EMBA: Sharpen your leadership and decision-making skills

Doing a part-time EMBA (executive MBA) via face-to-face online is a big investment in both time and money, typically over an 18 – 24 month time-frame. However, calculating the return on the investment might be huge given that it is intended to help people become a better generalist manager and then transition to become a more effective leader. Therefore, an EMBA’s ongoing investment benefits can be determined and calculated over many decades. It can help sharpen your leadership and decision-making skills. Here’s some examples about how this is done:

Visionary and purpose driven: Leader’s must always be thinking and planning ahead. They must have the capability to foresee the possible future through developing different scenarios about what the future may look like. They must help create the future by building a purpose driven organisation about why their organisation exists, that is, what intended benefits it is expected to bring to its present and future customers.

Strategic thinking: This is the capacity to think outside the box and challenge existing business assumptions say about an organization’s business model. This includes learning to ask the right question. For example, how might block-chain technology and the internet-of-things disrupt the industry where an organization currently competes? Will this still be a good business to be in 3, 5 and 10 years from now? What’s the next big thing?

Business acumen:  Leadership is about making judgement calls and decisions often within contexts where there is much ambiguity and uncertainty. Consequently, probabilities might have to be calculated about different strategic options and their likelihood of success. Leaders must use a combination of facts based analysis and intuition when making big bet strategic decisions. Intuition will have been developed over many years of rich business experiences.

Wearing many ‘hats’: A generalist manager must wear many ‘hats’ when determining a decision. These different ‘hats’ include Accounting, Finance, Marketing, HR and Strategy. Therefore, they are able to consider business issues from many different perspectives and points of view and therefore become more effective in stakeholder engagement. This will help important strategic choices to be made quicker and effective.

Value creating: Every leader needs to demonstrate a track record of success and a string of achievements at every stage of their career. Value creating means firstly, determining the critical numbers for an organisation’s success and secondly, building strategies for reaching them. They will understand what gets measured gets done based upon the organisation’s critical success factors.

Soft Skills: EMBA courses have increasing realised that building soft skills are critically important for effective managers and future leaders. Softer skills includes everything from listening more effectively, emotional intelligence, building resilience and grit, to making an effective sales presentation to a customer for a new product or service. All these are critically important soft skills needed for career success. These can be built on EMBA courses through offering one-one-one coaching as well as specialist workshops, which are facilitated by recognised industry specialists. Some business schools also offer a toast-master club as part of the leadership building experience and such opportunities should be jumped at.

Professional Network: It is often commented – ‘It is not what you know but who you know that counts’ for career on-going progression. Aspiring leaders must learn to develop their professional network throughout their careers as well as to tap into it when needed.

How are the above built?: An EMBA uses an assortment of teaching approaches for building all the above. These include case studies, simulations, individual and group exercises as well as very interactive lectures. Another recent trend has been undertaking applied work based assignments as part of an EMBA where real business problems are analyzed and solutions identified and even sometimes implemented. This approach enables students to understand business issues through the lenses of theory and consequently become a better decision-maker. Students learn from like minded peers who each bring many years of business experience into the classroom. Doing an EMBA therefore provides a very rich learning experience for future leaders to blossom and grow. It is rather unique in this regard.

It is often said that: ‘Doing an EMBA is the best strategic investment decision that you will ever make.’ Why don’t you do one and find out for yourself?

Recommended: Which is a better choice after B.Tech – M.Tech or MBA?


Dr Gary Stockport is the Dean EMBA and Professor Strategy at S P Jain School of Global Management. He has designed, directed and taught on EMBA Courses across several countries including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and latterly the UAE.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily reflect the views, thoughts, and opinions of EducationWorld.

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