Category: EMBA

EMBA Elite Spotlight: Paul Mongeon

This week we will be posting our first EMBA Elite Spotlight. These articles will help share more about the EMBA program at The University of Alabama from an insider’s point of view, as well as some EMBA alumni and student success stories.
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Our first student spotlight is Paul Mongeon, a member of the Tuscaloosa EMBA class of 2014. Paul is originally from Beulah, North Dakota, but has lived in Mississippi for the past 15 years. He has been married for 12 years, has two kids, and works as the Engineering Manager at North American Coal Red Hills Mine in Ackerman, MS. Paul is a current EMBA student at UA, and is preparing for the upcoming international trip to Santiago, Chile and Lima, Peru in February, as well as his graduation from the EMBA program in May.

Paul has an undergrad degree in civil engineering from North Dakota State University. His favorite book is Good to Great by Jim Collins, and he is currently reading up on South American culture to prepare for the international trip.

Balancing work, family, and graduate school is always a concern when considering an EMBA degree. As a father, husband, and engineering manager for his company, Paul Mongeon had the same concerns. “I have always enjoyed business, and I realized there is never a good time to go back to school,” Paul said.

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Pictured: Paul Mongeon (right) with classmate Jason Cochran (left)

One of Paul’s favorite EMBA team stories involves the negotiations class. “It started with an easy negotiation and ended up with two groups upset with each other because of a communication problem!” According to Paul, communication is vital when participating in the EMBA program. “My advice to someone starting the EMBA program is to communicate to everyone that you will be changing your life – so expect a major transformation!”

Paul defines success as learning and teaching as much as possible and says that the best business advice he has ever received was to live below your means. “I honestly think the negotiations class has changed my life the most. The skills I learned in this class have helped me deal with many difficult situations without unneeded stress.  I learned to never be caught without a backup plan and always anticipate tactics that others will use in negotiations.”

Check back for more spotlights on current EMBA students and alumni! For more information about the EMBA program at UA, visit emba.ua.edu.
 

How to convince your company to pay for your EMBA

According to The Executive MBA Council, approximately 60 percent of students receive partial or full funding for their EMBA degree. Although more EMBA programs are offering scholarships or fellowships (46.2 percent in 2012), students may also receive full or partial sponsorships from their employers.

EMBA programs offer many benefits to students, as well as students’ employers. Here are some benefits to point out when discussing your plans to pursue an EMBA degree with your employer and negotiating potential funding and sponsorship options:

1.) Sponsoring an employee’s participation in an EMBA program is a company investment. 
When an employer decides to sponsor an employee’s participation in an EMBA program, they are not only making an investment in that employee, but in the company as a whole. It is an opportunity for the employer to increase retention of top performing employees. By investing in and improving the existing talent within the company, employers will encourage their employees to stay with the company, and ultimately save money by eliminating the need for recruiting outside talent.
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2.) Companies receive instant return on investment. 
EMBA students will gain new skills and knowledge from the course content that can be immediately applied to the workplace. Such skills include the ability to think strategically, analyze complex problems, integrate information, and make tough decisions. Students will be able to better identify opportunities for improvement within their company and apply creative and effective solutions.

3.) EMBA sponsorship can improve in-house succession planning. 
While participating in an EMBA program, students will develop leadership and communication skills that will enable them to advance to the next level within their company. Students learn to work well with a team, as well as how to successfully lead a highly performing group of individuals. Employers will feel confident when developing a succession plan, as students will gain a better understanding of business functions from an organizational standpoint.

4.) Companies will gain access to the latest business trends, management strategies and techniques, as well as the experience and knowledge of other business professionals.
EMBA students will broaden their perspective by learning about the latest business management techniques and gaining insight from other working professionals with diverse backgrounds. Students can draw from this information and bring new ideas and strategies into their workplace.

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5.) EMBA students can bring a new global perspective into their workplace. 
Many EMBA programs take an international trip as part of their curriculum. Students will develop a deeper understanding of different economies, businesses, and cultures worldwide. Through company visits, meetings with business professionals and government officials, and tours of cultural and historical sites, EMBA students will gain a new global perspective, and can build an international network that can be very beneficial for the companies they work for.

