Frida Kleimert Knibbs is a very busy businesswoman. She goes to the gym at 6 a.m. most mornings before work. In the evenings, she returns home to look after her three young kids.
As a senior executive at multinational technology firm Cisco, she manages a number of the firm’s partnerships in the Middle East, leading a team of 10 people and regularly travelling to Pakistan, Oman, and across the UAE.
She landed the role after moving from her native Sweden to Dubai in 2015. At the same time, she started an Executive MBA at Hult International Business School.
“I’d been wanting to do an MBA for a while but the timing had never been right,” says Frida, who spoke to BusinessBecause from the departure lounge at Dubai International Airport, about to board a flight to Karachi, Pakistan.
“Hult has a very flexible program. I don’t feel a time pressure. And there’s a big focus on international campus rotation.”
Hult Executive MBA students at Hult can complete their studies in 18 months, with only 21 days out the office. Courses are delivered face-to-face over long weekends, with the option to take courses online if a busy schedule requires it.
The program provides a solution for global executives looking to juggle post-graduate study alongside work, travel, and family life. Students can study at up to three of Hult’s five international campuses - in New York, San Francisco, London, Dubai, and Shanghai – each year, and can switch cohorts to other campuses if their schedules or circumstances change.
Frida takes classroom-based courses every other month. She’ll complete her EMBA over three years. She’ll study in London later this year.
Already, Frida’s applying her learnings in the workplace. In the first presentation that she delivered to her new team at Cisco in Dubai, she used the techniques she picked up on the EMBA.
“I made it very personal,” she says. “I asked questions, we did an icebreaker; it was a success.”
“Every time I take a course at Hult I choose Cisco as a case study,” she continues. “I think both Cisco and I benefit. I want to know more people in companies in the Middle East. With Hult, you get that network.”
Hult’s 17,000-strong alumni network is spread across 170 countries globally. The school’s Global Speaker Series see big names, like Bob Geldof and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, connect with students on campus.
Hult Executive MBA students earn an average $163,000 base salary, with a salary uplift of 49%, just one year after graduation – according to the Economist’s 2015 EMBA rankings. 72% get promoted or grow their own business.
“I didn’t apply anywhere else,” says Frida. “Especially in Dubai, other business schools are very specialized. London Business School is good if you’re in accounting or finance. INSEAD is also very specialized,” she continues.
“Hult appealed more to me - because of the generalist focus, the professors, the curriculum, and the flexibility.”
Omar Hosari, who completed his Hult EMBA in 2015, agrees. A serial entrepreneur, Omar (pictured below) is co-founder and CEO of flight support services company United Aviation Services (UAS).
He set the business up in 2000 with just a handful of employees. Now, UAS is a global industry leader with four continental headquarters in the US, South Africa, Hong Kong, and the UAE, and a ground presence in 23 locations worldwide.
“As an extremely busy CEO and entrepreneur, my time is both incredibly tight and incredibly precious,” he says. “The flexibility of the Hult EMBA allowed me to continue to focus on my business that takes me all over the world, while taking courses in Hult’s international campuses.”
In December 2016, Deer Jet – a Chinese aviation firm and subsidiary of the Fortune 500 HNA Group – completed the majority acquisition of UAS. For Omar, it was a milestone moment for the business.
“I’m certain that my participation in the EMBA further enhanced the analytical, strategic planning and negotiation skills I required to make this happen,” he continues.
“It’s my ambition to see UAS become the undisputed world leader in international flight support. The ideas I developed through my EMBA at Hult will contribute significantly to my future success.”
GMAC’s latest application trends report shows that while applications to traditional, two-year full-time MBA programs in the US stagnate, applications to shorter, more flexible programs, online MBAs, and Executive MBAs, are on the rise.
Frida can’t afford to put her life on hold to pursue a post-graduate degree. With Hult’s EMBA she’s able to provide for her family, and find the time to do something for herself.
“For me, it’s always been important to be more than just a mum or a wife. I need to be Frida as well!” she says. “People have kids. People have demanding jobs. MBA and EMBA programs now have to be flexible.”