28 Sep 2009
Now more than ever, executives across the world realise the importance of investing in their personal and professional development. Executive MBA students at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in Atlanta, Georgia, can successfully overcome time constraints and distance to complete a globally-ranked MBA while maintaining a demanding travel and work schedule. Aimed at senior-level business executives who find it impossible to maintain an alternating weekend class schedule, Goizueta’s 21-month Modular EMBA (MEMBA) programme draws students not only from Europe and South America, but also from places as far away as Egypt, Nigeria, China, and South Africa. The format combines one-week, intensive on-campus learning modules (residencies) each quarter with ten weeks of off-campus distance learning between residencies. This arrangement allows students to start and end each class on Emory’s Atlanta campus, and preserves 70 percent of the rich networking and class interaction that is the hallmark of top MBA programmes. The on-campus content is augmented by distance learning technology, which delivers 30 percent of the content during the weeks away from class.
“Many people today can’t afford to take the time to go back to school full time for a graduate degree. More of them are signing up for part-time programmes, such as evening or executive MBA programmes,” says Joan Coonrod, director of admissions for Goizueta’s Executive MBA programme, which offers both a Weekend Executive MBA, and the Modular Executive MBA. “Executive MBA programmes tend to attract higher level professionals, so the faculty and class interaction is much more applicable to the business issues they are facing. These programmes allow immediate application of learning back to the workplace – a real bonus for both the students and for their companies.”
One such student, Tina Stehle, a 2006 Executive MBA graduate, leveraged her mid-career MBA to move into the executive suite at Agilysys, Inc. Stehle had been working in software technology at Agilysys, an IT provider specialising in retail and hospitality sectors, but is now vice president and general manager, overseeing offices in China, England, and the US. “In order to move up,” Stehle says, “I had to broaden my knowledge of accounting and finance, fields I hadn’t been exposed to. Even before finishing my degree, I used a lot of what I learned in the classroom.”
Stehle credits her graduate degree with giving her an edge in her executive bid, saying, “My Emory EMBA distinguished me from others interested in the job.”
“We train people to assume leadership roles,” says Carol Fuzzard, Goizueta’s Executive MBA programme director. Leadership is a trademark of the programme, where initiatives include leader assessment and coaching opportunities that prepare students for the changing requirements of effective leadership in a new economy and global environment.
Ed Leonard, associate professor of marketing for Goizueta’s EMBA programme, says teaching over distance requires extra upfront planning. “More than anything, it forces a discipline on you. You just can’t have a lot of surprises. It has to go like clockwork.” Leonard notes that in executive education, half of what students learn they learn from each other. The open-ended nature of case discussions conducted during the distance segment supports that education model – as does the fact that MEMBA attracts more experienced executives with global responsibilities.
“The connections I have made with both classmates and faculty at Goizueta are invaluable. Everyone comes from a different work environment, industry or in some cases academia, so they approach problems and challenges from completely different angles. We start this programme believing our own industry has all the right answers, but we end up considering differing approaches, most often shown to us by other students. We have also gained great appreciation for different industries, which is easy to overlook in our normal day-to-day jobs.”
Senior Vice President, Global Sales, Service and Marketing, Deutz AG, Germany
“After starting the EMBA programme at Goizueta, I was promoted to a new general management position developing new markets for my company. I am confident that earning the Executive MBA has brought me this amazing opportunity”.
Regional Manager, Cementos Progreso, Guatemala