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What an EMBA has taught me

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

I always thought that practical experience is more valuable than studies. I still believe that.
However, at about 45 years old I reached a plateau in my career. Dealing increasingly with financial, marketing, risk, and legal specialist, I wanted to have a better understanding of all these areas.
At the same time, my thought led me to think what if I could be a Director or General Manager. What about being even a CEO, leading a company, even my own.
So that I took one of the best decisions in my life and joined an EMBA program. This what is has taught me:

Nothing is written in stone

We often take the current process, habits, and customs of the business world as written in stone. “This is how we always have done it”, is often what I heard. What if there was a better way to operate a company, serve customers or even lead a company? In fact, I was intimated about by these “experienced” leaders and, always it didn’t always make sense to me, I didn’t have any tools to question them or at least enter into a dialogue about their approach. An EMBA has provided me with such tools, as well as the confidence to be a valuable thinking partner.

You need to consider the big picture

One of the first statements I heard during my EMBA studies is that managers and leaders need to “take time to reflect”. This is issue number one of a leader: being caught in the daily work without the time and ability to take time to reflect. If you are not constantly holding the big picture, it is extremely challenging to select the right opportunity in our work and organisation.

Everything is strategy

It surprised me at first that most of the EMBA courses that were part of the programme were called “Strategy” (Marketing Strategy, Financial Strategy, Information Technology Strategy). Only one course was called “strategy”. I started soon to understand why. As a General Manager or CEO, you must accept that you are or will not be a specialist in any area. Your role is different: lead the company or organisation strategical. This means that when approaching marketing, finance, or IT specialist, you will be able to understand their field and discuss the impact that their services are bringing in the fulfilment of company or organisational vision and goals.

Business is more than just money

Is financial success the only priority of a business? Is there somebody in between an NGO and a “normal business”. During the EMBA, I started to discover a powerful principle: the triple bottom line. The goal is to balance the financial, social and this liberated me. So much that I selected the topic of Social Enterprises for my Thesis and ended up creating one, Swiss Leaders Group.

Sustainability is at the heart of the future of business

When starting the EMBA, I thought it was about business core skills (legal, contracts, risk, finance). In fact, most of the topics addressed business strategy from the point of view of sustainability. A question summarises it all: is my business/company/organisation bringing a positive contribution to the society and environment in which it operates?

You never know where it will lead you

As a young boy, I started the boys’ scout to learn to climb on trees.
Aged forty-five, I started coaching certification to get to know better people who are different from me.
One year later old I started studying for an EMBA to get better at business.

Where did end up?

At 49 years (and a bit), I am now an Executive Coach, Leadership Trainer and University Lecturer, enjoying dialogue with business leaders (and future ones) and sustainable human-centred business strategies and relationships.

One guarantee: if you start on a journey, you will not end up where you thought you would. Study and personal development are not a destination, it is a journey.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking

Oh, one more thing: you might think 45 years old is a little late. Maybe or not. Better late than never!

Further resources

Why get an MBA in Europe
10 articles to convince you of the benefits of an MBA in 2022

Further references

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