In today’s very competitive and transformative business landscape, doing a part-time Executive Master of Business Administration degree is much more than just getting a certificate and a piece of paper — it’s an enabler that can be effectively leveraged for your career growth and advancement.
Irrespective of whether you do your EMBA on-campus or online, the knowledge, skills, capabilities and networks you acquire during your EMBA studies can help position you for a substantive leadership role, provided though you know how to effectively leverage them. Here I outline a number of ways for doing this.
Showcasing Applied Advanced Knowledge & Skills
Strategic Thinking: An EMBA sharpens your ability to think, plan and act strategically, enabling you to develop do-able solutions and clear strategic directions for organizations.
Business Acumen: EMBA programs deep dive into the mechanics of leadership and business, giving you an edge in understanding complex business contexts and issues. This includes the ability to make strategic decisions within a context of an increasingly VUCA world i.e. one which is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex with much Ambiguity.
Holistic Decision-making: Doing an EMBA helps you to make business decisions factoring-in multiple perspectives at the same time e.g. accounting, finance, marketing and human resource management etc.
Highlighting Real-World Application
Problem-Solving Skills: Use your case studies analyzed and projects undertaken during your EMBA as proof of your capability to address real-world business challenges.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Your EMBA training equips you to approach business problems innovatively. Demonstrate how you’ve incorporated new ideas or technologies into your work roles and projects. Have you developed new entrepreneurial ideas and ventures?
Capitalize on Networking Opportunities
Contacts: The cohort peers you meet during your EMBA program can prove invaluable business contacts for many years to come. Regularly engage with them throughout your career to help stay updated about opportunities as they arise.
Mentorship Opportunities: Your Professors and guest speakers can provide guidance, helping you navigate your career towards leadership positions.
Highlighting Soft Skills
Communication Prowess: Your ability to convey complex ideas succinctly verbally and in writing is an asset and a necessity for leadership. Also show how you’ve led teams, managed stakeholders or influenced company decisions through effective communication.
Teamwork and Collaboration: Leadership isn’t just about leading—it’s about working well with others and implementing through them. Emphasize instances where you’ve fostered a team spirit or facilitated collaboration.
Demonstrate Leadership Readiness
Continuous and Never-ending Learning: Leaders must be ever-evolving. Highlight your commitment to continuous learning post-EMBA, be it through attending Executive-Education courses via face-to-face or online or other opportunities for learning.
Decision-making Ability: Use your past experiences to help showcase your ability for making difficult and tough decisions during pivotal times. This is a true hallmark of leadership.
Cultural Sensitivity: Modern leaders work in global environments. Point out your multicultural exposure during the EMBA, including the diversity of your peers. This will help to demonstrate your readiness to lead diverse teams.
Maximize Alumni Networks
Engage With Your School’s Alumni Association: These groups can offer job boards, networking events or even mentorship programs exclusive for EMBA graduates.
Stay Active: It’s not enough to just be a passive Alumni member. Participate in Alumni events, contribute to discussions, and offer your expertise whenever it’s requested. Give back to your School and the current EMBA students. You will be remembered and thanked for this goodwill.
Position Yourself Strategically
Tailored CV: Customize your CV to highlight EMBA acquired knowledge and skills pertinent to the leadership role you are pursuing. Highlight both quantitative and qualitative measures of your career success to date.
Digital Presence: Leaders today have a highly visible presence on social media. Maintain a strong online presence, be it on LinkedIn, industry blogs, or even Twitter, showcasing your career successes to date.
Seek Feedback: Before applying for the most senior roles, ask your mentors or trusted peers to critique your job approach and strategy, and help refine your career positioning.
CONCLUSION: POSITIONING YOURSELF FOR LEADERSHIP
Doing an EMBA can prove to be a very powerful vehicle that can spearhead you into substantive leadership roles. Through showcasing your knowledge, skills and capabilities, demonstrating real-world applications, building on your soft skills, and harnessing the power of your networks, you will position yourself as a top contender for the most senior leadership positions.
As you continue to navigate the corporate ladder throughout your career, do remember that your EMBA is much more than just a degree — it is a proven testament as to your readiness to lead and deliver on-going value for an organization. Will you be able to achieve career success without having one? Maybe. However, doing an EMBA should give you a competitive edge within an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Dr. Gary Stockport is Dean EMBA and Professor of Strategy at SP Jain School of Global Management. Based in Dubai, he has previously lived and worked in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. He has received many awards for teaching and research and is commonly regarded as a global thought-leader in strategy, having published books as well as academic and practitioner journal articles. He has consulted with more than 200 public, private and not-for-profit organizations from countries all over the world.
Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.