The Fundamental Value Proposition of an EMBA: Personal Transformation

HIs friends call him the "Happy Lawyer"

The transformation. I mentioned this concept in an earlier post, but I wanted to expand on it a little more. To me, this transformation represents the fundamental value proposition of a highly rated Executive MBA program.

These days, we are bombarded by “makeover” ideas and “makeover” shows. All over the TV and Internet, people are made over to be younger-looking, more attractive, more fit and better dressed. Even their houses have extreme makeovers. Yet, these makeovers are not really designed to penetrate the interior of the person.  These changes are window-dressing, or exterior makeovers. From my experiences during these last six months in this program, the Darden MBA not an exterior makeover. It’s more than just an impressive degree to hang on the wall.

Rather, the Darden MBA seems to present the opportunity for an interior transformation.  Fundamental change in the individual’s basic way of thinking and acting.  Eventually, this transformation seems to promise to catalyze deeper, internalized change.  I can already see that this transformation is designed to turn each of us from an individual into a pacesetter, a problem-solver . . . in short, a leader.

For me, my nascent transformation has already born small fruits. Before I became an MBA for Executives student, I felt I knew my job pretty well. Yet, now I am beginning to see how my work fits into the larger goals of my organization. Communications class let me visualize my position as one character in the story of my company. Courses in Finance and Accounting let me have a better understanding how the judgments I make impact the company’s financial picture. Leadership and Ethics classes helped me start to discern the ripple effect my decisions have on the larger organization and our clients. Where before other parts of my company were vague and blurry, now I start to see the links and connections my job has to the entire business. Enterprise perspective, Darden calls it.

I can not pretend to know or represent the transformation of each of the members of my cohort, as I am sure it is different for each of them. There is such a rich variety of background and education in my cohort, that it is apparent we did not all start from the same place. However, it is becoming clearer to me that we are collectively heading as a class towards a realization of our potential as leaders. Leaders with an enterprise perspective. I would encourage each of my classmates to post how they have personally experienced this transformation so far in the program.

Understanding the power of such a transformation puts the other tools of Darden – learning teams, case method, time together with my cohort in Charlottesville (colloquially called “On Grounds”) – into better perspective. So, in the next few posts I will be discussing how this unique combination of educational tools is helping me and my classmates realize our fullest potential as leaders.


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