Ms Rebecca Brown at the Ashridge EMBA

Ms Rebecca Brown at the Ashridge EMBA

Could you give us a brief overview of your Executive MBA programme?

The two-year Ashridge Executive MBA (EMBA) is aimed at individuals who want to progress their career within their organisation. As such, assignments are usually based on live issues facing the organisation, thereby providing valuable consultancy throughout, and an immediate return on investment, to both the EMBA participant and their employer. Not surprisingly, many participants on this programme receive company sponsorship. The Ashridge EMBA balances the need to develop both ‘hard’ business capabilities and ‘softer’ personal skills, by providing a thorough grounding in all the disciplines required to run a business.

The EMBA is delivered as thirteen one-week classroom sessions over two years, and features an International Business Experience (included in the fees) in a country outside of the UK. In between sessions, participants continue their online study using the MBA Learning Zone website. 

Unique features of this programme include a module entirely focused on business sustainability and increased international diversity of students due to sharing classes with our Full Time MBA students, who have on average 10 years’ of professional experience.

What are the characteristics you are looking for in applicants?

Motivation, ambition to develop in a strategic management role either in an organisation or running their own business; ability to share experiences in small classes and actively participate in dynamic group discussion and activities; clarity of long-term career goals and means to achieve them; self-awareness; readiness to challenge personal beliefs and willingness to change; resilience, determination and commitment to study.

What sets your programme apart from other EMBA programmes?

Nearly 100% of Ashridge’s Executive MBA is linked to business: participants work on a final strategic consultancy project with a real organisation for three months; they don’t sit exams but are assessed in more business-relevant ways which are and tailored to each subject (for example: presentations, in-class tests, live case studies and assignments). In the case of Executive MBA participants, their assignments can be based on the student’s organisation, so they gain free consultancy supported by professionally-experienced faculty and the triple accreditation of Ashridge Business School ensuring relevance to business today. 

Moreover, Ashridge’s Executive MBA is designed to suit individuals across the world. Participants come to Ashridge for only one week every two months, which gives them enough time to prepare for the next on-site session as well as to apply fresh new insights into their work place. In a way, we have come up with the most efficient part-time modular structure, which will interfere with your work and family life only so much as to change it in a positive way. 

Tell us about your curriculum. How is the EMBA programme structured?

There are thirteen modules, which can be divided in three groups:

  • core business modules (marketing, finance, strategy, economics, operations), soft skills modules (leadership, personal impact, leading change)
  • modules tackling current business challenges (managing globally, innovation, sustainability, creating stakeholder value)
  • a compulsory week abroad where students meet with companies to learn about the local business environment and then act as consultants to provide solutions to a particular business challenge.

Furthermore, the ‘Employability programme’ runs throughout the duration of the Executive MBA so that students can take the opportunity to improve their career prospects either within their organisation or to meet their objectives beyond graduation.

What are the types of organizations that tend to employ your graduates the most?

There is a wide range of organisations that our students work for while doing their Executive MBA. They range from pharmaceuticals, technology and retail to financial services, public sector and family businesses.

What advice would you offer to a person who is thinking about getting an EMBA?

To have clear motives for studying (different to objectives); to be clear on how the particular EMBA programmes they are looking at can help them to meet their personal objectives (this is one of the questions asked during the interview stage); to choose a school that provides a programme that includes a high level of practical application and experience so that your Executive MBA is relevant to your role even while you are studying - employers will value this much more and take an active interest in your studies; not to underestimate the networking opportunities during the programme: find out about class diversity, both professional and international; to answer the following questions before they apply:

  • What experience can I bring to the classroom and how will I share that with my colleagues?
  • What is different about my career history/personality/experience/background that will make me stand out from other candidates?
  • How do I plan to fund my studies? (do not rely on the school to tell you as they will be dealing with many applications and if it appears that you have not thought through how you will fund your studies, you may be overlooked)

If you have to name only one, what would be the strongest added value of your programme and school and why?

Relevance. Relevance to business and a professional environment in which to base your study, taught by experienced professionals and surrounded by experienced managers; experimenting with and working on real life cases to complete the programme confident of knowing better ways to handle real life issues.

How is your EMBA programme evolving to match the dynamics of business environments around the world? 

We relaunched our Executive MBA in 2012 to ensure relevance to business including additional live case studies, mixed Full-time and Part-time classes to improve class diversity and networking and business-relevant subjects including sustainability, innovation and leading organisational change.

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