By Gretchen Shaw
Before embarking on my EMBA at HEC Lausanne in Switzerland, I was unsure whether it was something I really should be doing. Did I have the time for it in my busy schedule? Was it going to be worth it in the long run?
There seemed to be more questions than answers, but I always got a similar response when I asked those who had already been on that journey: “An EMBA is an investment in yourself.”
“Investment in yourself” is a powerful phrase, and many people will tell you that investing in yourself is the best investment you’ll ever make. The return that can be made is phenomenal; you are unleashing unlimited potential for personal growth, a fresh new perspective on business and opportunities to carve out the future that you want. All you have to do is continue the hard work of proving yourself and applying what you have learned after the classes are over.
It really was an investment, and the growth stemming from that choice still continues, almost seven years later. Here's five reasons why you should study an EMBA:
1. The kick-start your career needs
Before starting the program, I felt like my life was stagnating. I had a solid job, but I’d lost that spark. The fire I had in my belly when I was 21 had been extinguished. I was settling into life, but I was finding it mundane.
An EMBA recharges your life, giving you a fresh and exciting new goal to work towards. No longer are you saddled with the daily grind, where the only thing to break the monotony is a two-week vacation. Instead, you’re back on campus where you’re meeting different people, learning new things, taking exams, and extending your knowledge. Being in school has never been so much of a boost.
2. The network
An EMBA allows you to grow your network like no other postgraduate course. You get to rub shoulders with the future (and current) elites of the business world, including people who work in private banking, federal jobs, and IT. You get to work alongside aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as venture capitalists and startup founders.
It really is an astonishing conglomerate of forward-thinking people who will be the movers and shakers in the business world for years to come. Having access to these people is easily one of the biggest rewards.
3. Seeing new opportunities
Pre EMBA I failed to look beyond the technical aspect of a project. I had certain skills, but my skill-set was limited. Moreover, my vision was not the best. I lacked foresight and ingenuity, and I wasn’t thinking outside of the box.
The program taught me to look beyond the four walls of the box, opening my eyes to see opportunity at every corner. For example, when I returned to work, I began to look at projects from an exciting new perspective. I could see the financial implications, and approached work with the vision of a statistician. I was now open to the bigger picture, and imagined the impact a product had on the whole company, not just my department.
4. Improving Your Personal Brand
We all have a personal brand (or at least, we all should have one). And what I didn’t realize before graduating with an EMBA was how much value it added to my brand. It gave it that edge. Now I can wear it like a badge, an investment that has given me so much in return.
5. The thrill of learning
Do you like to learn? Or do you see learning as something to be endured just to reach the good stuff (the results)?
Going back to school after a “formal education vacation” reminded me that learning is a rewarding journey simply in itself. It is inevitable despite your best efforts; you will fail some challenges along the way. But, just like in business, failing is a crucial part of the process. You make mistakes, learn from them, improve, and move forward.
Learning how to learn is key to success. If you baulk the first time you make a mistake and give up, you will get nowhere, either in business or in any other area of life. To be a success, you have to realize that so much can be gained from each time things don’t go so well and accept no-one is perfect.
Gretchen is an author, blogger and entrepreneur with a penchant for baking. She is passionate about communication, continued learning and connecting people. You can follow her on Twitter: @shawgret