Broadening your horizons

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Broadening your horizonsOn 4 Jun 2002 in Auto-enrolment, Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Executive MBAs offer the chance to study part-time for an invaluable degreewhile experiencing different countries and cultures. Leah Larkin spoke to EMBAgrads around the world – and found universal approvalDemuri Kasradze, 34, a surgeon from Tbilisi, Georgia, could not support hisfamily on a physician’s salary in his native country. He switched to business,started his own company and is now working towards a Cross Continent MBA atDuke University’s Fuqua School of Business, North Carolina. Lisa De Boer, 32, holds a doctor of pharmacy degree. She, too, wanted out ofthe clinical environment. De Boer, from Madison, Connecticut, started her ownconsulting company and now pursues a Duke Cross Continent MBA (tuition$74,000), taking courses both in Germany and the US – while running her companyat the same time. “I think it’s worth it,” says De Boer. “My husband [aphysician] has an MBA and no longer practices medicine. He thinks his MBA ismuch more valuable than his MD.” There is no mass exodus from hospitals and laboratories to boardrooms, butnow, more than ever, an MBA is seen as a ticket to success. After several yearson the job, more workers are heading back to school in pursuit of the coveteddegree – most on a part-time basis. These days most part-time programmes areknown as the executive MBA (EMBA). They are geared toward more experiencedpeople who are working full time. The Executive MBA Council, a non-profit association of universities andcolleges, states that 185 schools worldwide, which are members of theorganisation, offer 212 different EMBA programmes. The council estimates thatbetween 75 and 100 students are enrolled in each programme. “Even during the economic slowdown, schools are doing well. Studentsare using this time to beef up their knowledge. Enrolments are up,” saysWilliam Cox, director of Cox Communications Consultants and author of severalbooks on MBA education. Many schools, including Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, nowstress a ‘global’ aspect to their programmes to enhance their reputation. Theyadd international courses to their curriculum, recruit more students fromabroad and offer short trips or residential stints in other countries. Coursesare usually taught in English, although there are some bilingual programmes,such as the International Executive MBA. This one-year programme, whichcombines distance learning with residential periods in Madrid and Miami, isoffered by Madrid’s Instituto de Empresa. Degree price tags can be high. Duke charges $95,500 for its Global ExecutiveMBA, a 19-month programme comprising five two-week sessions of residentialstudy, two in the US and one each in Europe, Asia and South America. In betweeneach residential programme is a10-week period of virtual class work via computer-mediatedlearning. Duke’s $74,000 Cross Continent MBA is a 20-month part-time programmecombining residential classes in Frankfurt, Germany, and the home campus inDurham, North Carolina, interspersed with learning via CD-Rom and the internet.Like many new programmes at other institutions, both programmes rely heavily ontechnology for distance learning. Such programmes incur substantial start-upcosts because they are entirely new on the market, said Eric Weber in a recentFinancial Times article. Weber is director of MBA programmes at IESE BusinessSchool at the University of Navarra in Barcelona, which offers a global EMBA at68,000 euros ($60,000). He also points out that EMBA class sizes are generallymuch smaller than those of regular MBA programmes, yet another factor drivingup the cost of an EMBA. Most of those enrolled in these costly programmes deny that making moremoney is their primary motive. Yet a salary increase has to be a strongincentive. The Financial Times reported last October that the average salaryincrease over five years for those graduating with an EMBA in 1998 was 76 percent. After three years, the average salary of an EMBA graduate from the LondonBusiness School was $144,000. The newspaper found that EMBA graduates fromEuropean schools led the way in salary increases, dispelling the myth that theMBA is not as highly rated in Europe as in the US. Scott Murphy, 29, an engineering manager with an oil and gas contractor inHouston, is paying 80 per cent of his Duke Cross Continent MBA tuition himself.”I think it will pay for itself, hopefully many times over,” hesays of the degree. He hopes to move up within his company “and at leastmarket myself to other industries if I decide to”. Gaston Aussems, 30, a senior consultant with PWC Consulting in Amsterdam,has seen a 50 per cent salary increase since he earned his MBA degree from theRotterdam School of Management in December 2000. He originally worked in IT,but has since moved into management. “I wanted to expand my horizons inmanagerial and business aspects and improve my career options. You can getstuck in a technical field,” he says. Now he is more aware of business andeconomic trends. “I can create value for my company and clients,” hesays. “This will be a ticket for me to become a senior executive,” saysScott Lane, a Duke student, during a week of study in Frankfurt. The accountingmanager from Minneapolis willingly admits he’s after both money and status. Hewas looking forward to an interview for a position as a financial director withhis company when he returned from the week-long study period in Germany.”If I were not in this programme, they would not interview me,” hesays “Without this programme, I’d have to wait years. That’s the value.”Marcus Bernhardt, 41, a general manager and regional director for RadissonSAS