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6.) The actual payback period has been reduced from 23 to 17 months. 
An article in The Washington Post states that reports show the actual payback period for an executive MBA has been reduced from 23 to 17 months over the past year, despite the rising average of program costs. The important thing for employers to remember is that the benefits from sponsoring an EMBA student are long term, reaching far and beyond the time it takes to fully recover the costs of their investment.

When discussing an EMBA sponsorship with your employer, it is important to point out these benefits and demonstrate how funding an EMBA degree is a sound investment in the future of your company.

The University of Alabama’s EMBA program offers an outline to assist students in developing a proposal for corporate sponsorship, which you can access by clicking on the link below:
UA-EMBA Corp Sponsorship Proposal

For more information about the EMBA program at UA, please visit www.emba.ua.edu.

If you read one article about MBA Information Sessions, read this one.

You have been looking at various graduate schools, searching different programs, talking with friends, colleagues, and even random people you meet.  You have narrowed it down to a few schools.  Now is the time to attend an information session or an open classroom.  Before you go, here are some things you should know:

1.) Information sessions generally start off with a check in and a reception with some time to mingle.  This is a good opportunity for talking privately with the staff, faculty, alumni and current students.  For open classrooms, arriving early will allow you to talk to students before they must focus on the class lecture.
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2.) During the reception or open classroom, be prepared to talk about yourself.  At the beginning of the session guests are sometimes asked to introduce themselves to the group. Sharing information about yourself, your position, your company and why you are pursuing a graduate degree will be helpful for those who are attached to the school. It will also help them in relating your background and experiences with others who are similar to you and the benefits they received.

3.) Personal interview – you may also want to arrange for a one-on-one meeting with the admissions person either before or after the event.  The personal interviews usually cover the program in more detail and allow you to ask questions pertaining to your own issues and goals. It also gives the admissions officer an opportunity to get to know you.

4.) Be professional! The staff, alumni and students will notice your dress, conduct, and interest, so be prepared and make a good impression.

5.) Check out the campus and classroom.  While at the open classroom take some time either before or after the lecture to check out the campus.  Also note the parking and lodging if you may be staying overnight to attend classes.  How long did it take you to drive to the location, and what restaurants or shops are located nearby?

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6.) Questions – go prepared with questions. You will find that during the reception or at any point in the information session, you will have the opportunity to ask a question.  During open classrooms, it is best to hold questions until a break period.
Some typical questions are:

  • How has the program benefited you (or your company)?
  • Did you receive a promotion, change jobs, change positions while in the program?
  • Since graduation, how has the program helped you with your career?
  • Is career counseling available?
  • How did you juggle work, school and home?
  • How much support did you receive from your company (financial, time off)?
  • Looking back, what would you say were the best courses in developing your career and why?
  • Does the program require team assignments and if so, how often do teams meet outside of class?
  • Could you tell me how study teams are formed?
  • What is the ratio of individual to group assignments?
  • How much time outside of class do you spend preparing for class?
  • Is there an international trip involved in the program? How is the country selected? What companies do you visit? Who do you meet with at the companies?
  • Is there a masters’ project?
  • How did you secure funding? Are scholarships available? Is there a VA office on campus?
  • How active are alumni? Are there alumni programs and events?

7.) At the end of the event, be sure to exchange contact information.  You should also receive a follow up email from the University. At this point, feel free to ask for names and contact information of anyone you met but did not secure a business card.  Also, ask additional questions or if you did not have time to set up a personal interview, do so now.

Graduate school is a BIG investment.  EMBA Programs offer many benefits like a schedule that does not interfere with working professionals, a lock-step program where classes are set, a definite graduation date of 17-24 months from the start of program, and classmates who have extensive work and management experience.

Do not take this investment lightly!  Attend an event. Be prepared.

