Why An Elite EMBA Is Definitely Worth It

4. Information is Currency

The digital revolution has made information more critical and valuable than ever. The key is quality, not quantity. Good information is harder and harder to find amidst the noise. Future success requires recognizing and extracting the best information, and then knowing what to do with it. That’s what an EMBA program equips you to do.

5. Connecting the Dots

Business is complex. Its most successful leaders are able to “connect the dots” between a wide range of activities to form a smoothly functioning entity. By their very nature, top tier MBA programs provide students with tools and ammunition to connect the dots of various disciplines to create a whole that is larger than the simple sum of its parts.

6. It’s a Global Economy

You already know this.  But have you gone boots-on-the-ground? Top EMBA programs such as Anderson place a premium on global perspective and offer many opportunities for travel and study abroad. Packing travel onto an already crammed calendar isn’t easy, but the value-add is huge. Some of my top “aha” moments came while studying in Beijing and Milan.

Making it Even Better

Any EMBA endeavor can be made even better. Here are seven steps that can help supercharge your stay:

1)    Speak Up (Also see #7): Got a suggestion or beef?  Belt it out!  EMBA staff, administrators and faculty in my program were amazingly open and agile about making changes on scheduling, course offerings, travel dates, destinations, and even timing and format of exams and papers.

2)    Engage, Engage, Engage: Seek out learning opportunities beyond core courses. My home run was a leadership course taught by Dean Judy Olian and Peter Guber, the billionaire entertainment mogul and co-owner of the L.A. Dodgers and Golden State Warriors. Thanks to their A-list connections, I rubbed elbows with and got juicy behind-the-scenes stories from star-name entrepreneurs and corporate CEOs (sorry, no details due to NDA!).

3)    Embrace the Pain:  Your work load will seem utterly insane, requiring productivity you’d never thought possible. It’s what you’re signing on to, so embrace it. Some people find the experience so intense for so long, they suffer “withdrawal” when it’s over.

4)    Challenge the Case-Study Conundrum: Call this a personal pet peeve on case studies, an MBA staple. Sadly, many are beyond stale – more like mummified. Coming from journalism, I’d written many “real time” business cases, so 10 or 15-year-old tomes were annoying. The argument for them? “The principles remain the same…” Bunk. A fast-changing business world is full of fresh and fascinating thinking. If all you get are golden oldies, revolt.

5)    Heed this TA Tipoff: The term “teaching assistant” can be an oxymoron. Some TAs are terrific. Others are super smart but clueless on the “teaching” part. Tap TA sessions, but seek other help if your TA is more “A” than “T”.

6)    Jump the Digital Divide: Not all b-schools are as digitally-developed as they should be. Cloud-based components might lag business-class levels you’re accustomed to. The savvier you are yourself about using available digital productivity tools, the better.

7)    Shut Up and Listen:  Sure, you’re smart and interesting. But avoid the temptation to use class as your personal podium. At times, simply being a more careful listener will pay bigger dividends.

As Phil Knight, namesake of Stanford’s buffo new B-school might say, “Just do it!”

Daniel Kehrer, Founder & CEO of BizBest Media (www.BizBest.com), earned his MBA from UCLA/Anderson. Follow him at twitter.com/140Main and connect on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/danielkehrer.