By Arial Starks
Professionals who pursue an Executive MBA (EMBA) are looking for career growth and the financial benefits associated with climbing the ranks in a company, industry, or field. As EMBA candidates determine the potential return on investment of a return to school, quantifying those benefits is an important factor in their calculation. We sat down with the Vanderbilt Executive MBA team to learn how an Executive MBA can lead to opportunities for promotion.
1. New and Improved Skill Sets Improve Likelihood for Advancement
Employees who hone skills and develop new ones are more likely to earn promotions; professional development signals that they are equipped to lead others and assume greater responsibilities. An Executive MBA program offers candidates opportunities to build hard skills like accounting, finance, and statistics, while also preparing students to become better leaders through experiences that provide a strong foundation in leadership and strategy. Juli Bennett, Executive Director, Executive MBA Program at Vanderbilt, says the program teaches students to go beyond figuring out how to complete a task, and instead use critical thinking skills and create a strategy to move an organization forward.
Sarah Fairbank, Director of Executive MBA Recruiting and Admissions, points out that since the Executive MBA audience is so broad, each student’s reason for entering the program is unique and the skills they may need to learn will be different.
“When I think of a prospective EMBA student, I often think of someone who has very deep technical skills in one area, but needs to broaden their business knowledge… you need the language of business in order to move your business unit forward, which is where the Executive MBA comes in,” said Fairbank.
2. An EMBA demonstrates to your leadership your dedication to growth
The pursuit of an Executive MBA is a serious commitment and investment in yourself. This will not be lost on your co-workers or your leaders. But it is important for leadership to understand why you have decided to pursue the degree.
Vanderbilt Executive MBA Director Juli Bennett encourages anyone who is pursuing an Executive MBA to make their team leaders aware that they are going through the program and explain their rationale.
“You need for all eyes to be on you,” she explains, “and when they are, your leaders will notice you doing things differently, whether it’s asking questions differently because you have developed critical-thinking skills or taking on projects that may have once been out of your comfort zone. Those things will be noticed, recognized, and rewarded with promotions or new job opportunities,” she said.
3. An Executive MBA Can Open Up Global Opportunities
Some Executive MBA programs, including the Vanderbilt Executive MBA, offer the opportunity to travel globally as part of the educational experience. Throughout the international immersion experiences, students can learn the culture, business practices, consumer perceptions, and behaviors of foreign nations and economies, helping students differentiate themselves at work.
“Being culturally aware of different people’s perspective allows you to leverage that with your company, and it could put you closer to a promotion or help you break into a different department in your company,” said Matthew Cox, Associate Director for Operations and Communications.
How will Vanderbilt’s Executive MBA program increase my earnings potential?
The Vanderbilt Executive MBA program provides students with both executive and career coaching opportunities, which helps students navigate how to take the things they are learning in class and apply them in the workplace. Being able to not only retain knowledge and soft skills from the courses, but to be able to execute them in the workplace is what will set you apart from others and result in promotions and in turn a salary boost. Granted, each student going through the Executive MBA program may have different reasons for pursuing an MBA. Macie Smitherman, Director of Executive MBA Student Services, notes that each student is able to have their needs met because of the personalized Vanderbilt experience.
“The advantage to Vanderbilt’s small size is that the faculty and staff know you and your personal reasons for pursuing an Executive MBA,” she says. “You will get help along the way to accomplish your specific goals.”