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John N Davis

Associate Professor of Management Kelley College of Business

Education

  • Bachelor of Science – United States Military Academy – 1975
  • Master of Business Administration – Entrepreneurial Management – University of Pennsylvania – 1982
  • Doctor of Philosophy – Business Administration – Texas Tech University – 2005

In August 1999, I quit my job as a Project Engineer after seventeen years of work with Campbell Soup Company and moved my family across the state of Texas to go to graduate school to learn about leadership. My goals were to learn enough – and to become professionally qualified – to teach others to understand and practice the art, science, and discipline of leadership better than I had in my career up to that point.

My first serious, academic introduction to the study of leadership was as a Cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point. To some degree, the Cadet experience at West Point is a four-year leadership laboratory. I followed this with five years on active duty in the US Army and, ultimately, another twenty-three years in the Army Reserve. I regularly found myself maddeningly frustrated in my leadership efforts – both in the army and in civilian life. Sometimes things went well. Sometimes they were just OK. But often, like Saint Paul in the letter to the Romans, my experience was “what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” Why is good leadership so hard to get right?

Along the way, I earned a graduate degree in management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; I worked as an engineer and manager in a manufacturing plant, and I served in positions of responsibility in my church and community. In each, I got to observe other leaders and to practice leadership myself. Finally, I decided to take on the academic study of leadership in depth. It’s been a rewarding life pursuit.

Students – and potential students – if God calls you to positions of leadership and if you want to consider that call from both secular and Christian perspectives, come see me. I assure you that I don’t have all the answers, but I am considering pertinent questions and seeking practical wisdom for meaningful action. I can promise hard work, and I can hope for you a rewarding search like mine.

 

Professional License:

Licensed Professional Engineer, Texas No. 84621

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