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Challenge between friends leads to doctoral student success

When Eric Saunders, a successful IT professional, first contemplated undertaking a new chapter in his education, he wasn’t sure a doctorate was the right choice.  A master’s program seemed sufficient.

A conversation with a good friend changed his mind.

“Even though it’s a lot of work, you’ll learn from it and get something out of it,” the friend advised. That led to a bet: Saunders and his buddy each made a decision to apply to a doctoral program in cybersecurity, seek financial support from their employers, overcome various other hurdles, and see if each of them could successfully complete the doctoral journey.

Surveying the available schools, they chose Capitol, recognized by the Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency as a Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.

Saunders was first to wrap up his side of the bargain, earning his DSc in cybersecurity from Capitol Technology University in 2016. His friend is close to the finish line, with his dissertation proposal approaching completion.

With the challenge behind him now, what does Saunders see as the benefits? One particularly significant result, he says, is an improved ability to communicate his ideas.

“My overall communications skills on paper have improved,” Saunders says. “I can effectively convey my thoughts and concerns in my work environments, and am able to back them up by citing sources and evidence.”

A customer, he recounts, recently singled out a trade study authored by Saunders for special praise, noting he had marshalled a wide array of sources to support his recommendations. These are skills, Saunders believes, which grow directly out of the doctoral experience.

A strong writing focus is one of the distinctive features of the DSc program, he says. “I didn’t realize how much writing was going to be involved, or how challenging it could be. One occasion I found myself staring at a single sentence for around two hours, trying to find ways to make it better!”

Capitol professors were there to help him push through the challenges and extend his capabilities as a writer and scholar. The school prides itself on its faculty – drawn from working professionals in the field – and their readiness to assist students.

“You’re not just someone in their address book. They want you to succeed."

Is a doctorate degree on your horizon? Learn more about Capitol’s DSc program in Cybersecurity, its PhD program in Business Analytics and Decision Sciences, and its brand-new PhD in Technology. Contact graduate admissions today or attend a virtual information session.