How an Executive MBA Degree Does a Great Deal in Advancing One's Career EMBAs are typically a generalist training and participants learn how to approach an issue from many different perspectives

By Gary Stockport

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It has often been said that the only constant in business is "change'. I believe we can add that nowadays, the only certainty in business is continual disruptive change. Digitization, internet-of-things and big data among other things are beginning to transform sectors such as health and mining in ways never before imagined. In such a scenario, how professional development such as undertaking a part-time Executive MBA (EMBA) will help managers become leaders and help accelerate and transform their careers? There are several features and benefits from undertaking an EMBA which will help such a career transition. These are:

Thinking Strategically

Essentially this means the ability to think outside of the box. Doing an EMBA challenges students to think in positive, creatively and innovative ways when questioning the existing business assumptions most organizations are typically following today. Students learn how to envision the organizations of the future and their likely career roles within them.

Managing Across an Organization

EMBAs are typically a generalist training and participants learn how to approach an issue from many different perspectives such as Accounting, Finance, Marketing, HR and Strategy. The knowledge, skills and confidence learnt then encourages them to apply for jobs up and across their organization as well as career transform to other organizations and Sectors.

Business Acumen

Case studies and simulations taught within EMBA courses do not just contain data about a business issue and therefore, students learn how to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty when making and justifying their decisions. Case studies also typically contain conflicting information and therefore, students must make trade-offs when making choices for managing complexity. Doing this is critical as it will help in developing business acumen for senior level jobs of the future.

Soft Skills

Softer skills which include everything from listening more effectively, emotional intelligence to making an effective sales pitch are critically important soft skills needed for career acceleration. These can be addressed on EMBA courses through offering specialist Workshops.

Value Creating

A very noticeable trend is the increasing number of students and Alumni who want to take sole responsibility for their careers through starting a new venture. Many take the opportunity during their studies to develop a high-quality business plan typically under the expert guidance of both an academic supervisor and industry advisors.

Networking

Building a loosely coupled network of peers is widely regarded as a key success factor for career acceleration. An EMBA course can facilitate this in several ways such as hosting events between current students and alumni.

The world in which we live in today will continue to change far beyond our wildest imagination. My recommendation for aspiring leaders for helping to deal with continual disruptive change is not about asking the question 'Should I do an EMBA?' but rather is about asking 'When will I do one?'

Gary Stockport

Professor & Dean, EMBA, SP Jain School of Global Management

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