The decision to pursue an EMBA can often be fraught with uncertainty.
The time commitment, while less demanding than a full-time MBA, is still substantial. The price tag can be daunting. And the benefits of pursuing a higher degree may not become clear until after graduation.
So perhaps the best way to gauge whether or not an EMBA is right for you is to use the stories of EMBA alumni as case studies. These alumni were once in your shoes: weighing the pros and cons of taking this next, big step.
Here are their stories.
Transitioning from Specialist to Generalist
Krannert School of Management at Purdue University – Clement Chukwuka: EMBA 2016
As an exploration geologist and earth scientist for Chevron Corporation, Chukwuka valued his work but wanted to open the door to a wider variety of opportunities in the future without giving up his current role. He chose the Purdue EMBA and was able to study at this top program while still living and working in Houston.
“When choosing an executive MBA program, I looked for a world-class program to help me improve my career without leaving my job,” Chukwuka recalls.
He knew, however, that to truly broaden his horizons and growth potential in his industry, he needed to gain a set of skills that would make him more of a generalist and less of a niche-focused specialist.
“Having worked in a multicultural and multinational environment in several countries, I needed a program that would help me transition from a technical specialist role to general management. The flexible program enabled me to become a well-rounded executive,” Chukwuka says.
After graduation, Chukwuka received a promotion to a more general role in his field and moved to Lagos, Nigeria.
Taking the Entrepreneurial Leap
The University of Florida Executive MBA at the Warrington College of Business – Blayne Smith, EMBA 2012
Blayne Smith was searching for something to give his professional life purpose. He had just finished serving in the US Army as a Special Forces Detachment Commander and took on a corporate job in the private sector as a territory manager. To grow his network and begin preparing for a possible jump into starting something for himself, he enrolled in the UF EMBA program. There, he was inspired to create his own non-profit organization called Team Red, White and Blue, a group that works to connect veterans to their communities through sports, races and social events. He knew that this non-profit passion project could be his full time career and used his education at UF to make it a reality.
“It almost felt a little irresponsible to quit my sweet corporate gig and work for a non-profit, but it also felt right,” Smith recalls. “That was a huge thing I got from the UF MBA program: I was inspired to do something with my business knowledge.”
Today, Smith has grown Team Red, White and Blue to a community with more than 106,000 members nationwide. Every day, the organization helps Smith connect with his fellow veterans and provide them with activities to bring them back their own sense of purpose—just as building the non-profit has brought to him.
Ascending to the Top of the Corporate Ladder
EMBA-Global Americas and Europe, London Business School and Columbia Business School – Lisa Shaforostova, EMBA 2017
Lisa Shaforostova was already a force to be reckoned with when the CBRE Group promoted her to director. Over the years, she had built up a stellar reputation in the global company’s vast network but she knew she had to strengthen her leadership skills to take this next, major step in her career. She chose the top EMBA-Global program to help guarantee that she’d be successful in her new role.
“The first real deciding factor for me was that as director, I needed to be able to successfully run a global business function and build high performing teams. The [EMBA] programme provides a rich platform to help me meet my leadership objectives,” Shaforostova says, citing specific modules on leadership that the school offers.
“The second imperative was making the most of the expertise on offer from both schools,” she says, explaining that both universities have extensive, prestigious real estate networks that she’s been able to tap into on both sides of the Atlantic.
“The LBS network is truly international with students and alumni from various industries and CBS mirrors this offering. The conversations both in and out of the classroom have been of tremendous value for me in learning about the industries, varying ways of doing business in different countries and finding new investment opportunities,” Shaforostova says.
Bottom Line: No matter what industry you’re in or what mid-career challenge you face, an EMBA can help develop your skill set and refine your vision for your professional future.