There is a certain point in many people’s careers when the much-desired managerial level has been achieved and surpassed, and the only remaining path is the transition to a C-level executive position (or laying the groundworks for a business of your own). While this journey may feel like a natural continuation of an established manager’s career, this stage may well prove to be the more difficult one. But that is exactly where the EMBA comes in. For those who have achieved a desired level in their career and want to prepare for the final step on the corporate ladder, executive education is a rock-solid, spot-on solution.
However, although the EMBA has its own pre-requisites for admission, there are certain milestones, which managers should make sure to have achieved before going for an EMBA degree.
Here are 4 that we think will help future EMBA participants be absolutely ready for the ride.
10+ years of managerial experience
Work experience is not just a catch phrase to deprive graduates of their first job. For managers wishing to move onto C-level jobs, it is a real prerequisite. Ten years may seem like a lot of time, (and it is), but it's also enough time to allow for the skills and practices associated with managerial work to develop into familiar routines. Similarly to how the career journey usually begins with assistant and specialist positions, and it takes many years before you can truly call yourself a manager, it is imperative to have assumed a managerial position for at least a decade in order to be ready for the much more demanding executive role.
Unlike the traditional MBA, Executive MBA prepares managers for assuming the burden of their former bosses – from regional head and head of division to CFO and CTO. Hence, it is important to have achieved a certain level in your career before embarking on the EMBA journey.
Rich career background
Staying in one company throughout your career may be commendable, yet a good manager must have acquired multiple skills over the course of their career, which include cross-cultural collaboration, supply chain management, and an encompassing grasp of operations, amongst others. While these skills come naturally with ten or more years of managerial experience, they also require experience in different departments or different companies in order to achieve versatility.
Hence, having a rich career background with experience in different departments or different companies and being able to manage different teams in different environments is an added skill which will definitely come in handy when beginning your EMBA.
Stable career or better alternative
It is very important to have familial support when starting your EMBA because it can take a real toll on your time and attention. Your family needs to understand this and support you. However, since the EMBA or GEMBA (Global Executive MBA) will take a toll on your work as well as on your family and friends, it is absolutely crucial to ensure that the team you manage and your superiors understand and are ready to play along. This is what we mean when we say "stable". You are about to open a chapter in your life where you simply cannot afford your dedication and resolve to be shaken.
But don't worry. There is good news, too. Some international companies may co-sponsor your degree and fully support you in this endeavour while most EMBA and GEMBA programmes will be flexible enough to provide you with a part-time schedule. This will allow time for work and family, albeit on a limited basis (well, not so much on the work side, but you already know that you'll have to continue working no matter what). Make no mistake. The schedule will be tough.
Companies, which are not flexible in allowing their managers time for EMBA degrees, may be problematic for potential candidates. Make sure that you have a solution for this. Maybe you'll join another company upon graduation, or perhaps you'll start your own business. To use a bit of military terminology, you must secure your flanks to ensure that the offensive is successful. Whether that means a stable status-quo or a solid alternative is up to you.
While some may not think that wisdom comes with age, life experience is more or less related to age. Managerial experience is different from life experience. The latter involves a much more complex and smart approach to the world – balanced problem solving, intelligent social and work communication, firm and responsible decision-making.
Modern companies require dynamic managers and wise executives. You must be mentally prepared for this switch. You will learn to handle the new-found pressure of an executive job in your EMBA class, but mental power – you have to have that before the EMBA.
One could say that there are a thousand boxes that you need to check before such a huge leap, and that you'll never be able to. We don't think that's true. In the end, it really is about ambition and dedication. But if you're reading this, you probably already have that.
If you think you're ready for the EMBA, but you're not sure if the ROI is worth it, you can familiarise yourself with the latest research here: EMBA: The Art of Investment