When you think about returning to graduate business school, you might think of all the advantages that gaining new knowledge and mastering new skills may bring. While all that does ring true, those who pursue an Executive MBA find many unexpected benefits, and one of the most valued of those unexpected benefits comes from fellow students.
EMBA students form one unique and diverse peer group, and they function in one unique and intense environment. All those factors result in the following five key reasons why EMBA peers make great lifetime assets and advocates for one another – both professionally and personally.
The vast majority of EMBA Programs follow a cohort format, which means you start the program and complete the program with the same group of fellow students.
According to Executive MBA Council (EMBAC) research, about 95 percent of EMBAC member programs offered a cohort format in 2018. And not only do you see your peers as part of your course work, you also spend time working in teams on course assignments and projects and on global experiences.
“It’s no secret that in EMBA Programs, students form strong bonds,” says Michael Desiderio, EMBAC executive director and EMBA Program alumnus. “The format and course work bring students together in a way that helps them to get to know, appreciate, and depend on their fellow students, which further enhances their ability to lead and participate in teams. In the end, they develop relationships and close ties with one another.”
All that time with fellow EMBA peers proves both interesting and stimulating, in large part because of the typical EMBA student profile.
Students who enrolled in EMBA Programs last year had, on average, 14 years of work experience and almost nine years of management experience. With an average age of 38 years, they are experienced business leaders.
Where do your EMBA peers work? It turns out that can be from almost any industry.
EMBAC research shows that health care, including pharmaceutical and biotech, financial services, manufacturing, and technology are well-represented in EMBA classrooms. But the list doesn’t end there: From consulting, consumer products, education, government, insurance, law, marketing, entertainment, non-profit, energy, real estate, logistics and transportation, construction, hospitality and tourism, aerospace, engineering, the military, to many others, the list is long and diverse.
“EMBA Programs help expose students to the best practices and innovations of industries other than their own,” says Desiderio.
With stellar peers and opportunities to bond, it’s easy to see why EMBA peers support and help each other. That support takes many shapes. These examples show a few of the ways that EMBA peers rally around one another.
- A fellow EMBA student helped Michelle Reid land a job at IBM.
- Former EMBA students Abhi Mehrotra, M.D., and Scott Quilty met in the program, connected, and ended up starting a new business, Medscribes.
- A group of peers so enjoyed their experience and wanted to make an impact, they pooled their resources and formed a venture capital start-up. The Owl Business Angels keeps the relationship among peers strong.
- Dan Smith’s team took first place in an EMBA business plan competition, and two of his team members invested in Recipe 33, the business that resulted.
The benefits of your EMBA peer group don’t stop when the program ends. As the examples show, many peers stay connected. Peers often become a group that you tap for advice and guidance on work and career issues. And some of them may become lifelong friends.
“EMBA students and alumni often tell us that the cohort is one of the most valuable parts of the program,” says Desiderio. “The peer group edge is uniquely EMBA.”