Doing a full-time education for two years while balancing work and EMBA personal life is quite a life experience.
Having recently completed a master’s program in business administration for practicing executives and experienced managers, I decided to take stock of two intense years with the help of an M&A advisor. This directed me to ask myself the questions following:
- am I satisfied with my decision?
- And am I also satisfied with my experience?
In this article, I have focused on recounting the process that led me to choose an EMBA (Executive MBA) course, among all those offered by San Diego universities. In a future article, I will tell about my experience, from the first day in class, until the submission of the final report of the integration project.
How did I get to EMBAs?
Trained as a biologist, I completed a doctorate in oceanography in 2007. Afterward, I started a post-doctorate, thinking of a career as a researcher. I then quickly realized the inadequacy between my university education and the world of work. The main tasks of a researcher are the continuous search for funding and the management of research teams and students. However, during my long years of training, I never had a course related to the real responsibilities that awaited me, in terms of budget monitoring and human resources management.
A little anecdote that demonstrates the mismatch between the training and the work done during my doctorate: I saw a professor make one of his master’s students cry and he never apologized.
Realizing quite quickly my shortcomings as a manager, and wanting to reorient my career toward private enterprise, I decided to train myself in the field by starting a bachelor’s degree in administration. The courses I took allowed me to realize that the years of university studies that led me to the doctorate had allowed me to acquire very effective working methods, allowing me, without too much difficulty, to get pretty good grades.
I also quickly realized that I was one of the students with the most experience. In human resource management courses, I was fortunate to have as a teacher —not an academic with no real experience in the world of work who teaches what he simply read in books — but a consultant with a great deal of experience. The latter, throughout the course, enhanced its content with concrete examples and practical exercises.
The interventions of other students with no work experience made me realize that I was somewhere else and that I needed more.
My marketing courses confirmed it to me. The professor at the time did not address the entire digital side of the field, at the time in full swing. I, therefore, made the decision, halfway through my baccalaureate, to stop this training and to transform the credited courses into a certificate.
Questions to ask yourself when choosing to do an EMBA
Two professors who gave me baccalaureate courses advised me to do an MBA for practicing executives. UQAR had just created such a program. So I also took the time to consult several people around me for advice and to do research on the EMBAs available in San Diego. Here are some questions I was able to answer before answering my decision:
Why choose a master’s degree in business administration for practicing executives (Executive MBA or EMBA) rather than a traditional MBA course?
I have studied the main differences between an MBA program and EMBA is the participants:
- In the MBA, the cohorts are mainly made up of students who have just finished their baccalaureate, therefore without valid work experience.
- In the EMAB, participants generally have more life and work experience as well as relevant management experience.
This is an important element because the sharing of experience makes it possible to go further in terms of learning. So I quickly discarded the MBA to choose the EMBA.
Is the price of an EMBA directly proportional to the quality of the training?
I looked at the tuition fees for such courses. They vary enormously from one to another, starting at $7,000 and ending at almost $90,000. The first two questions I asked myself when I saw this were:
- What is included in the tuition fees for the different programs?
- Does the quality-price ratio of the training offered in Quebec justify this difference?
To answer my questions, I relied on several parameters to get a more precise idea:
- the size and reputation of the university and its administration department, which guaranteed me a pool of quality teachers;
- the age of the program, because a program that is too young is often in the running-in phase and of lesser quality;
- the reputation of the EMBA;
costs included in tuition fees. Some programs include tuition, books, meals, and even group training in another country.
These answers allowed me to eliminate certain formations. Training that remained and which had an interesting price-quality ratio, I added the cost of my travel and accommodation, because I was living at that time in a remote area.
Two other factors to consider: the formula of the courses and the duration of the training!
Doing an EMBA is a monetary and time investment. These are full-time studies, at the same time as a full-time job. The structure of the training is therefore important because it must be adapted to the needs of the student. In my case, I was looking for training of a maximum of 2 years through M&A advisory.
The different EMBAs offer very different teaching formulas. In my case, I opted for training that offered a balance between the regularity of the courses. And the number of trips per month that I would have to make.
When to do an EMBA?
The reflections made on the answers to the first three questions. Allowed me to choose the Laval University EMBA, which met a maximum of personal requirements. Especially in terms of the quality-price ratio. All I had to do was figure out when to do the training!
The EMBA is a full-time program that is done in parallel with a job. These are two long years where you have to try to find. And keep a constant balance between personal, professional, and academic constraints. Training like this requires unwavering motivation, supportive family and friends, and more.
Before applying for admission, I assessed where I was in my career. In my personal life and the impact it could have on my family structure. In 2014, when I started this research. I made the decision not to apply for admission and to postpone my project. Because I did not have the energy for such a commitment.
Nothing is perfect and as in all formations, there are negative points and positive points. For my part, it was a great experience that I will relate to in a future article on the subject.