New Technology is Transforming EMBA Programs

Executive MBA (EMBA) students are using emerging technologies to strengthen their leadership skills, while EMBA faculty and administrators also continue to share the cutting-edge ways that innovative technology applications can transform the EMBA experience.

At the 2014 EMBA Technology Conference, leaders from EMBA Programs and the business community joined forces to support the ongoing development and application of such technologies. “For EMBA students, this investment in technology helps make their education possible in some cases, their lives during the program easier in many cases, and most importantly their learning experience richer and more engaging,” says Michael Desiderio, executive director of the EMBA Council and three-time conference participant.

Conference presentations explored cloud-based mobile e-learning, digital literacy and proficiency, instructional support systems, and media integration and featured case studies from programs throughout the world, including those at University of North Carolina (UNC) Kenan-Flagler, the Stern School of Business at New York University, the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, Trulaske College of Business at the University of Missouri, Saint Mary’s College of California, SDA Bocconi School of Management in Italy, IE in Spain, and INSEAD in France.

For example, one conference presentation focused on the use of Second Life, a virtual environment that simulates the real world and allows students to explore organizational processes, team dynamics, and challenging business projects without risk to their organizations.

In another example, several faculty presented on the voice assessment of student work, an approach to reviewing student writing by providing a digital vice commentary instead of, or in some cases in addition to, written comments.

Sponsored by Graduate Business Programs at Saint Mary’s College of California, the 2014 EMBA Technology Conference took place in San Francisco. Conference participants included CEOs, CTOs, deans, directors, and faculty. Previous conferences were held in 2010 and 2012. The conferences were born from discussions about the application of evolving technologies at professional meetings.

“This conference is really about a major change in teaching, learning, and scholarship,” says Professor Barry Eckhouse, conference chair and director of Technology and Online Programs for Saint Mary’s school of business.

“Technology has now become a part of the academic world in a way that is unprecedented in the history of higher education. And because of this, we are beginning to see international conferences emerge for discussions around technology and academic mission. EMBA Tech has been at this since 2010, so it is very much a pioneer in the EMBA space and in business education more generally.”

EMBA Programs are often leaders within business schools when it comes to making the most of evolving technologies, says Desidero. The EMBA Technology Conference shows the ongoing commitment of EMBA Programs to the kind of applications that benefit EMBA students.

“We are seeing EMBA Programs incorporate digital materials, including e-books; we are seeing EMBA Programs use technology to increase the accessibility and convenience of EMBA Programs to working professionals; and we are seeing faculty members use engaging new technologies to enhance courses,” he says. “This kind of exposure to digital tools only serves to strengthen the education of leaders.”

For more information about the EMBA Technology Conference, please visit, where you can find conference programs, attendee lists, and other materials, including digital videos of many of the conference presentations.