California Lutheran University’s EMBA program is built for successful career-minded individuals striving to achieve their next big goals and perform at peak potential. Although it has seen much change over the years, the school has a unique history – founded in 1959 on a ranch donated by Richard Pederson, the son of Norwegian immigrants. The campus is located midway between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara about 20 miles from the ocean.
The 18-month EMBA has an intimate class of 32 students enrolled this year, and over half the group is female.
“Being a woman in the workplace brings unique challenges, so it’s been great to connect with the other women in my EMBA program. I’ve been meeting monthly with a group of them to discuss what’s going on in our worlds, sound out opportunities and celebrate successes. It’s awesome being able to learn from each other, and they are incredibly impressive and inspiring. We also later connected with a guest speaker from our Information Systems class, who gave us great insight on successfully navigating an industry still woefully underrepresented when it comes to women,” Arlene Martinez ’22 Deputy Executive Director.
The program is quite flexible – so flexible that students don’t need to live in the area to attend the program. Students meet in person at the Southern California campus one weekend per month, and its close proximity to two airports means students can attend from all over California as well as out of state. Students benefit from a world-class faculty, small class sizes, a stimulating environment, and exclusive networking opportunities.
Culturally, there’s a strong emphasis on teamwork, participation, and communication. Students come into the program with all different backgrounds and must have at least 5 years work experience in industries such as finance, IT, supply chain, marketing, and people management. The diverse experience allows students to learn from their colleagues as well as professors.
The curriculum is 48 credits total and focuses on five key areas of leadership and management – leading operations, managing processes, leading people, leading strategy and professional advancement and integration. As part of the EMBA curriculum, students participate in a capstone travel abroad course at the tail end of the 18-month program.
Along with the application, transcripts, and 5 years of experience, prospective EMBAs must interview with the program director.
“Beyond the functional skills that you might expect from any business school program, our students also learn how to execute. By learning how to create and stimulate ideas, how to communicate them, and how to function as individuals and in groups, they learn how to get things done. And adding to that solid knowledge, we equip them with a proper set of ethics, values, and global outlook,” says Dean Gerhard Apfelthaler.
Behind the scenes is a dedicated staff support who manage the student’s schedules, order course materials, and provide all food for weekend courses – the idea being with logistics being taken care of, students are able to focus all attention on the course content. Post-grad, many Cal Lutheran EMBAs go on to work for Disney, Amgen, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, JP Morgan, and the U.S. Navy.