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The University of Alabama EMBA has many events throughout the year.  We encourage you to attend an information session and an open classroom. To RSVP, or for more information about upcoming information sessions, open classrooms, or to set up a personal interview, please contact Cheryl Altemara at caltemara@cba.ua.edu or call 205-348-4501.

Executive MBA – A Good MBA Choice for Veterans?

UA Manderson EMBA Military Veterans and students preparing for their international immersion.

Transitioning from a military career to a civilian work environment is cause for serious reflection and careful planning.  Questions arise … will my military leadership and management skills translate? Is the EMBA the right degree for me?  Why is an EMBA Program a great choice for Veterans specifically?  Are accelerated programs, EMBA programs for instance, respected by industry? Can I find a reputable EMBA Program that is also military friendly? Can I work full time while participating in an EMBA Program?  Can I afford it with my Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits?
When considering the best path for your education, remember the following points:

  • Will my skills translate?   Trends show the corporate world benefits greatly from well-seasoned military leaders who are making the decision to transition out of active military service.  After all, historically, many a great business theory or strategy was first developed in a military setting prior to trickling into commercial industry.

 

  • Is the EMBA the right degree for me?   There actually is no E.M.B.A. degree in the US at this time.  An EMBA program offers the M.B.A. degree in a format designed for experienced professionals.  The degree curriculum is generally broad by design to prepare students for executive leadership positions. Also, an executive-style MBA program is an efficient way to reframe military leadership training with a boardroom-style business education.

 

  • Why is an EMBA a great choice for Veterans specifically? The average EMBA student has 15 years of professional work experience.  By choosing an EMBA format for their degree, Veterans are immersed with a group of experienced, highly motivated professionals from diverse industries such as technology, telecommunications, health care, manufacturing, services and defense.  Learning from professionals active in other industries is a great fit for the warfighter who wants to transition quickly into an executive environment.

 

  • Is an EMBA respected by industry compared to a “regular” MBA?  Yes! Industry leaders understand and value the drive needed and sacrifices made by professionals who work full time and earn a degree in an academically rigorous EMBA program. Additionally, company executives know EMBA programs value leadership skills, teamwork mindset and the world experience Veterans bring into the classroom. They know they are getting a good “product” by hiring an EMBA. EMBA programs offer a boardroom-style class setting with experienced professionals and typically in an accelerated schedule, ranging from 17 to 22 months in length.  Work and school is a challenging undertaking.  Taking on this challenge with a network of experienced professionals is a rewarding experience.  Industry understands and values the discipline required to graduate from a highly-regarded EMBA program.

 

  • Can I find a reputable EMBA Program that is also military friendly?
    Most EMBA programs require a minimum of five years of professional work experience and count military service years equal with commercial-industry experience. Key tips for Veterans or active military who are evaluating how Post 9/11 G I Bill benefits apply to tuition costs: 1) check on whether the program is a public institution and if tuition is considered “in state”  2) ask if a program waives application fees or waives tuition prepayment requirements for active military and Veterans   3) confirm that your enrollment status will be considered “full time”.

 

  • Can I work full time while participating in an EMBA Program?  Yes.  Take advantage of that great post-military job offer while attending school full time.  A weekend schedule is a perfect schedule for the working professional.  Plus, EMBA faculty understand your schedule and in most instances can work with you on work/life schedule conflicts.

 

  • Can I afford an EMBA Program with my Post 9/11 GI Bill Education Benefits?  Yes! Although tuition is slightly higher for most EMBA programs, this is typically due to the “all-in-one cost” of the tuition/fees structure.  Meaning your tuition, books, supplies, meals, and international immersion are included in the cost of the program. Contact the program you are considering for more details.  In most cases you will be pleasantly surprised!

If you are looking for a perfect fit as you transition from military service to the civilian workforce; check out an Executive MBA program. It is challenging experience that will fit well with the skills developed through a career of military service.  Visit the Executive MBA Council website, embac.org, to compare programs in your region; compare up to five programs side by side on this site.

For more information on this blog, visit www.emba.ua.edu or call Cheryl to talk more about returning to Graduate School as a Veteran, 205-348-4501.

