Planning to apply to Executive MBA programs this season? Well, it’s time to shift into action mode. The new EMBA applications are coming out. Also, the EMBA application process has some idiosyncrasies that, if not addressed early, can trip you up down the road, when you’re hurrying to hit “submit.”
I’ll walk you through these special preparation factors in this post. Note that they’re in addition to the preparation steps any MBA applicant should take.
1. Plan to request scheduling accommodations for your EMBA. You may need a company sponsorship letter agreeing to accommodations even if the company isn’t offering financial sponsorship. For some applicants this is a “slam dunk” because their company regularly sponsors EMBA applicants. For others, it takes some strategy and convincing. If you’re in the latter category, start strategizing and planning now to make your case to the decision-maker. I’ve seen people finish the whole application and then face a red light at this very stage.*
2. Sketch out concrete plans that will carve out time for school in your schedule. Even if you plan to attend a weekend-only program, and even if you are without major personal obligations, you still can’t just add hours a week on top of your current schedule without any change (and maintain excellence). Moreover, this accommodation may take some sensitive planning since it almost certainly involves other people. (Sometimes this can be a “plus” for qualified subordinates; if you must delegate more, they gain the opportunity to shoulder higher level responsibilities.)
3. Make sure your recommenders and you are on the same page about your future. If you’re planning to stay with your current company throughout and after your MBA, your goals will necessarily include this company. Sometimes recommenders comment on your future career (either on their own initiative or in response to a question). It’s not great when your and your recommender’s ideas about your career differ!
4. Identify elements of your work that differentiate you and that will allow you to contribute distinctively to class discussions. Your current work scenario, and your work situation over the next one to two years, is what you will directly bring to the EMBA table. Look at your experience from the perspective of someone outside it; what would be most interesting? Integrate those points into your application, ideally in the essays and resume.
Good luck with your EMBA applications! You know how volatile and uncertain your work (and life in general) can be – Start now and stay proactive in the application process. Don’t let so that unexpected developments sabotage your Executive MBA plans.
*UNC Kenan-Flagler’s website has a great resource for this process.
By Cindy Tokumitsu, Cindy Tokumitsu, co-author of The EMBA Edge, and author of the free special report, “Ace the EMBA.” Cindy has helped MBA applicants get accepted to top EMBA programs around the world She is delighted to help you too!