What should you look for in an EMBA Program?
Do you feel that you have reached the limit of your career success based on your current skills and experience? Have you observed your colleagues moving up the career ladder while you feel stagnant? Do you feel that the C-suite is just out of your reach? Are you tired of the corporate life and yearning to start your own business? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, an EMBA may be the solution that you are looking for. A well-designed EMBA program will provide the skills needed to elevate its graduates above the glass ceiling.
Broadening your skill base
Many successful mid-level executives have experienced rapid career growth based on their excellent specialist technical skills in a given area. Engineers may find themselves moving up into positions where they manage teams of technicians to solve key issues. Finance experts may rise to a managerial level in the accounting department looking after a variety of finance functions. However, the career growth becomes blocked due to a lack of breadth of skills. Opportunities lying outside your specific area of expertise are not accessible due to a lack of knowledge and experience beyond the technical silo.
An EMBA program should offer a breadth of courses covering all aspects of business such as Finance, Marketing and Operations that will stretch the students’ capabilities beyond their technical expertise.
In some cases, junior managers may not possess the vision to see beyond their own domain. Or if the vision is there, the ability to execute an implementation strategy may be daunting. Additional knowledge and skills are needed to develop new ways of scanning the environment to capture a view of a future direction for the company, the ability to draft, execute and measure an implementation plan, and the confidence to make it happen.
Learning through case studies, videos and applied projects illustrates how concepts have been applied in past scenarios as well as demonstrating their continuing relevance in today’s dynamic atmosphere. Students devise strategies in the safety of the classroom that can later be tested in authentic situations. An applied strategic project can crystalize all of the learning into an authentic applied solution to a relevant strategic challenge.
Refining soft skills
Not only are soft skills critical to being recruited for a desired position, but they are also the key to career advancement. Being able to work effectively in teams and manage others is critical to becoming a senior manager. Negotiating and networking skills are increasingly crucial for corporate leaders. The ability to know yourself and others, ie emotional intelligence, now needs to be enhanced with intercultural intelligence, the ability to adapt in a global context, in order to navigate the interconnected business world. Resolving conflict in constructive ways, exhibiting empathy for struggling employees while still meeting stringent performance targets are key attributes that are sought after in C-suite candidates.
Working in multi-cultural and industry-diverse teams, engaging in lively class debates facilitated by international faculty members, making creative presentations and maintaining good time management help EMBA students hone their soft skills. Students can benefit from individualized coaching sessions, career advice, networking events and self-reflection to chart their path toward the next milestone in their career progression.
Creating an entrepreneurial mindset
Whether your dream is to start your own business or help your current business to thrive, the ability to identify and capitalize on market opportunities is essential for success. Analyzing the competitive environment to spot gaps and conceptualizing ways to monetize the solution will identify areas for entrepreneurial development. Creating a viable business plan and identifying funding sources are talents that can be enhanced through practice and training.
An EMBA program helps to cultivate the structures and tools that can be applied in all aspects of the journey of an entrepreneur from idea generation, business planning, capital funding to the ultimate prosperous execution of the plan.
Applying digital transformations
The business world is overrun with digital disruptions and this is showing no signs of abating. From cryptocurrencies, blockchain, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and now the Mega verse, the pace of change is exponential and the only certainty is that digital is here to stay. Aspiring executives need to be fully aware of the new developments in order to exploit technology as a competitive advantage.
Bringing the newest technological developments into the curriculum, inviting cutting-edge guest speakers and faculty members, harnessing the vast experiences of the students and incorporating practical research projects ensures that EMBA content remains relevant.
Leveraging environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives
Investors, consumers and employees are increasingly considering ESG factors in their decision making. It is no longer sufficient for companies to simply earn a profit, society is holding corporations to higher standards and considering their impact on the environment, looking at how they treat people and holding directors accountable for corporate behaviour. Senior managers of the future will need to be thoroughly aware of these issues to assess risk, measure positive growth and meet society’s expectations.
Weaving ESG concepts throughout the curriculum illustrate the importance of viewing business issues through various lenses to ensure all stakeholder expectations are fulfilled.
Overall, a world-class EMBA program provides the opportunity for aspiring executives to study while working and therefore to apply concepts, theories and frameworks in an authentic environment to highlight their relevance and applicability. The skills, knowledge and attitudes developed through a well-structured EMBA program will indeed allow graduates to shatter the glass ceiling and advance into the next phase of their careers.
About the author
Dr Monica Gallant is an Assistant Dean EMBA & Associate Professor – Accounting, SP Jain School of Global Management, Dubai.
Note: The views expressed in this article are solely author’s own and do not reflect/represent those of Shiksha
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