2001, she began teaching auditing and accounting classes part time. Then, when the bank she was working at merged with another one, she had the opportunity to stop and consider what she truly wanted to do.
“I want to eventually leave the corporate world and teach full time,” Christina said. “I used to joke with my teenage son, ‘If you don’t go to college, I’m going to take that money and go get my doctorate.’ After I left the bank, my son told me, ‘Why don’t you go to school and get that doctorate you’ve been talking about?’ Since I want to have teaching as a semi-retirement job, I thought a Doctor of Business Administration would open more doors.”
Pursuing a Doctor of Business Administration
Christina is now working as an executive at Sound Community Bank, as a part-time program director for City University of Seattle’s Master of Professional Accounting, and is a doctoral student. The ability to balance her responsibilities and manage her time is important to her.
“If it wasn’t for it being online, I couldn’t be in the DBA program, but because it is I can really make it fit my schedule and I don’t have to choose between work and school,” Christina said. “I know a lot of fellow students couldn’t pursue the degree if it wasn’t online.”
In addition to the DBA program’s online format, its structure makes it more manageable for people who are working.
“The program is set up so you don’t have to leave your day job just so you can be successful as a student,” Christina said. “A lot of full-time workers bring valuable experience into the program and it enriches the learning of everyone involved.”
Planning to teach abroad
After she finishes her doctorate, Christina plans to pursue additional and longer term international teaching opportunities.
“I’ve taught classes in China and Mexico for CityU, but in some countries having a doctorate will open more doors,” Christina said. “The DBA makes sense for those who do not want to be a tenured professor tied to a single university, and it’s also a good credential for independent consulting work.”
Christina is now halfway through her DBA coursework, and says that it’s preparing her with the knowledge and skills she’ll need to be successful in future endeavors.
“The faculty is really knowledgeable and professional,” Christina said. “CityU really cares about its students and wants them to be successful. Advisors really care and go out of their way to make sure students have what they need to succeed.”