The EMBA is one of the most powerful tools to have under your belt. With its flexible format, high-level business courses, and superb networking, you will unlock all kinds of Executive MBA career opportunities for your future. What are your options and which one is most suitable for you? Find out below.
Most business school participants choose an Executive MBA because they already have some leadership experience but need a boost to grow further. If you are finding it difficult to negotiate your promotion, if you struggle with some aspects of managing a team, or need to fill crucial gaps in your business knowledge – an EMBA is more than recommended.
In many cases, these newly acquired skills and confidence can lead to a C-level role within your company. And while the position of CEO (Chief Executive Officer) is easily recognisable, there are plenty of other C-level titles that EMBA graduates aim for. From the traditional executive roles of CFO (Chief Financial Officer) and COO (Chief Operating Officer) to more recent additions such as Chief Digital Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer, the EMBA opens doors to incredible opportunities.
Denise Carter, who graduated from the Wharton (US) EMBA programme in 2019, chose this road for the credentials and to fill in knowledge gaps. She believes that she couldn’t show her best in important meetings because she felt less qualified than others in the room. “When we took [a] company public, I sat at a table with over 30 people and I realised that I was one of three women and the only one there without an advanced degree. I don’t know if it mattered to anyone else, but it mattered to me,” the Wharton EMBA graduate explains and adds: “I also feel it’s important to my future shareholders, board of directors, and employees that I’ve made the commitment to get the formal MBA degree.”
If you have already achieved everything you wanted to achieve in your organisation, you might want to move on to another field of work. A new career path is always challenging, but also carries exciting opportunities for leaders who know what they are looking for.
However, switching careers is usually a less common path for EMBA participants. Due to the flexible format of the EMBA, you will be able to keep your current job while taking evening or weekend classes, which is one of the most lucrative aspects of the programme. While in business school, executives apply everything they learn directly to their job. In that sense, most professionals who opt for an EMBA do so because they see potential to develop as leaders in their current organisation.
Doing an Executive MBA while working also means that your employer will be aware – and hopefully fully supportive – of your studies. Some employers will go as far as to agree to corporate sponsorship and pay the tuition fees for your EMBA. But even if there is no financial commitment on their part, your company will need to provide you with additional flexibility and time for your intensive studies.
So how can you be certain that an EMBA is the right choice to help you pursue a new career trajectory? Make sure you do enough research on the industry you would like to move to before making that final decision. Be clear on why this programme is the right match for your long-term goals and how an EMBA will help you make the transition.
Aspiring entrepreneurs can decide to pursue an EMBA for different reasons. Some will have already founded their business venture and may need to hone certain skills. Others might be interested in launching their own enterprise but think that corporate business experience is not enough to get started. Either way, data at business schools around the world shows that interest in entrepreneurship is rising.
At INSEAD (France), the proportion of entrepreneurially focused projects – where EMBA students apply what they have learned in practice – has jumped from 12% to 25% over the past five years, the Financial Times reported in 2021.
Experts believe that the global pandemic has certainly played a role in increasing business leaders’ interest in studying entrepreneurship. “Having experienced the satisfaction of autonomy during lockdown, more people are thinking twice about whether they want to spend the next 20-30 years making money for someone else, or starting out on their own,” says Rhonda Shrader, Executive Director of the Berkeley-Haas (US) Entrepreneurship programme.
Another point to keep in mind is that leaders can develop new ideas and projects just as successfully within their existing organisations. Intrapreneurship is vital for companies that want to move forward, which ties back to the first section in this article and the need to grow and acquire new skills when moving on to C-suite roles.
It’s true – all these options seem great. Just remember that taking on an Executive MBA is a big milestone, which deserves careful research and consideration in order to discover your specific goals. With the right business school and programme, you will be free to take whichever road you prefer.