DBA students Colleen McClain-Mpofu and David Beverly join faculty in College of Business Administration
Colleen McClain-Mpofu went to college believing she’d become a lawyer. She wanted to have her own business and thought that was the best route.
She changed her mind during her undergraduate career and, remembering she enjoyed accounting in high school, decided to become an accountant.
Accounting didn’t feel as appealing after she completed her bachelor’s, so she tested the waters in other careers, even getting a real estate license. But as the job market tightened up, she was drawn back into accounting.
After years working in corporate America, McClain-Mpofu had another revelation that she wanted to teach in higher education full-time after her experience as an adjunct professor in Indiana. In pursuing her credentials for the transition, she landed in the Doctor of Business Administration Program at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, with no idea she’d eventually fulfill her goal by joining the faculty at the institution.
McClain-Mpofu is one of two students pursuing their DBAs at UMSL who have joined the faculty in the College of Business Administration this semester. David Beverly, a member of the 2024 cohort, also had experience teaching part-time while working as the director of investment operations at Meehan Capital Advisors, and he decided he wanted to transition full-time into academia. Their participation in the DBA program paved the way for their career changes.
McClain-Mpofu has enjoyed the coursework and support from the faculty and advisors, who aided her in getting a position at UMSL.
Associate Professor Thomas Kozloski, McClain-Mpofu’s advisor, suggested she apply for a teaching role, noticing her aptitude for the work. Though she didn’t want to leave her home in Indiana, she considered the suggestion because she’d been having a positive experience in the program and guessed a role at the university would be just as rewarding.
“I didn’t necessarily want to leave Indiana because that’s where I grew up, and all my family is there,” she said. “But I was open to the opportunity because of me being a student here, knowing the professors and wanting to give back to those who gave me a chance. The other positions I was applying for were in Indiana. So choosing UMSL was just more about having had experience here. I knew who I would be working with, and that appealed to me.”
Beverly’s route to becoming a member of UMSL’s faculty was more intentional.
A Texas native, Beverly began his career in software design and was working with a number of finance clients helping them maintain and upgrade their technology. He began to pick up on the language and processes of finance and in 2016 switched careers to financial management.
The change prompted him to advance his education.
After considering several DBA programs, he chose to join UMSL’s 2024 cohort. Professor Steve Moehrle, the chair of the Department of Accounting, helped him make his decision because he was very inviting.
“He recommended several books for me to read,” Beverly said. “He asked, ‘Hey, is this what you like doing? Here’s some books I think you’ll enjoy reading.’ So that was way different than the other schools, which were much more formal. I just felt like it would be a better community.”
Beverly’s experience in the program is what encouraged him to seek a full-time role at UMSL. He loves what he’s learning and the environment.
“If anybody else is considering a DBA program, I want to 100% recommend UMSL,” he said. “But be prepared that it is research heavy. I enjoy that. I like discovering things. The enthusiasm from all of the professors is what makes the program.”
McClain-Mpofu had a great experience that made her choose UMSL as well.
After getting her bachelor’s degree, McClain-Mpofu went back to school and pursued an MBA at Indiana Wesleyan University. She planned to continue on there to get a PhD with goals of transitioning out of the corporate sector into teaching in higher education and maintaining her work doing taxes for small businesses.
McClain-Mpofu was in the PhD program for more than a year before realizing her coursework wasn’t satisfying. She wanted more than research. She wanted to better understand how to apply the research to practical business problems.
She too explored several options but chose to join the 2021 cohort at UMSL, finding it to be in better alignment with what she was looking for regarding education and skills.
McClain-Mpofu worked in the corporate sector for years at companies including PepsiCo and Ingredion. She wanted to leave corporate America and teach for a variety of reasons, including more autonomy.
“I wanted that freedom of my time, so that I can put time into other things,” she said. “Whereas when I was in corporate, I had a very demanding job in accounting. It didn’t allow for me to have a life outside of work, and I was exhausted with that.”
McClain-Mpofu is now an assistant teaching professor teaching Cost Accounting and Fundamentals of Financial Accounting.
Beverly’s experience in finance and computer science made him an attractive candidate as the College of Business Administration works to build out its course offerings in fintech. He’s currently teaching four classes – Financial Management, Investments, Internship in Finance and Computer Applications in Finance – which allow him to bridge his multiple areas of expertise.
“I was a math minor, and computer science is just solving problems,” Beverly said. “The problems can be anything. So solving financial problems is very similar to solving any of the other problems.”
McClain-Mpofu and Beverly are enjoying their teaching at UMSL.
Ekin Pellegrini, associate dean for graduate business programs and founding director of the DBA program, is happy to see two students who have fulfilled the objective of the program.
“When we created the UMSL DBA program, we carefully designed the curriculum to bring the practitioner-scholar into teaching and research,” she said. “Our leading goal was to transform business leaders into scholar-practitioners. We are quite pleased that five years into the program launch, all our students and alumni far exceeded our expectations.
“UMSL DBA has become a faculty feeder program for business schools across the country. We have multiple alumni who moved from leadership roles to full-time faculty roles in prestigious academic institutions. It is incredibly gratifying to see Colleen and David, who both started the program as practitioners, become full-time academics and our colleagues. We are so proud of the impactful teachers and scholars Colleen and David have become, and proud of our DBA program for the rigor of the training they have received.”
Beverly, who has a long line of educators in his family, feels teaching is a form of performance and is a way to be creative.
McClain-Mpofu is grateful to have made the career change with UMSL.
“I just really wanted to give back,” she said, “to the school that helped me to make my career possible, moving from corporate to academia.”
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