Top 10 Benefits of the Alabama EMBA Program

Are you ready to return to graduate school?  Is the EMBA Program at The University of Alabama right for you?  UA’s EMBA program is designed for working professionals and allows students to continue working while completing their degree in four or five semesters. Students may earn an MBA degree in one of two locations, Tuscaloosa or Huntsville.

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Students enter the EMBA program with specific needs and set expectations. Interviews conducted prior to starting the program show that the number one reason for enrollment is “increasing business knowledge.”
There are many takeaways from the program. A recent survey of UA EMBA graduates (2002-2012) reported that the program helped students grow their businesses, change careers, secure promotions, and think more strategically.

What are the top 10 benefits for UA EMBA students?

1. Increased business financial skills

Students are given tools to assess new financial strategies and develop a deeper understanding of annual reports and related financial data. Students report a better understanding of how their own businesses run.   

2. Building a business network

Without a doubt one of the greatest benefits is the strong network forged in the UA EMBA.  Students form lifelong friendships and make valuable business contacts.  Diversity in student backgrounds, academics, industry and culture provides a rich environment in which to learn.

2013 EMBA Graduation
2013 EMBA Graduation

3.Achieving Personal and Professional Goals

Students set goals at the beginning of the program and encourage each other to reach their personal and professional goals by the end of the program. Achieved goals run the gamut from company promotions to running a marathon; from improving business skills or starting a company, to becoming a more effective leader or even learning how to sky dive.

4. Improved Negotiating Skills

The negotiation class, in combination with other courses, helps students to understand their businesses better and teaches them to make more informed decisions. Graduates attribute the skills they learned to negotiating savings for their companies, as well as obtaining better raises and signing bonuses.

5. Thinking Strategically

A boardroom approach to learning encourages the exchange of ideas, discourse and executive level strategic thinking.  The program builds to a final semester focusing on strategic communications, management, implementation, global strategy, and includes a final project that provides valuable ROI to companies.

6. Enhancing Careers

Are you looking for a degree to get you to that next management level? Eighty percent of UA EMBA graduates have received promotions, and 32.4 percent have received three to five promotions. The remaining 20 percent reported job changes, becoming owners of their own companies, or becoming consultants after graduation. Corporations also work with us in sponsoring their employees as part of retention, promotion and succession planning.

7. Challenging Curriculum

The program is NOT MBA-lite.  UA EMBA is an academically rigorous program that challenges its students.  The faculty bring vast experience, many of which have worked outside academia, or have consulted extensively with various industries, defense and government.

International Trip to Istanbul
International Trip to Istanbul

8. Thinking Differently – Broadening Perspective

When you bring together a diverse group of people and expose them to cases, open debates, discussions, and in-depth presentations, they obtain a broader perspective and a new way of thinking.
The international trip in the final semester exposes the class to different cultures, global markets, worldwide corporate strategies, and shows them how to do business in another country.
The added bonus is that students forge stronger bonds. The trip offers exposure to industries and culture, but also provides time for students to further their friendships with each other.

9. Continuing a Career while Completing an MBA

We understand that it’s hard to juggle work and family, and to add graduate school to the mix is extremely tough. We often tell prospects that it’s like adding a second job.  It is tough, but it is also very rewarding. The Alabama EMBA format is lock step (all classes are taken together, from start to finish).  We offer both a four-semester and a five-semester program, taught on alternating weekends. You will never have to wait for a class to be offered; They are all set for you.

10. Becoming a More Effective Leader

Our goal at UA EMBA is to help managers advance their knowledge and their companies’ bottom lines.  Some students are moving up the corporate ladder, while others are moving from technical fields into more strategic areas, or growing their businesses.

Dr. Khursheed Nadeem Anwer, President and CSO of EGEN and 2012 EMBA graduate, noted that “Although I am a scientist by training, the UA EMBA Program helped me think more strategically, giving me tools as a business professional to impact my organization and industry more effectively.”

Are you ready to take the first step? Contact Cheryl Altemara at 205.348.4501 or fill out an interest form here.

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