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Investing in employee education

Executive MBA's accommodating schedule offers a positive return to students and companies alike
February 11, 2013
By Yuri Mytko

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article indicating that an increasing number of companies that send their employees to complete an Executive MBA (EMBA) program view the degree as a critical business investment and a way to retain talent.

Frank Crooks, director of the EMBA program at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business (JMSB), is receiving similar feedback from companies that sponsor EMBA students. “Companies that invest in their employees in this manner see results right away,” he says.

Jerry Jendusa agrees. As founder and chief operating officer of EMTEQ, an international avionics design and manufacturing company, he has backed an EMTEQ employee who wanted to complete an EMBA at Concordia.

“It is in our best interest to grow our high-potential employees from within,” he says. “Typically, our staff comes up through the technical ranks, and an executive program from a world-renowned business school is ideal to further develop our leaders.” 

Many firms also view the EMBA program as a worthwhile investment because of the opportunities it affords students to network with rising stars in other industries, Crooks adds. "The admissions criteria are very discriminating, so everyone in the program is extremely sharp,” he says. “Employers are keenly aware of the fact that their employees will be mixing with individuals who will be major players in the business community in the coming years.”

Photo by Christian Fleury

JMSB devised its EMBA program with full-time employees in mind. “Our schedule minimizes the amount of time employees need to be away from the office,” Crooks explains. “This enables them to continue to meaningfully contribute in the workplace – immediately applying the skills they have acquired in the classroom.”

Whereas many competing programs require students to attend classes monthly over four consecutive days, the JMSB program holds classes only once a week on alternating Fridays and Saturdays.

“This makes our program very attractive,” Sharon Nelson, the EMBA program’s assistant director, says. “EMBA students are typically middle managers who have families, and not having to give up entire weekends that are often reserved for family is extremely important to them.”

Graduates are the program’s most ardent supporters. Many have reached positions where they are now encouraging their employees to apply. EMBA alumnus James Bright, who is CN Railway’s vice-president of information technology and chief information officer, has arranged for the company to support the education of a number of staff members.

“The payback is high,” he says. “We send our high-potential technical people through the program and they come back with the balanced set of skills they need to progress to the top levels.”

New facilities on the 10th floor of the JMSB Building are making a return to school all the more pleasant for students. The new quarters in the LEED silver-certified building provide students with a quiet environment that has specifically been designed to support the EMBA program’s activities. The program moved into its new home in September.

Related links:
•    John Molson Executive MBA program
•    John Molson School of Business

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