I began to feel it about six months into my EMBA, that sense you get when you are changing as a person. Not a change in personality or dramatic shift in abilities, but growth in who you are as a person. This type of growth often results from going through a sustained challenge. And going through the crucible of an EMBA program at a school like Kenan-Flagler or another top business school that prides itself on a rigorous program provides you with such a challenge.
If you’re considering an EMBA, there are easy options for you, options that will be less grueling and challenging. Those easier options may give you three letters behind your name, but at the expense of achieving all you can out of the process. There’s certainly nothing less honorable about the easier path, but it’s important to ask yourself what do you want out of an MBA. For me, initially, I was just looking for the three letters, but after being in this program for over a year now, I see the benefits of pursuing an EMBA not just for the three letters after the name, but for what it can do for you as a person. When evaluating EMBA programs, here are some characteristics of a challenging program, the ones that will help you get the most out of the process.
- The program lasts no more than 24 months. The difference between taking 56 credits in less than 24 months and taking 56 credits over 3-4 years (or even longer) is like the difference between going to Marine boot camp at Paris Island and going through a 12 month period where you just jog a couple of miles every other day. Both options have benefits but they produce entirely different results.
- The program requires you to work on teams on a weekly basis. When I went through law school, I was essentially a loner, dependent on no one with no one dependent on me. Local team requirements force just the opposite, requiring you to work with others and others to work with you.
- The program provides constant feedback. In a previous blog, I wrote about the importance of self-awareness in leaders, but that doesn’t come without strong feedback. A good EMBA program will provide you with consistent evaluation both from peers and professors.
- The program has a strong international component. Operating in a global business environment requires international experience. A strong program will provide substantive international experience, both through travel and the ability to work with international students.
- The program uses their top professors. A good professor like a good sports coach makes a difference. And if a school values their EMBA program they will have their top professors teaching in it. Take a close look at the bios of the professors in a program. Are they seasoned and experienced or do they look like they just finished from their graduate program themselves?
As I’m on the north side of 35 now, I think about the whole growing old thing a little more, and I’ve come to believe that it’s when your spirit stops growing and learning that you really start to grow old. By that definition, consider an EMBA program a fountain of youth!
Lee Lowder is an attorney who is pursuing his MBA at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler’s Business School. HIs previous posts: