By Jason Price, MS, MBA, Director of EMBA World
What are the top ten reasons to attend business school and consider the option of the Executive MBA? Does it have to do with a global debt crisis or something else in the macro economy or more personal like career growth and job strength? For example, the context of Greek debt may seem remote from New York City, London, Beijing, or wherever you may sit, but its implications are far reaching in this increasingly connected global marketplace and may impact your company or more directly your lifestyle, more than you may think. Government policy, the business community, your employer, your competitors, and you are not immune to such impact. Where else can this be fully grasped than through an MBA?
The Executive MBA is a learning model to deliver coursework over a two-year period while not disrupting fulltime employment. Nearly 300 schools worldwide offer an accredited EMBA. The disciplined education is organized in a lock-step progression with your schoolmates over a twenty-four month period. The reasons to attend an EMBA are significant and below are the top ten to consider by EMBA World.
Top Ten Reasons to Attend an Executive MBA
10. Highly Practical Rather Than Just Theoretical
The Executive MBA is hands-on business training. The course work, the projects, and even the case studies are real life scenarios with real time application. By definition, the EMBA is designed for working professionals with a minimum of seven years work experience. Five of those years should be managerial level. It is highly likely that a case study on going IPO or the devaluation of a currency or any other business fundamental has already been experienced by your classmates. As we say at EMBA World, the best time to return to business school is after you’ve experienced successes and failures in the work place. Only then does one have the professional resources to take theory into practice. And only then are you prepared to contribute to the class discussions.
9. Network with Classmates
Job dissatisfaction is high. The middle manager squeeze is on full time. More work, higher cost of living, less compensation when adjusted to inflation. Some of your fellow students will be looking to change careers. Others may be looking for opportunities. The alumni network is one thing but the class networking is another. Your fellow students have hiring authority or connections to an inner circle that may enable you to tap into hidden resources. Your peers will experience first hand how you interact with others, gauge if you are team player, and determine if can make a good impression.
8. Residency Programs
Most Executive MBA programs offer a residency and often the case these are held internationally. Georgetown University holds lessons in London, Fordham University teaches classes in Beijing, Wharton to South America, you get the idea. A residency is more than just a group project but the opportunity to learn outside of the brick and mortar campus. Indeed most EMBA programs are held at executive conference centers and a semester or two may include course work overseas. How does this make for a better education? Learning about the airline manufacturing industry at Boeing headquarters with employees is far different than from a text book or case study.
7. Hermetic Study Environment with Top Professors
The student body is comprised of highly motivated business professionals. They have elected to return to school and the motivating factor is not to make more money but for the love of learning. Combined, the classroom becomes a sealed environment of intellectual discourse. Professors compete to teach the EMBA class. They know first hand that this is a special group of individuals and that teaching to experienced professionals with successful careers is a far cry from teaching young minds that have not been fully shaped yet for the business world.
6. Accommodates Works Life with School Life and Family
Let’s face it, not everyone can stop working for two years to attend business school. The option is simply not open to a majority of people with careers and family considerations. The EMBA is designed and structured to accommodate this lifestyle. The rigors of the education are no different than with a traditional MBA but coursework and class schedule is designed to meet those professional and personal needs. Classes are typically held one or twice a month over an entire weekend or during week long schedules every six or eight weeks. The EMBA calls for sacrifices and taps into vacation time, but this tends to be a trade off easily accepted when one’s career is on the line.
5. Provides Credibility and Credentials
A doctor knows medicine, a lawyer knows law, and an MBA brings to the table a degree of respect and foundation of business knowledge. An MBA does distinguish you from those without the degree and does provide a discreet set of skills that only comes from the classroom. EMBA World strongly advises applicants to consider that one’s success in life is mainly independent from having the degree or the institution that it came from, however, the practical and theoretical lessons and practical experience can take you further along your career path.
4. Thinking Critically and Applying a Business Mind Set
From Porter’s Five Forces to Taylor’s Scientific Management, an MBA will get you thinking critically on how to view the marketplace and your company’s position in this marketplace. The EMBA will hone your business writing skills, integrate the poet side of you with the quantitative side, and emphasize leadership with crisis management. Thinking like a business professional starts with base theory then applied to practice. The education and training will open your eyes and get you thinking on how to solve business problems on a grander scale than you posses today.
3. Understand Business Statements
Unless you are a CPA, knowing how to read a financial statement can serve as a competitive advantage. The Executive MBA does not turn you into an accountant but does break down cash flow statements, balance sheets, and income statements to help you understand the significance that is essential for a business manager. By interpreting the meaning behind the numbers will help you identify the strengths and weakness of the business plan and the organization’s overall operating environment. These are practical skills that will help move you and your company along.
2. Apply Lessons from the EMBA Directly to Work
Ask any graduate to share an “Aha” moment in business school and most likely you too will become inspired. Working with Beijing MBA students, my class developed a go to market strategy for a computer company. Their goal of reaching Fortune 500 by the end of the decade was ambitious and the road map we wrote as the project thesis was taken seriously. Indeed, it seemed like the Wall Street Journal had dictated our entire business plan. We delivered a paper, a market analysis presentation, and defended our thesis to a board of computer executives. The clock rolls forward five years later and our go to market strategy is being implemented. The same is true for the class work and case studies we learn in school and take back to the work place. The EMBA is the purest form of practical business education.
1. The Love of Learning
Choose the Executive MBA not to run the next Fortune 100, but attend for the love of learning. Two years of your life is significant and coupled with the high cost of the education makes the endeavor much more meaningful and the education more enjoyable if its to for the love of learning. There can only be 100 CEOs for the Fortune 100 but for the rest of us, there must be higher aspirations. Whenever we present to audiences and speak to aspiring students, we always emphasize that the Executive MBA is to satisfy an intellectual desire not to simply make the million-dollar salary.
About EMBA World
EMBA World is a New York City-based organization dedicated to helping employees and employers understand options regarding graduate level business education and in particular the Executive MBA. Jason A. Price, MS, MBA, is Director of EMBA World and author of The Insider’s Guide to the Executive MBA (2011). Jason is a frequent speaker to media on graduate business education issues and publishes industry articles periodically on the subject. The Insider’s Guide can be found at online bookstores or at www.EmbaWorld.com. You can reach Jason A. Price at Jason@embaworld.com.