Mid-career professionals who intend to move from middle or upper management to the C-suite level of their company may wish to build on their education. They can turn to advanced courses of study—such as online Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) programs—to gain an executive edge in their careers.
Business experts agree that EMBA degrees are valuable for professionals with years of experience, as long as the degree program provides an adequate return on investment (ROI). Before starting any program, professionals need to determine whether it will provide value to their current role as well as the roles they may pursue in the future. For the amount of money and time that will need to be invested, the program should advance their skill set and make them more marketable. Programs that meet those criteria typically yield a high ROI and open up a wide array of opportunities.
Although the idea of returning to school later in life while simultaneously holding a job may seem daunting, it’s important to remember that EMBA programs are designed to accommodate working business professionals who are also adult learners. The long-term benefits of an Executive MBA far outweigh the short-term sacrifices.
Why Get an Executive MBA?
For those asking themselves, “Why get an Executive MBA?” it comes down to a matter of weighing their career aspirations. Some professionals are perfectly happy working in middle or upper management. Others have different plans, but lack certain key skills and executive knowledge that can elevate their careers to the next level. This is exactly where the benefits of an Executive MBA come into play.
1. EMBAs create new networking opportunities
EMBA students come from a diverse range of industries. In the current job market, experts suggest creating a varied network of relationships to increase career opportunities. As we broke down in our article titled “Networking Tips All EMBA Students Should Know,” an EMBA student will have numerous opportunities to network with fellow classmates, as well as with industry professionals they encounter at conferences and other events. One of the main benefits of the EMBA program is the ability to interact with executives and industry experts, and then nurture those connections.
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, the Washington State University 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 immersive 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. As previously mentioned, the EMBA program is intended for business professionals who aim to make it to the executive level. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean becoming an executive in your current company.
One of the main benefits of the Executive MBA program is that it is designed to inspire new ideas and interests. It is not uncommon for an EMBA graduate to complete the program with a brand-new perspective of how they view the corporate world. For some, this may motivate them to move to another industry entirely or make another type of significant career change. For others, it may mean becoming the CEO of a company they create from the ground up.
Justine Smith, WSU EMBA graduate and serial entrepreneur, had the following to say about the program: “For me, the greatest thing about the program was the amount of growth and learning —that level of intensive self-development in such a short period of time. To be able to see that kind of personal and professional transformation happen within me was incredible.”
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. The WSU online EMBA program is 100% online, allowing students the flexibility to study in the way that suits them best.
“My professors were very understanding about my schedule, time differences, and occasional technical challenges. It was very clear that the online EMBA from WSU was the best choice for me,” said Kiraly, a facility administrator in the health care industry.
5. Online EMBAs create better leaders
For those still wondering “Why get an Executive MBA?” the benefit of becoming a more effective leader should be reason enough on its own. The EMBA program is designed to fine tune and improve the skills that define an excellent manager. By being professionally coached, students can further develop their communication skills, analytic thinking, problem-solving abilities, and perhaps best of all, their confidence. When EMBA students are allowed to learn from the best, they are able to become the best versions of themselves.
About the Washington State University Executive MBA Online Degree Program
As we’ve detailed here, there are numerous benefits of an Executive MBA, both from a career and an educational standpoint. The lessons learned and the professional connections made will have graduates reaping the rewards of their hard work and dedication for the duration of their careers.
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 Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and CEO Magazine. The program was also named to the 2024 “Best Online MBA Program” list, as detailed by U.S. News & World Report. The program at WSU emphasizes strategic leadership, global business, and innovation.
For more information, contact WSU today.