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Is An EMBA Right For You?

For senior professionals in the prime of their career and seeking an edge, an Executive MBA may be the perfect calling

Why would a senior professional need yet another degree? 

It’s a good question, and one that BusinessBecause put to Oliver Gottschalg, the academic dean of the TRIUM Global Executive MBA—a program jointly delivered by HEC Paris, London School of Economics (LSE), and NYU Stern.

Dig deeper into who an EMBA is for, Oliver says, and you will find professionals who are looking for some inspiration mixed with a desire to constantly improve themselves and their accomplishments.

An EMBA isn’t a short-term step to an enhanced career, he says, but a push towards defining and refining career goals.

Who is an EMBA for?

Oliver, who also runs his own private equity analytics company and teaches strategy at HEC Paris, says an EMBA is for people who want to continue to be challenged. “Those who have this restlessness, this impatience, this additional curiosity to go beyond all the things they may have already accomplished,” he notes.

Regardless of what exactly professionals are seeking, an EMBA program can shape and craft their transition, whether that be into an entrepreneurial venture, a director’s position, or acquiring yet another business.

The current TRIUM EMBA class, for example, includes a melting pot of talent—the 63 students are made up of executives, entrepreneurs, former military personnel, and journalists, representing 30 different nationalities. They have an average age of 40 and 15 years of work experience.

Students spend a total of 10 weeks out of the office during the 18-month program, taking modules in London, California, Paris, New York, and Shanghai. The program offers the chance for executives to grow further in a new environment, completely out of their comfort zone, where they are no longer the boss.

While the significant tuition fees—$181,500—are worthy of note, Oliver explains that you cannot quantify the feeling of being ready to negotiate huge, corporate integration deals alone, nor can you quantify the feeling of confidently taking your own business idea live.

“It doesn’t always have a direct monetary measure to it, but there’s a dramatic return on investment there,” he adds.

Busting the young entrepreneur myth

An EMBA then is not just for corporate executives, but entrepreneurs too.

According to an MIT Sloan study, the average age of startup founders is 42. The Mark Zuckerberg’s and Bill Gates’ of the world, who successfully created major tech companies in their 20s, are the anomalies.

At the heart of the TRIUM EMBA is the Capstone Project, which gives senior professionals the opportunity to create or expand their business—debunking the faux idea that you have to be a Gen-Z type to be an entrepreneur.

The Capstone Project is a group exercise where students form teams of up to six people at the beginning of the EMBA program. They’re encouraged to develop a business idea and then propose that idea to the class, forming a ‘ready-to-go’ business plan in a matter of months.

Oliver says that even for the students who don’t take their project live, Capstone gives them the opportunity to better equip and prepare themselves when a project management opportunity comes around in their post-EMBA career.

“It’s a phenomenal opportunity for the students throughout the course of TRIUM to leverage and link elements that are seen in the curriculum and apply them practically to the idea they’ve chosen to work on,” he says.

“TRIUM generates outcomes like no other because it takes the students’ expectations very seriously.”

The value of a global EMBA

In keeping with the entrepreneurial slant of the program, TRIUM added a new module location in California to its curriculum two years ago to expose students to startup life in Silicon Valley.

Oliver notes how crucial it is for future leaders to be exposed to thriving business communities around the world. When students go to Paris for a module, they discuss marketing, strategy, and mergers and acquisitions.

Each business school within the partnership strives to offer an integrated curriculum. Finance modules are jointly taught by LSE and NYU Stern, and advanced strategy by HEC Paris and NYU Stern. This approach to teaching is essential, Oliver says, to fully leverage the strength of each school.

Currently ranked second in the world by the Financial Times, the TRIUM EMBA has never placed outside the top five since the ranking begun.

Whether an EMBA is right for you depends on your profile and your individual career goals. What’s without question is the value an EMBA can provide—especially one with an international focus.

“[An EMBA] exposes students to a set of conversations, different viewpoints, experiences, and thoughts that allows them to open their horizons and perspective,” Oliver concludes. 

“[Students can] re-orient themselves to go into a direction that they would never have anticipated.”