Hotels & Resorts, earned an EMBA at his own expense at the GraduateSchool of Business Administration Zurich in 1992 while working for a hotelcompany in Arosa, Switzerland. Back then, MBAs were not common in the hotelindustry, he says. “I wanted to increase my personal value and dosomething no-one else in our industry was doing. It was a good choice.”The hotel industry executive, now based in Brussels, has seen his salary jump80 per cent since 1994 when he earned his EMBA. As the EMBA increases in popularity, so does the variety of programmesavailable. “In recent years schools have had to find new modes ofdelivering the MBA,” notes Peter Calladine, educational service managerfor the Association of MBAs. Traditionally, a part-time MBA involved going toclass two evenings per week. Then schools began to offer classes one full dayper week. For more variety, they offered Friday evening and all-day Saturdayprogrammes. Thanks to the internet, the trend, as pioneered by Duke, has nowmoved to periods of residential study followed by weeks of home study, oftenonline. As Calladine says: “Schools must match the requirements of theindividual to fit their working life.” Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business earned top recognition for itsMBA programmes in the early 1990s. Felix Mueller, the school’s director ofmarketing, said Duke wanted to be certain it remained at the top, and decidedthis could best be achieved by combining globalisation and technology. In 1996the school, which already had a weekend EMBA programme, launched its GlobalExecutive MBA “for executives with an average 14 years experience andglobal responsibilities”. The hefty $95,500 tuition fee covers books, classmaterials including a laptop computer and software for distance learning, pluslodging and meals at the residential sites. Travel to and from the variouslocations is not included. In August 2000, Duke started its Cross Continent MBA on two continents. Eachof the eight 10-week academic terms begins with a week at one of the two campuslocations, either North Carolina or Germany. Currently, 151 students from 26countries with an average of 6.2 years of working experience are participatingin this programme. The $74,000 price tag includes all instructional materials,accommodation and meals at the campus locations, and a laptop. While Duke’s programmes are among the priciest, students – even thoseabsorbing the costs themselves – are willing to pay huge amounts for a school’sranking and prestige. “I wanted a degree from the top 10,” says DukeCross Continent MBA student Scott Lane, who is paying 50 per cent of histuition himself. He could have gone to the University of Minnesota, “butpeople go there to earn what I already earn”. Peter Calladine of the Association of MBAs is no fan of the kind of rankingsLane describes. “There is no such thing as the best school per se,”he says, “especially for part-time programmes.” What’s important isthe programme best suited to an individual’s needs, he explains. Some schools, such as the UK’s Manchester Business School, offer flexibleprogrammes. Manchester’s EMBA can be completed in as little as two-and-a-halfyears, or as long as five years, with students typically spending about sixhours a week at the school. IMD Lausanne offers 17.5 weeks of classroomsessions and “discovery expeditions” in Europe, Silicon Valley andShanghai, reinforced by 45 weeks of distance learning. The programme can becompleted in two to four years. Some, however, do not consider the Manchesterand IMD programmes true EMBAs as students do not start and finish together as agroup. The Rotterdam School of Management offers a weekend part-time Executive MBAprogramme with classes held on alternate weekends. Warwick Business School’sEMBA can be earned by attending evening classes, by modular study, or by a ‘mixand match’ of both. In their effort to go global, schools are joining forces with partnerschools in other parts of the world. The London Business School and ColumbiaBusiness School offer a joint EMBA programme under one name, the EMBA-Global($102,500). Theseus Institute in Sophia Antipolis, France, this year launchedits two-year EMBA (31,450 euros, $28,000) in partnership with The AndersonSchool at UCLA, with specialisation in managing in a high-tech environment. TheGerman International Graduate School of Management and Administration (GISMA)in Hanover, in conjunction with the US’s Purdue University, has a 22-month EMBAprogramme, costing 30,600 euros ($27,000). “It’s attractive to have study periods in various parts of theworld,” says Nunzio Quacquarelli, editor of magazine MBA Career Guide, andmanaging director of “This ensures participants will meet seniormanagers from different cultures. This is a very important part of the learningexperience of an executive MBA.” Duke student Thomas Kindler, head ofnetwork operations for Deutsche Bîrse Systems, agrees. He was motivated topursue an EMBA “to build up an international network”, in addition toshifting his focus from technology to business, he says. The One MBA is a new part-time programme to launch in September. It is thebrainchild of five business schools: the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Fundac‹oGetulio Vargas (S‹o Paulo); the Monterrey Tech Graduate School of BusinessAdministration and Leadership (Mexico); the Rotterdam School of Management; andthe University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Executives enroled in this21-month programme study at their home business school for two-thirds of theprogramme and spend the remaining third of the programme together inresidential modules in Asia, Europe, North and South America. The cost is46,500 euros ($41,000). Yet another new programme is the Trium EMBA, allying the New York UniversityStern