Is An EMBA Worth The Investment?

In today’s global and highly competitive business environment, working professionals are continually looking for new and innovative ways to advance their careers and jump ahead of the S-curve. One option that has gained increasing popularity in recent years has been pursuing an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) degree. EMBAs are typically part-time degrees offered flexibly over weeknights and/ or weekends and via on-campus or online delivery or in a blended learning format. Persons can therefore choose the timing and delivery mode that best suits their circumstances factoring-in their full-time work and family commitments.

It is right to point out right at the start, undertaking an EMBA requires a significant investment in money, time and energy. Essentially, this is an economics opportunity cost decision i.e. what other choices will a person need to forego to successfully complete an EMBA? Consequently, an important question to ask is, will investing in an EMBA be worth it? I believe the answer is an undoubted YES! and within this piece I will put forward several compelling reasons why.

Accelerated Career Advancement

Gary Stockport: “Pursuing an EMBA is a challenging yet ultimately rewarding journey. It pushes persons beyond their comfort zone and fosters personal growth”

An EMBA equips working professionals with all-round, general business knowledge and leadership skills that will likely prove highly marketable to current and future employers. Armed with this advanced expertise, candidates will be better positioned to accelerate up the corporate ladder of success.

Many EMBA programs offer networking opportunities with industry leaders, their cohort and Alumni, enabling students to build valuable connections that may open doors for new job opportunities. It is often said in business that your network is your ‘net worth’.

Increased Earning Potential

Evidence collected about EMBA cohorts consistently shows that EMBA graduates earn significantly higher salaries than their non-MBA counterparts. The return on investment (ROI) is also often more rapid, making it a potential short-term and long-term value creation and value capture decision. In fact, there are many examples of EMBA students advancing their careers during their studies, as well as afterwards.

Employers generally recognize the value of an EMBA and are willing to reward their graduates with competitive ‘golden handcuff’ compensation packages.

Enhanced Leadership Capability

EMBA programs emphasize leadership development and enhancement. Students develop their critical thinking skills, learn how to make better strategic decisions as well as how to inspire their team members. They also learn the importance of continual adaptation and ‘nothing fails like success’ where the same reason(s) for an organization’s success may later become the same reason(s) for an organization’s failure. For instance, just look at the Boeing 747 airplane, the remnants of which are currently all being broken up in a desert in the U.S.

Effective leadership skills are transferable to other companies and industries and are therefore highly valued by organizations seeking transformative leaders.

Building Knowledge

EMBA courses covers a wide range of business subjects, from accounting, finance, marketing, operations, HRM, business statistics, strategy and entrepreneurship etc. This broad knowledge base equips students to excel across diverse and ever-changing roles and industries.

Candidates gain insights into the latest global business trends and best practices, enabling them to more effectively contribute to their organization’s success. This includes the latest state-of-play with environmental, social, governance (ESG) initiatives.

Personal Growth and Confidence

Pursuing an EMBA is a challenging yet ultimately rewarding journey. It pushes persons beyond their comfort zone and fosters personal growth. It helps to build self-confidence through continually making business decisions through learning using a myriad of case studies, business simulations and projects being considered and researched during studies. Perhaps, doing an EMBA produces an even better person given the ethical issues considered.

As candidates successfully tackle increasingly complex business problems and projects through doing an EMBA, persons develop a sense of accomplishment that can extend into their professional life. There is typically a direct positive correlation in this regard.

Becoming Entrepreneurial

If students aspire to start their own business or join a start-up, an EMBA can provide the knowledge and skills needed for building a sustainable competitive advantage.

Students learn how to identify their ideal customer, develop a Mission Statement, build a brand, and develop a business plan which identifies and minimises the risks of failure, be they strategy, marketing and financial. EMBA courses might also include technology entrepreneurship and small business growth.

Increased Job Security

In these post Covid-19 times of economic and political uncertainty, having an EMBA might prove to be a significant asset. The advanced business acumen and leadership abilities built may prove to be a valuable asset to keep by the employer.

The brand prestige associated with the Institution of study and having an EMBA can also make a working professional much more marketable, ensuring that he/ she remains competitive within a continually evolving job market.

In conclusion, pursuing an EMBA is undoubtedly a big strategic investment decision and therefore there must be a big return on the investment a person makes with their money, time and energy. Rest assured though, the benefits are likely to greatly outweigh the costs. The investment in doing an EMBA may pay rich dividends for many years and even decades to come and may ultimately prove to be the best strategic investment decision that you ever make. Why not do one and find out for yourself?!

The author, Dr. Gary Stockport, is Dean of the EMBA program and Professor of Strategy at SP Jain School of Global Management. He is based in Dubai. He has lived and worked in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and now the UAE. 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 200+ public, private and not-for-profit organizations from countries all over the world.

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