EMBA Spotlight: Michigan Ross Combines Leadership & Experience At Two EMBA Cohorts

EMBA Spotlight: Michigan Ross Combines Leadership & Experience At Two EMBA Cohorts

Arthur Bochner, EMBA ’25, poses in the locker rooms of the University of Michigan’s Wolverines football team. (Courtesy photo)

On the first day of orientation week in Ann Arbor, the two cohorts of University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business executive MBAs gathered to introduce themselves. Arthur Bochner, 42, was the only EMBA from the Los Angeles cohort without a job.

“I was embarrassed, which is not on brand for me,” Bochner says, a Class of 2025 EMBA candidate at Michigan Ross. “But I instantly felt accepted and supported. My classmates lifted me up, and did so naturally, and authentically. That orientation week was a turning point, and they were with me every step of the way from then on.”

Judging by his LinkedIn profile, Bochner is a strategic business leader with years of experience in media and entertainment. He started in DC politics before transitioning to communications and the private sector in 2009, working at Citigroup and Bloomberg. In 2013, he landed his dream job with Disney, working his way up to Chief of Staff to the CEO and then vice president of strategic communications. He lived and breathed Disney, Bochner says, it was part of his identity. He and his wife were married at Walt Disney World.

EMBA Spotlight: Michigan Ross Combines Leadership & Experience At Two EMBA Cohorts

Arthur Bochner, EMBA ’25

But, soon after the birth of their second child, a leadership change led to his departure in 2022. He didn’t really know his next step, and a mentor told him to treat the change like a death. “It was all super dramatic – which is very on brand for me,” he says.

He noticed that Ross was still accepting applications for their 2024 intake. He chatted with admissions and submitted his application the next day. He knew of Ross’ reputation, and having that level of a program near him in LA fit his family. “We make a lot of choices over the course of our lives and careers—and the split-second decision to go to Ross is one of the best I ever made,” he says.

“I just can’t say enough about my cohort. Of course, they are all intelligent and accomplished people: executives, doctors, lawyers, active and former military. But they are also incredible human beings—kind, supportive, sophisticated, and so much more. There is not even a hint of competition, and the level of cheerleading for each other—personally and professionally—is special. I don’t know that I’ll ever be part of such a community ever again.”


University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business started its executive MBA in 2001, adding a second cohort based in Los Angeles in 2012. Apart from location, the cohorts follow the same curriculum and are taught by the same faculty in the 22-month lockstep program.

Michigan Ross EMBA At A Glance
Length 22 months (five terms)
Format Lockstep program with in-person classes one weekend per month (typically Fridays and Saturdays, but some weekends extend to Thursdays through Saturdays)
Location Michigan cohort meets at UMich campus in Ann Arbor; California cohort meets at UMich’s Los Angeles campus. Both programs feature same content and are taught by the same faculty.
Online/Hybrid Options In between in-person classes, students complete online asynchronous exercises and assignments
Residencies Both cohorts gather in Ann Arbor for orientation week and in August after the first year for elective week. International trips and projects are optional.
Academics 12 core courses (Business Analytics and Statistics for Executives, Strategic Thinking and Competitive Analysis, etc.) plus 14 electives (Entrepreneurial Ventures, Personal and Organizational Leadership, and Corporate Financial Strategy, etc.). In Ross’ ExecMAP course, student teams work with real businesses on real business problems.
GMAT, GRE, or EA Not required, but academic background and work history should demonstrate quantitative and analytical skills required for the program.
2023-2024 Cost $178,500 for Michigan residents; $183,500 for non-residents

Like Ross’ other MBA programs, its EMBA emphasizes experiential learning and leadership while elevating the school’s mission: Building a Better World Through Business. All of its executive candidates take the ExecMAP (Multidisciplinary Action Project) course in which teams work on a real-life business problem from somewhere around the world. Projects range from helping a Michigan-based solar company develop a commercial and industrial growth strategy to creating a market assessment for the launch of new nanoparticle delivery tools for a medtech startup in Israel.

And leadership is, of course, infused throughout the curriculum.

“You can learn regression analysis and marketing planning anywhere—but becoming a leader is hard, and becoming a great leader is even harder. Ross gives you the tools, and whether it’s accounting or supply chain management, our professors tie every concept to practical leadership,” Bochner says.

Bochner had never considered an MBA until he was rising through the ranks at Disney. While he didn’t feel like he was held back by his lack of formal business education, he knew there were things he didn’t know. But the timing never felt right.

Then, he found himself without a job and he jumped in.

Just over a month ago, in the middle of his program, he landed a new role: Chief Communications Officer of News Corp. He’s now traveling to News Corp offices around the world to meet his teams.

“The most valuable part of the program is learning the disciplines behind the concepts and activities I already understood from on-the-job exposure. I will never have to perform a regression analysis in my role (thank goodness)—but, I now know how, and more importantly, am better at interpreting the results presented by others. I can also ask better questions, which I’m sure will make me very, very popular at work,” he says.

“Ross has given me a boost into a new role, lifelong friends, and a habit of using microeconomic concepts to influence decision making in my family—which means I’m not only popular at work, but at home.”

NEXT PAGE: Q&A With Ari Shwayder, EMBA Faculty Director

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