Appiah-Brafoh is Royal Roads’ inaugural DBA graduate

Edward Appiah-Brafoe wearing a tux and smiling outside

Learn more about the Doctor of Business Administration program.

When Edward Appiah-Brafoh walks across the Convocation stage at the Dogwood Auditorium on June 14, he will be taking the latest steps in his long personal, professional, educational and geographic journey to become the first-ever graduate of Royal Roads University’s Doctor of Business Administration program.

Earlier this year, Appiah-Brafoh became the first student from the inaugural DBA cohort to successfully defend his doctoral dissertation. A native of Ghana, he aims to take his education and research skills home to share with others who work in Africa’s petroleum industry.

His dissertation, titled Developing Human Capital to Accelerate Time to Autonomy for Petro-technical Professionals in the Upstream Oil and Gas Industry, focuses on an issue he witnessed during 15 years of human resources work in the petroleum industry — how to train petro-technical professionals, like geologists, geophysicists, petro-physicists and engineers, quickly enough to replace workers who are retiring. 

Leadership meets doctorate 

The RRU DBA program combines the academic rigour of a conventional PhD program with the applied, real-world focus of a professional doctorate. Launched in 2020, the program is aimed at attracting people who are already leaders in their fields. 

Appiah-Brafoh, who previously earned an undergrad degree in educational psychology as well as two master’s degrees (human resources development and communications & public relations) says he likes the term “scholar professional” because it acknowledges that DBA candidates and graduates are working professionals as well as students and researchers. 

“The professional doctorate program goes beyond coming up with a theory and writing a dissertation,” he says. “It assures that the outcome of the research is replicated and tested in the workplace.”

A lifelong learner 

After graduation, Appiah-Brafoh plans to share what he’s learned and potentially conduct more research around other topics in his field or as an extension of his dissertation work.

“Others can learn through me. Others can advance their knowledge through me, through teaching and research, through guidance and capacity development,” says Appiah-Brafoh, who calls himself an ambassador for the DBA program in Africa.

Asked how it feels to be Royal Roads’ first DBA graduate, he says, “It’s very exciting. I feel privileged, I feel lucky… I feel so blessed and highly elated.”

Appiah-Brafoe looks forward to Convocation, where family members, friends and loved ones from Ghana, Canada, Nigeria and the US —supporters of his great journey — will join him in a well-earned celebration. 

Learn more about the Doctor of Business Administration program or watch any of the four Spring 2024 Convocation ceremonies.