SAS Student Spotlight: Jesse Arnett

SAS Student Spotlight: Jesse Arnett

As mentioned in our recent article about the value of attending Knowledge Without Boundaries, we’re beginning a series of articles spotlighting students, alumni, and faculty making a positive impact within the School of Advanced Studies, our Research Centers, and the greater research community.

To kick things off, we begin with a spotlight on Jesse Arnett, a SAS student living in Garrettsville, OH and studying under the Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership program. Currently he works as a quality engineer at Graftech International. He is expected to graduate in 2017. Read on for what where he’s been and where he’s headed.

What was the defining moment that led you to pursue your doctorate?

The overarching value driving my life is to obtain continuous improvement of my professional skills and obtain new knowledge in my area of interests, one of which is Leadership Studies at UOPX.  In my doctoral degree I seek better understanding of organizational design, and organizational theory which will facilitate the improvement of my current organization, and organizations I will become a part of. My perception of organizational concepts and leadership are colored by the fact that I have spent 20 years in manufacturing. Through my doctoral journey I have expanded my perspectives regarding leadership and organizational structure. UOPX has impact my understanding through the SPL model by giving me a greater understanding of linkages of organization theory and how it applies to me and my organization and has crossover to leadership development aspects I will focus on in my dissertation.

What enhancements have you seen in your leadership capabilities?

My perceptions have drastically been altered since the commencement of my doctoral journey. If you asked me prior to the program what leadership is, I would have probably responded stating that leadership was one or more of the behaviors, skills or leadership attributes that I witnessed of leaders that I thought were “good” leaders. Today I know that it is much, much more than this. It incorporates a vast multidimensional realm where the follower is as much a consideration as is the leader themselves. Leadership is situational to the context of the milieu, it does not operate in a vacuum. Leadership is understanding how to inspire the follower to achieve a mutual goal that raises their own position while empowering them to achieve ever higher levels of performance.

How has your doctoral experience changed your personal/professional life? 

It is my perception that the doctoral journey is one of the most challenging of academic endeavors. I have found it so, in many aspects, more so than any other degree I have obtained. With this stated, it has also been the most rewarding. I have leveraged my knowledge of innovation to now work on one of the top new product projects in my organization and have just last month been awarded innovator of the month for my work on this project. 

How has the School of Advanced Studies supported your research interests?

All professors and staff I have been in contact with will answer any question fully and go beyond to assist in any research need.

The University also provides its students with the best online library that I have seen, many articles that are not able to be found on Google Scholar can be found here. UOPX also gives access to dissertations from the UOPX that are instrumental in researching past dissertational works that are applicable to your own research. Any article that was not available through the libraries key searches I found using ask a librarian. I have been able to find any full text article I have looked for.

SAS also hosts excellent workshops such as (Knowledge Without Boundaries- Houston August 22, 2015), which train its students to be self-sufficient in research and publishing. It also supports collaboration among the doctoral students giving a host of environments that support collaboration such as blogs, portals, and online forums to name only a few.

Finally, the Research Hub ( is one-stop shopping for all a student’s dissertational research needs. It is comprehensive in its scope and information.

What’s next for you after graduation?

My next step is to propel my organization by full use of the SPL model and my acquired knowledge to a higher level of success and effectiveness in all their goals. It is also to inspire all my fellow colleagues to the next level of performance and innovational excellence to make new market breakthroughs and achieve a sustainable completive advantage.

What advice would you give to a prospective student considering the SAS doctoral program or to a student just starting out in the program?

  • Use a reference software, I find Endnote indispensable.
  • Find a friend (a classmate in your program) and keep in weekly contact. This will provide a peer perspective and also give you a chance to collaborate.
  • Write through your lunch.
  • Listen to audio books when the opportunity is present.
  • Create your own library, both hard and soft.
  • Network as much as possible both internal to UOPX and external.
  • Eat the elephant one bite at a time.


Every few weeks we will feature a School of Advanced Studies faculty, student or alumni, and explore their contributions to their field and the research community. Do you know of someone special that deserves to be featured? Contact us at and let us know!

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