Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership Studies


Leadership Studies

Committee Chair

Selden, Sally C.

Committee Member

Cash, Deanna B.

Committee Member

Walker, John C.


This study identified factors related to engagement, satisfaction, and retention outcomes for graduate students in MBA and M.Ed. programs at one private Virginia college who matriculated in the early 21st century. Undergraduate alumni presented unanticipated results as they were less satisfied with their graduate experience than non-alumni at this college. In addition, females were more engaged and more willing to return than males in this research study. The customer-driven business model approach is important to graduate students, as relationships assist in solidifying the bonds with students in higher education institutions, and the strength of those relationships ultimately determines whether students enroll, stay, or leave. Institutional experiences and relationships provide opportunities to develop loyal alumni who serve as recruiters and donors to the institution as they perpetuate the relationship life cycle of a graduate student indefinitely.