Even though most of his coursework is completed online, David Wolf G'07 commutes regularly from his home in Delray Beach, Fla., to Eastern University in Radnor, Pa., where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in organizational leadership with a concentration in business strategy.
“It’s a very difficult balance,” Wolf says of the time devoted to education, career, and personal life.
“I wake up by 4 a.m. and start all of my reading assignments and coursework. Of course, if a client needs me, I go.”
Wolf heads his own strategic management consulting firm, but admits that he had to significantly reduce his client roster in order to make room for education. He estimates that half of his day is spent on schoolwork, and half on business.
Wolf graduated from Villanova University in 1983. In 1992, after 9 years as an owner of a nursing home, assisted living facility, and outpatient rehabilitation facility at the Jersey Shore, Wolf delivered a lecture on subacute care, an area in which one of his properties specialized.
An audience member pulled Wolf aside after the session and asked him to do some consulting work for him. Access Consulting Services, Inc. was born.
He started his strategic management consulting firm with a client base of entrepreneurs in businesses with less than $50 million in annual revenue. Wolf is a resource for clients in all phases of business ownership, from strategic management and financial consultation to operational procedures, human resources and development.
Twenty-two years after graduating from Villanova, Wolf enrolled in the Master of Science in Organization Leadership (MSOL) program at Cabrini.
“I thought the curriculum of the MSOL program was enticing,” Wolf says, “so I decided to pursue my master’s.”
The way the courses were scheduled allowed Wolf flexibility to run his business with no disruption. Wolf says that after being out of school for more than two decades, the MSOL faculty, particularly Dr. Dennis Dougherty, currently interim dean of graduate and professional studies at Cabrini, was immensely supportive. Wolf enjoyed his classes and faculty so much, he did not want his education to end.
“I needed to keep going and learn more,” he says.
He found that Eastern University, across the street from Cabrini, offered a Ph.D. program in organizational leadership. It seemed like a natural progression, except that Wolf and his fiancee, Annette, had moved from nearby Chester County to Florida.
Eastern requires Ph.D. candidates to undergo a residency at the start of each semester. For four or five days, students meet with each other and professors, immersing themselves in coursework.
Wolf flies to Pennsylvania for the residency, then completes work online from Florida over the next 14 weeks. He anticipates completing the coursework next year and starting his dissertation.
Wolf's three children attend college in Pennsylvania. His daughter Brooklyn is studying early childhood education at West Chester University, son Zachary (Brooklyn’s twin) is an accounting student at Drexel University, and son T.J. is a dual political science/history major at the University of Pittsburgh.
It may seem like a lot to juggle, but Wolf works hard to keep all the balls in the air.
“If you want to be an entrepreneur, you must be willing to accept and live with risk,” David says. “Owning a consulting firm is challenging, but highly rewarding work.”