School of Business, the London School of Economics and Political Science,and HEC Paris, Graduate Business School. The 16-month programme involvesresidential sessions at these three locations, plus Hong Kong and Brazil, andcosts $87,500. No matter where they are located, all EMBA programmes seem to have onelearning aspect in common: team projects with fellow students. Participantsgive high marks to this type of study, which they consider an added bonus toearning an EMBA as opposed to a regular full-time MBA. Marcus Bernhardt, who earned his EMBA in Zurich, stresses the value of‘active and practical oriented discussions’ with fellow students who hadexperience in the business world. Same for Duke student Scott Murphy, whoespecially likes the fact that his fellow students all have work experience.”You can learn just as much from the students as from theprofessors,” he says. “This would not happen in a regular MBAprogramme.” Michel Arres also liked working with fellow students. This Rotterdam gradsays his programme involved a lot of group activities. “You’d learn to seethe other side of things. Group interaction is very important. Sometimes wewould get together during the week to work on projects. Sometimes we’d meet indifferent places – Dusseldorf, Utrecht. We picked the most central place. Itwas really fun.” The 34-year-old, formerly in sales, is now a member of the Europe, MiddleEast and Africa team working on strategy for American Power Conversion inRotterdam. In his present job, as in sales, he works with customers, he says,but now on a higher level. “An MBA helps you understand the problems thecustomers are facing. I can talk their language.” As technology plays a greater role in today’s EMBA programmes, virtualteamwork becomes part of the learning process. “You learn what’s it’s liketo interact with your counterparts when they’re not around. This will be big inbusiness in the future,” Duke student Eric Altshuler points out. Holding down a demanding full-time job and following the rigorousrequirements of an EMBA programme is no easy feat. Many executives in theseprogrammes spend far more than 40 hours a week on their jobs. “It is verydifficult to balance family, friends and work,” says student Lisa De Boer,at Duke in Frankfurt. In addition to time on the job, she needs 20 hours perweek for school work. Gaston Aussems echoes her comments: “If you are willing and able to paythe price, in many respects the EMBA is a must,” says the seniorconsultant. “On a corporate and social level it gave me more than Iexpected. An EMBA is demanding, but a great investment. Your input is returnedten-fold.” The typical EMBA studentAge: 37Sex: 75 per cent male, 25 per cent femaleYears on the job: 15 Years of management experience: 10Average salary at time of     beginningprogramme: $85,000Source: The Executive MBA CouncilCompanies seek to gain knowledgeWhile companies such as the Germanpharmaceutical and chemical giant Merck and Deutsche Bank absorb most, if notall, costs for key employees seeking an MBA, they want their employees to studypart-time and stay on the job. As Deutsche Bank’s Michael Maffucci, director ofglobal leadership development, points out, Deutsche Bank wants the knowledgegained by those seeking an MBA transferred back to the institution. “Oneof our main thrusts is that we get a transfer of knowledge and skills,” hesays. Merck likes the fact that the part-time MBA candidates itsponsors at Ashridge Management College near London often have studyassignments that are directly related to their jobs. “The link tocorporate business is a big advantage,” says Andreas Janz, Merck’s head ofinternational management development programmes. “Assignments can give adirect contribution to the company. It helps that students apply their learningto Merck.” The company found that many of its employees with scientificbackgrounds were moving into management positions without a businessbackground. “We like to prepare them, to help them acquire the knowledgeto fill these positions,” says Janz.Companies that sponsor employees in an MBA programme usuallyhave an agreement that the employees stay with the company during the period ofa study and for a specified time afterwards. The Financial Times 2001 Survey ofa sample of students who earned part-time MBAs in 1998 found that 43 per centwere still working for the same company that employed them five years afterthey began their studies. According to a Business Week 2001 survey of those whoearned MBAs with company support, more than half were dissatisfied with careerdevelopment at their sponsoring companies.Janz acknowledged that ‘a few’ of Merck’s MBA employees haveleft and that retention can be a problem. “This is a challenge.High-quality people are harder to retain. They’re attractive to othercompanies,” he says.Not all part-time MBA seekers have company backing. Some pickup the tab themselves. They want to combine work and study and keep their jobs,often because they cannot afford to quit work and study full time. “It wasnot financially feasible for me to stop working and go to school full time. I’dacquire an enormous debt,” says Gaston Aussems, who earned a part-time MBAfrom the Rotterdam School of Management.Jane Fiona Cumming, director of Article 13, a London-basedorganisation that helps businesses and other institutions implement new ways ofdoing business, finds one of the key advantages of earning an MBA while stillworking is that academic projects can often benefit both the company and thestudent. “An MBA is no use if you can’t translate it into practice,”says Cumming, who earned an MBA as a part-time student at the CharteredInstitute of Marketing in Henley, UK. “I was able to ask my clients, ‘Doyou want a free consultancy?’ and base my projects around them.”last_img