Hear how Executive MBA participant Maria Zhukova used the flexibility of the programme to suit and support her career plans.
Executive MBA participant, Luis Mur, explores how his favourite modules on the programme were not what he was originally expecting to get the most learning from.
As an experienced manager who has worked in a variety of positions and industries prior to braving the Executive MBA, my expectation was that the course would “fill in the gaps” in my experience and training and provide me with a basic insight into areas where I hadn´t had much prior experience.
I was looking forward most enthusiastically towards the finance and marketing modules, and, to a lesser extent, the more people-centred ones such as Organisational Behaviour. I didn´t have such high expectations of the modules that touched upon the areas where I had the most working experience, such as Operations or Leadership.
I would have five or six core modules under my belt before I had to choose my electives, so I didn´t think much about my choices to begin with, but I was fully expecting to choose electives that deepened my understanding of areas where I had no prior experience.
Spoiler alert: I was completely wrong! I loved the Organisational Behaviour module and the systematisations it provides into an area, human behaviour, where I thought no rules could ever apply. I greatly enjoyed Economics of the Business Environment and Accounting and Financial Management, and I´m sure our CFO will have enjoyed them even more without ever attending, because now I understand where he´s coming from and we have far less arguments than before!
I found Strategic Advantage, Innovation and Creativity in Organisations, and my first elective, Strategy and Practice, even more interesting, as I could relate much of what I was being shown to my own experience. These modules provided many new tools and insights that will help me, and in many cases, have already helped me, to ask the right questions and offer new solutions to problems I encounter in my everyday work.
But my podium of top picks, among the seven core and two elective modules I´ve done so far (I had to postpone Marketing due to work commitments), must be Operations Management, Leadership, and another elective, Leadership and the Art of Judgment. These are the areas where most of my work experience lays, and I walked into them,, saying to myself “What are they going to tell me that is relevant to my job and I don´t already know I don´t already know?”
Well, it turns out, an awful lot! As the lectures progressed, I found myself nodding most of the time, disagreeing sometimes, but always relating to my own experience, always “yes, it totally worked that way”, or “I could have looked at that issue through this framework”, or “Wouldn´t have worked in my case because of.., but still really useful”. Of course, there had been a lot of this in all modules, but now I was taking the theory-experience match to a whole new level. It is now that I have fully entered what I call my “postgraduate mode”, which, to me, means, above all, original thought and contributions.
Just when I thought that the lectures were done opening my eyes to the infinite approaches one can take to a problem, interaction with the cohort, from groupwork to casual chats over a coffee, provided even more insights from the diverse cohort.
I could talk about a myriad of insights that I´ve gained, but the Operations Management module has taught me to see recurring patterns in seemingly completely different operations, and that solutions to the issues my own operation is facing could be drawn from absolutely every operation.
The leadership modules, in turn, have, above all, exposed me, sometimes brutally, such as during the Shakespearean gameplay, to my own preconceptions and prejudices, and increased my own self-awareness exponentially.
Now, I can´t wait to finish off with my last three modules, but as you may have noticed, I ended up doing the opposite of what I initially planned to do, and I have chosen elective modules that actually relate to my work experience.
I never thought I´d say this, but I want more!