Mid-career professionals who hope to move from middle and upper management to C-suite offices can turn to advanced courses of study—such as online executive master of business administration (EMBA) programs—for an executive edge in their career advancement.
Business experts agree EMBA degrees are valuable for professionals with years of experience, as long as the degree programs provide adequate returns on investment (ROIs). Before starting any program, professionals need to determine whether the program provides value for today and if it is the best fit for their future. That is, professionals need to determine if the program will advance their skill set and make them more marketable. Headhunter Nick Corcodilos, who writes “Ask The Headhunter,” said programs that meet these criteria are typically high in ROI.
“What I like about an EMBA is it is designed for professionals with plenty of management work experience under their belts to leverage their leadership experience,” Corcodilos said.
In a recent article, Corcodilos addressed a reader who questioned whether it was too late in life to enroll in an EMBA program. Corcodilos said age shouldn’t make a difference when looking into a program because the benefits—such as leadership development and immediately applicable skills—pay back in dividends. In fact, there are several advantages to getting an EMBA mid-career, including the following:
1. EMBAs create new networking opportunities
EMBA students represent a diverse range of industries. In the current job market, experts suggest creating a varied network of relationships for the best career opportunities. For Maggie Mistal, a career and executive coach, that means cultivating connections with people to form genuine rapport.
“Usually the person who can help you is two to three degrees of separation away—a person might not be in your chosen field, but their relative, sister, or best friend could be,” Mistal told reporter Jean Chatzky in the “4 Key Steps to Finding—and Snagging—Your Dream Job” article.
The same goes for nurturing connections with fellow online EMBA students. The shared learning experience brings people together to form indelible bonds, said Dan LeClair, senior vice president and chief knowledge officer of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.
“Students are not only earning the MBA credential and acquiring new knowledge, they are building a network and forming friendships that will remain a part of their professional and personal lives,” LeClair said in a report by the Executive MBA Council.
2. EMBAs offer new challenges and learning experiences
Anyone who has worked for several years in an industry and moved up the corporate ladder has likely developed skills in their discipline. An EMBA is designed to help refine those leadership and management talents into expertise, as well as hone high-level business strategy. While most programs focus on advanced business skills, Washington State University’s online EMBA program offers innovative classes to spark new creativity. At WSU, classes including International Business Management and Business Analytics present new challenges for experienced professionals.
Furthermore, EMBA programs often offer unmatched learning experiences, such as WSU’s online EMBA optional international field study. Through this opportunity, students are immersed in a 10-day residency to study, explore, and learn about dynamic professional markets across international markets—past trips have included studying in China at major corporations that include Nike, Boeing, and Porsche.
3. EMBAs spark new interests
An EMBA is not just for professionals working in the corporate environment. They are for entrepreneurs as well. Catherina Thomas, the chief executive officer of a venture capital firm, said EMBAs provide entrepreneurs a boost to “apply their knowledge in new ways to ensure success and organized management.”
“EMBA candidates are fully knowledgeable and equipped to go out into the business world with a venture of their own and make it big. This experience also gives them a professional edge over young budding entrepreneurs with start-ups, as they might have a good idea, but zero knowledge about execution,” Thomas wrote in “Understand the Career Prospects after Completing an Executive MBA.”
4. Online EMBAs allow for flexibility
For busy professionals who have families and many outside interests, online EMBA programs allow for flexible learning environments. This means professionals can continue their career paths while studying and preparing for a new one. That was true for former Washington State University EMBA student Penny Kiraly, who was working in Qatar while earning her EMBA. She said the format helped her juggle an unpredictable work schedule, intermittent internet access, and caring for her family. WSU’s online EMBA program is 100 percent online, allowing students the flexibility to utilize their newly learned skills immediately.
“My professors were very understanding about my schedule, time differences, and occasional technical challenges. It was very clear the online EMBA from WSU was the best choice for me,” said Kiraly, a facility administrator in the health care industry.
About Washington State University’s Executive MBA Online Degree Program
WSU’s prestigious online EMBA program, through the school’s Carson College of Business, has been lauded as a leader in business education from industry experts that include the AACSB, U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 “Best Online MBA Program” list, and CEO Magazine. The program emphasizes strategic leadership, global business, and innovation. For more information, contact WSU today.
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