Executive MBA offers insight, perspective

Articles that explain what an Executive MBA is often focus on how entering a program is an investment in your future, or how it’s an opportunity for a professional to work and go to school at the same time, or how you will gain a competitive edge over your peers.

An Executive MBA classroom serves as an incubator for real-world experience and business thought leadership.

But for Aaron Wright, the experience was much more.

“I look at the way I work differently and with more insight,” said Wright, who is a graduate of the Stetson Executive MBA Cohort 7. “I listen a lot more and try to understand everyone’s point of view before expressing my own opinion or offering advice. I contribute more and can provide a perspective that wasn’t there before getting my MBA.

One of Wright’s classmates, Penny Miller, agreed, and said that the program taught her different ways of seeing the world. “I knew before end of first year how much had changed for me and the way I think and balance and juggle,” said Miller, who works as an HR business partner.

In general, Executive MBA programs attract a diverse group of professionals who want to expand their knowledge and skills. Many use their degree to enter a new field or gain expertise in a new area. Most students have at least 10 years of professional experience under their belts by the time they enter a program, with a significant portion of this experience at the managerial level. (Traditional MBA students usually average three to five years of work experience.)

An Executive MBA helps move along a student’s or graduate’s career. Susan Golinsky, another classmate of Wright’s, said the pursuit of her education at Stetson helped her get ahead of her colleagues. “The fact that I was in school helped differentiate me from others who were applying for jobs,” said Golinsky, “because I was balancing a full-time job and school. I got some promotions that I believe were attributed to my increased business acumen from the Executive MBA program.” Golinsky said the program was a confidence builder, and she learned an incredible amount from her professors and from members of her cohort.

A powerful feature of a typical Executive MBA program is the collective professional experience of its participants. This feature greatly enriches the educational environment, and a team approach is often used on projects that encourage the sharing of diverse perspectives on specific topics.

“My education has allowed me to better understand everyone’s motivations within a project or team environment,” explained Wright. “Where I was previously financially weak, I am now strong enough to ask tough targeted questions to ensure that my partners and clients are all able to accomplish their goals.

Members of an Executive MBA cohort learn from each other and form a professional network that can last throughout the graduates' careers.

“The cohort style of learning and phenomenal support from faculty and staff was the most important highlight for me,” Wright continued. “My experience felt like ‘service-oriented learning.’ We got such great support on a daily basis that it allowed us to focus on a rigorous curriculum and course of study. This really sets Stetson apart from other programs, and I am much better for it.

Many students say they are often able to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it immediately to their current job. Lofton Barnes, a student in the Stetson Executive MBA Cohort 8, is a perfect example.

“The transfer of knowledge is extremely fast,” said Barnes, who co-owns Ladybird Academy in Winter Springs/Oviedo, Fla. “The concepts that we’re learning I can go play with immediately. I can tell a difference already, many months before I graduate.

The Executive MBA is much more than a classroom with a highly educated professor, a textbook and students. The Executive MBA classroom is home to discussion among highly engaged professionals with a facilitator who has real-world experience. It is a place for managers from diverse businesses to work side-by-side throughout the program. Students learn from other students not by chance; it’s woven by design into the very fabric of the program.

Other direct, practical benefits of an Executive MBA program include:

  • Increased confidence and motivation
  • Ability to identify and apply best practice
  • Improved critical thinking skills
  • Clear understanding of the theory behind best practice
  • Greater ability to lead a team and to work within a team
  • Enhanced communication skills
  • Incisive and durable competitive edge

Learn more about Executive MBA programs at the Executive MBA Council, The Princeton Review and the Graduate Management Admission Council. Learn more about the Stetson Executive MBA program here.

Open House this weekend

In the same way that getting a sneak peek at the inside of a book can help you decide if you want to read it, a sample of the Stetson University Executive MBA program can help you decide if it’s right for you!

You can enjoy your own commitment-free sneak peek of the Executive MBA program this Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Open House. This session will provide the perfect opportunity to meet the program staff and alumni, interact with current and prospective students, and see the school’s facilities. You’ll even get to observe an actual class in session and enjoy a laid-back complimentary lunch with program staff, students, faculty and the program director.

Two Stetson Executive MBA Cohort 9 students attended the Open House this past spring, and it helped them make the decision to join the program.

“My experience at the Stetson Open House was very valuable, from familiarizing myself with the building to seeing an actual class in session,” said Cohort 9 student Brian Smith. “The most beneficial part was conversing with current students and seeing how their excitement and passion for further learning shined through. I’m a hands-on learner, so the clear explanation of the Stetson Difference was incredibly insightful, and I knew that Stetson was the right choice!”

Smith’s classmate Christina Boncela agreed. “I did extensive research around various MBA programs and had decided on and applied to the Stetson Professional Evening MBA program,” said Boncela. “After discussing my decision a little further with a friend who was a current Executive MBA student, I reluctantly agreed to attend the Open House just to make sure I had all my bases covered.

“It’s a good thing I did because I realized I had made a mistake,” Boncela continued. “After watching the current Executive MBA class interact with each other, it was clear the Stetson Executive MBA program would be right for me. I’m so glad I was able to attend the Open House and experience hands-on what it means to be a Stetson Executive MBA student. I know I made the right decision and I’m so excited to be part of this amazing program.”

The Open House will be held at the Celebration Center, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. To RSVP, call Wendy Lowe, Executive MBA program coordinator, at 321-939-7603 or e-mail her at wlowe@stetson.edu.

Open House Schedule:

10:00-10:15 Arrive, meet program staff and director

10:15-11:00 Introduction/overview

11:00-11:30 Executive MBA alumni perspectives, tour of campus; Q&A

11:30-12:00 Observe an actual class in session

12:00-1:00 Lunch with program staff, faculty, current students; additional Q&A

Seats are limited. Only two other Open House sessions are scheduled for 2011-2012:

  • November 19, 2011 at 10 a.m.
  • February 18, 2012 at 10 a.m.