Maury Kalnitz, left, and Lars Mathiassen are spearheading Robinson College's executive doctorate in business program.

While the global economy may provide U.S. companies with more opportunities, it also raises the complexity of doing business and increases the demand for executives who can resolve complex business problems.

Although Georgia State University’s new executive doctorate in business program is not the first of its kind either in the U.S. or abroad, the timing for the program’s launch has been ideal, according to Maury Kalnitz, its director.

With a career that encompassed almost 30 years with IBM Corp. including stints as head of development operations for IBM Europe and as head of the company’s health industry marketing for Asia/Pacific, he has been instrumental in developing the program that is in its second year at Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business.

“This degree is not tied to a specific discipline,” he told GlobalAtlanta. “It’s problem driven and it is cross-disciplinary.”

Mr. Kalnitz underscored this doctoral program to further develop the skills of executives who have been active in business and already have master’s of business administration or equivalent degrees and want to further develop their careers in industry.

He is a former managing director of the Orange, Calif.-based Executive MBA Council, an association of universities and colleges that offer executive master’s of business degree programs, and has studied the executive doctorates offered by business schools around the world.

Somewhat modeled on the well-known executive doctor of management program at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management, the Robinson degree is not focused on academia, although research and writing are critical elements.

The program, he said, is designed to develop leadership skills, to provide a background for dealing with global business issues and to use a variety of methods techniques for dealing with complex problems faced by a company.

“We provide methods of rigorous analysis that are different from acquiring knowledge for fields like finance and accounting,” he said.

The program draws on the experience of Georgia State’s business scholars who are actively involved including Lars Mathiassen, its academic director and co-founder of Robinson’s Center for Process Innovation.

Dr. Mathiassen also holds the title of eminent scholar at the Georgia Research Alliance, a non-profit that brings together the capabilities of Georgia’s research universities, business community and state government to create opportunities to grow Georgia’s economy through scientific discovery.

“Our program is based on the idea of engaged scholarship, in which researchers engage in real-world business situations, collaborate with the involved key stakeholders and contribute to practical problem solving,” Dr. Mathiassen said.

He added that there would be an emphasis on writing since the students’ research would be published as contributions to a growing professional literature. Two to three students are to work closely with a research professor before engaging in their individual dissertation research.

Also, he said, each student can choose to focus on qualitative, quantitative or mixed research methodologies in contrast to the Case Western program where students develop the dissertation over a three-year period by engaging in separate qualitative and quantitative studies.

V. Kumar, executive director of Robinson’s Center for Excellence in Brand and Customer Management and the college’s Richard and Susan Lenny Distinguished Chair in Marketing, also is playing a critical role in the program.

To date, the program has drawn 17 students with an average age of 46, who have had more than 20 years of work experience. Twenty-five percent are from Fortune 500 companies, another 25 percent from independent companies and the remaining 50 percent from small- to medium-sized companies.

The current faculty-student ratio is 1-to-2 with 11 enrolled and six accepted into the second-year program. Applicants may apply for the second class until Aug. 25 when applications for a third class will be considered.

To learn more about the program, go to

Mr. Kalnitz may be reached by calling (404) 413-7187 or by sending an email to