Executive Education

How to Best Convey the Benefits of an EMBA to Your Employer

You’re thinking about pursuing an Executive MBA to enhance your leadership & management skills but you need to convey the benefits of an EMBA to your employer to gain their support. How do you go about it?

Good preparation is key. The QS Executive team has some advice for you on how to make your employer your strongest ally in your pursuit of your personal and professional goals.

What’s in it for my employer?

When the time comes for you, future EMBA candidate, to discuss the value of an EMBA with your employer, the most pressing question you will hear is “Why should we support your participation in this program?”

An Executive MBA not only advances you professionally, but also provides many benefits to your company. Professionals taking an EMBA will benefit their employers by:

  1. Introducing fresh ideas to the workplace

An EMBA allows you to bring newly acquired classroom concepts, knowledge and tools learned from peers and expert faculty to your workplace and apply them.

  1. Becoming a better leader

Most Executive MBA programs provide business coaching and leadership training throughout the program, helping participants learn more about themselves and their managerial styles. Such development makes them more effective leaders on the job, real time.

  1. Applying team/consultancy projects to your company

Students can apply their team/consultancy projects to their own companies, solving major issues and challenges for their employers. As a ‘homegrown’ consultant with an intimate understanding of their employers’ internal culture and dynamics, a sponsored EMBA student has potential to add real value while saving employers costly (sky’s the limit) external consulting fees.

  1. Connecting your employer to a broader, deeper network of talent

EMBA students can expect to expand their business networks through global electives, experienced faculty, and the international student and alumni community, allowing them to make connections that can immediately help them in their current professional roles.

  1. Opening your company to the world

Through global electives, EMBA participants become experts in international business, allowing them to internationalize their profiles, build global connections, and learn about global opportunities that are potentially attractive for their organizations.

Is the program structure work-friendly?

Most EMBA programs have been designed with the schedule of busy managers in mind. Program structures aim to maximize learning and personal development, while minimizing time away from work and home. EMBA programs in general have modular structures which allow students to remain in their current positions.

When choosing an EMBA program, make sure that the schedule has a reasonable amount of breathing time between modules to allow for assimilation and application of the knowledge learned.

Why an EMBA instead of a short internal program?

An EMBA offers many benefits that cannot be obtained through shorter, internal business education programs:

  • The reputation of earning a prestigious MBA degree and the recognized value of having this on your CV
  • Digging deeper into business topics and exploring case-based study (through direct application)
  • Building relationships and connecting with a global network of like-minded executives
  • Growing professionally through formal leadership training

What makes your chosen EMBA program unique?

  • Look at the faculty: learn from the best business experts in the world.
  • Look at the international scope of the program: global electives and global perspectives provide real knowledge of local markets and regions.
  • Look at the school’s culture: just as important as a corporate or company culture, the school’s culture must fit with your personality, background, and expectations.
  • Look at the schedule: choose a work- and development-friendly schedule allowing for assimilation and application of business concepts and good work-life balance

How can my employer best support me?

Support from your employer is essential if you are to successfully balance your professional work load and your EMBA program.

  1. Financial support

To explore the possibility of financial support from your employer, make sure you have gathered all updated information about tuition fees (what is and isn’t included), payment plans, fee waivers, early bird discounts and scholarships.

Prepare a strong case, including the benefits for the business, and discuss with your employer the ROI to your company of investing in you.

If your employer is not prepared to fund you 100 per cent, then consider how your company could still support you financially through matching funding, percentage splits, reduced hours, salary sacrifice, bonus payments and tuition reimbursement at key milestones or after successful completion of the program.

  1. Scheduling support

You will need to demonstrate that you will be able to manage your time in the classroom and at the office effectively, without affecting your work, your team and/or your clients.

Provide your employer with a detailed schedule of your chosen EMBA program. You may also want to offer to use additional vacation or unpaid leave to complete your studies.

How can I pay it forward to my employer?

EMBA participants can repay the support of their employers in many ways, two of which are:

  • Provide consulting work through a program project: you will have access to some of the best faculty in the world to help you resolve business issues that are crucial to your organization.

Show your commitment to the organization through an official contract stating that you commit to remain with the company for a certain number of years.

Getting your employer on board is not an easy task but a necessary step. Even though most Executive MBA programs will not require formal support from your employer, it is important to get your employer’s approval particularly when it comes to time away from work. An Executive MBA provides endless benefits for employers who very often do not realize that they are getting as much out of developing your management and leadership skills as you are. You already are a brilliant executive, so it’s time to use your power of persuasion to your and your company’s advantage!

About the Author

Sophie M. Mathiaut has been working in higher education management for over 9 years in both North America and Europe. She is currently heading the Executive MBA product division at QS, Quacquarelli Symonds, the leading global provider of higher education services, resources, and solutions. Prior to this, Sophie worked for the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA Program in Germany, and the New York Institute of Technology and World Education Services in New York City. Sophie specialises in higher education marketing & recruiting, research, and executive education.