Parade Profile: Dr Nitesh Sughnani (DBA Higher Education Management 2019)

Posted in: Bath, International, Parade profiles, School of Management

Dr Nitesh Sughnani is Director of Higher Education at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai. He shares his experience of being an international student studying for the Bath DBA in higher education management and how it's benefitted his career since.

What was your career journey like before enrolling on the DBA?  

I started my career in the education sector in 2007, working as an educational counsellor supporting students who wanted to go to Australia for their higher education. In 2008, I joined the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), a Dubai government agency, in their higher education team. I am currently the Director of Higher Education at KHDA, having recently completed 15 years at the government agency.

Why did you choose to study at Bath?

I joined the University of Bath specifically to enrol in the DBA higher education management course.

I had a clear idea of what I wanted to focus my research on as I wanted it to be closely linked to my work in Dubai. It was my first experience as an international student and both the city and the University were brilliant.

A mixed-mode course was more appealing to me than a fully online course as an important part of any degree is the networking opportunities. I was keen to share experiences with other colleagues in my cohort.

Can you tell us about your experience of studying here? Any favourite memories, or places to go on campus and in the city?

I have two very fond memories of my time at Bath. The first is the group photo we took at the start of the course. Whenever I look back at that, I see a group of motivated individuals keen to embark on a new journey. It's been wonderful to see so many of the group go on to complete their degrees and become proud University of Bath alumni.

My other favourite memory was being able to celebrate my graduation around the stunning Bath Abbey with my newborn daughter and family.

What was your experience as an international student studying in the UK?

I was only in Bath for the residential components of the DBA programme but found my experience to be very positive.

The residentials are well-structured and allowed me to feel a part of the University campus. They also allowed me to dedicate myself to my research activities without the distractions of work, as would have potentially been the case with an online course.

The city is also close to London, Bristol and Cardiff by train, making it easy to explore other parts of the country during your stay.

I would advise any international candidate to think about the factors that make Bath attractive to them. The fact that the DBA course at Bath was part-time and had a flexible mode of study that included both taught and research components were factors that helped me make my decision.

Given your degree was in higher education, what is your opinion of the quality of teaching at Bath? 

The teaching was of a very high standard, the professors were very approachable and engaging.

How has completing your doctorate at Bath affected your career progression?

My doctoral thesis and topic were closely linked to my work and therefore a lot of the research I carried out for my course was very relevant to my work as well.

However, where I have benefitted even more is through the networks and connections I made with colleagues, professors and other professionals through the doctorate programme.

It has opened so many new opportunities for collaboration and career progression.

What is a typical day like in your current role? 

I am the Director of Higher Education at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai. My key responsibilities are to regulate and oversee the growth and development of the higher education sector in Dubai.

One of the unique features of the Dubai higher education sector is that it comprises of more than 30 international campuses from various countries around the world. This allows me to engage with institutions from various jurisdictions and backgrounds, and a big part of my role is to work closely with the regulatory and government agencies in many countries including the UK, Australia, the US and India.

What advice would you give to prospective students thinking about studying the DBA at Bath?  

It's important to understand that when you join a doctoral course, it involves a lot of personal commitment, self-motivation and time management to ensure that you can get everything done to a high standard. It's a program that spans four to five years at the very minimum and it's easy to feel deflated during that time.

There were many times when I thought of giving up, but the group of people I met during my studies formed such an amazing support group that it was easy to get back on track and stay dedicated.

I vividly remember the day I completed my DBA. It was late December, just before Christmas, and my biggest reflection on the course was that while it had taken me a lot of time, effort and dedication, it was something I was so proud to have completed.

Bath is a fantastic university in a very friendly and historic city – I would highly recommend it to anyone without any hesitation.

Posted in: Bath, International, Parade profiles, School of Management

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