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Executive education helps managers to spot new ideas

Top-ranked business schools have seen applications soar for executive MBA courses as working professionals look to boost their career mobility without interrupting their careers.
Executive MBA Candidates  

At its best, executive education is the most direct way to make an immediate impact on your business. Working professionals say they often return from a program with a new idea and put it into practice.

Sachin Joshi, founder of business intelligence software outsourcing company Sapience LLC, who is enrolled in University of California, Berkley and Columbia University’s joint executive MBA program, says he applies skills he learnt from taking elective behavioral economics classes.

“It helped me understand how my customers make buying decisions,” he says. “Micro economics tells you how rational people will make decisions but people are not rational there are a lot of emotional reasons for taking a decision.”

Joshi says he has learned new marketing models that have greatly improved his business. “At an organizational level a lot of purchasing decisions can be explained by behavioral economics,” he says.

At the Kellogg School of Business the goal is to ensure that the 5,000 managers who annually attend their executive offerings return to their jobs with specific action plans to apply what they learned. They do this by incorporating coaching sessions, during which participants distill what they have learned, and frame action plans. 

"I've never had a single day of regret about enrolling in Kellogg’s executive MBA program or spending the money on it. The coaches there helped me build a strategy for adding value to my product,” says Kellogg School of Business graduate Siva Ramaswamy, who runs Quickwork Appliances Inc., a company specializing in appliances.  

Worldwide, top-ranked business schools have seen applications soar for executive MBA courses. The Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the GMAT, tracks applicant data annually. The group's 2012 Application Trends Survey notes that 51 percent of executive MBA programs saw an increase in the size of their applicant pool.

“From my classes at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, I've applied best practices to my business," says Lalit Dhingra, President at NIIT Technologies.

"The value of a management development program or an executive MBA is that it helps you to see how experienced managers in your classroom are running their businesses and managing people. My class had senior executives from different industries who shared their business practices and experiences," says Dhingra, who also holds an engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), in Delhi. 

NIIT Technologies President Lalit Dhingra

Dhingra says he regularly sends executives from NIIT Technologies for short management courses so that they can get a feel for the “theory behind some of the business decisions they take.”

The roughly $130,000 cost for an executive MBA program is often higher than for regular MBA programs. It is rare but not unknown for some schools to offer good student loan programs.

University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School was one of the first to offer loans to international students when the financial crisis devastated this market in late 2008. 

“We created one of the most favorable student loan programs available to international students who don’t have a U.S. co-signer. It is available to all non-U.S. Wharton students, and the terms are Prime +3 percent with no origination fees, a 20-year repayment schedule, and no pre-payment penalties,” says Wharton’s Director of the Center for Leadership and Change Michael Useem.

The typical length of executive MBA programs offered at many universities is 18 to 24 months. To accommodate students juggling their work, travel, family and academic pursuits, classes are held every other weekend and combined with online education, weekly conference calls, and quarterly residencies.


Uttara Choudhury is Associate Editor, North America for TV 18’s Firstpost news site. In 1997, she went on the British Chevening Scholarship to study Journalism at the University of Westminster, in London.



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