Category Archives: EMBA

Interview: Marc Burbridge of the Omnium Global Executive MBA

Marc Burbridge

Brazil’s future growth potential has long been considered colossal. That future is arriving today, making it an exciting time for international students there. This according to Marc Burbridge, who teaches negotiation and conflict resolution at several universities in Brazil, as well as the Omnium Global Executive MBA program and Business School São Paulo

Why do international students come to Brazil?
In the new economy – well, this has been going on for about five years – but particularly today, it has to do with the fact that Brazil is playing such a leading role in the G20. And it’s an upcoming economy.

There’s an expression in Brazil – that Brazil is the land of the future, and always will be. Brazilians make that joke about themselves because it always will be, because they’ll never get there. But I think that the future is arriving today.

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Interview: Marina Heck of FGV-EAESP

Marina Heck

São Paulo’s Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo da Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV-EAESP) is one of five business schools in the OneMBA consortium. The OneMBA is an Executive MBA program where students attend classes and residencies on four different continents. Marina Heck, FGV-EAESP professor and OneMBA associate dean, explains the growing interest in emerging economies like her native Brazil.

How much of the OneMBA program is focused on acquainting students with emerging economies?

The program started with the idea of allowing international students to exchange their better practices. This client has been changing a lot recently, because interest in going abroad – specifically going to the United States or Europe – has decreased. We have been getting more calls from people interested in learning the Brazilian way, because they are interested in Brazil or other emerging economies.

And in Europe, we don’t just go to Rotterdam (where Erasmus RSM is located) for the residency; we go to Rotterdam AND Istanbul, because we think that Turkey is an exceptional example of a country that wants to be in Europe, isn’t yet, but is almost there. There are all these challenges that Turkey is facing that is very interesting to study from the business point of view.

When we go to Asia, we also spend a few days in India. We don’t have a member of the consortium in India, but we have a partner school that hosts a three-day residency there.

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Interview: Gary Biddle of Hong Kong University

Gary Biddle

Gary Biddle, dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at Hong Kong University (HKU), discusses his school’s MBA and EMBA partnerships with London Business School and Columbia Business School, and the enduring importance of “Ny-Lon Kong.”

Is Hong Kong still a good gateway into Asia for executives?

Hong Kong has long been a bridge between East and West. Hong Kong knows the West, and it knows the East. For people coming out of China into the world or going into China from the rest of the world…when these people cross, sparks fly, because in our classes, people say, “let me tell you how things are done in Shanghai,” and another might chime in “let me tell you how things are done in Berlin or London or New York or New Delhi.” The instructors understand both, and we facilitate this exchange of insights.

Is fluency in Chinese essential for executives in Hong Kong and China? Are they coming to your program with these skills?

There’s no question that if one wants to pursue a career connected to China, you’d want to know the local language there. This is true in Germany and everywhere.

In our regular MBA program, we have a “China Track” designed specifically for people from outside of China to launch their careers in China. If they don’t know Mandarin, there’s an option that takes them to Beijing for an intensive language immursion experience. This is for someone from Europe, South Asia, or the Americas who doesn’t know Mandarin, but knows China is a big thing, and wants to have some conversational fluency in Mandarin. And then they continue during their MBA studies. There’s of course a natural limit to how much you can learn in a year and a half, but still, with this kind of structure, you can learn quite a bit.

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Interview: Patrick Moreton of the Washington-Fudan Shanghai EMBA

Patrick Moreton

The managing director of the Washington-Fudan EMBA program in Shanghai says language skills and international experience are now par for the course for executives – even American executives.

Is now a good time to do an EMBA?

There are many good reasons to do an EMBA program right now. The economic downturn creates time for reflection and housekeeping if you will. For Executive MBAs, just like MBAs, it is a good time to pause and reflect.

The skills and benefits needed that come to the forefront right now are twofold: First of all, the downturn often requires a reformulation of strategy, whereas in the past steady growth meant less motivation for change. Downsizing, restructuring – these are more difficult to do in a boom, whereas now there is greater organization initiative to make changes. It is a good time to make really hard decisions. Returning now to a program like the Executive MBA allows these decisions to be done in the context of a deeper understanding of how to reformulate strategy, to find strategic clarity of how the functional pieces of an organization fit together. If you are working on these issues in your organization, it will make what you are learning in a classroom more relevant.

Leadership challenges are another reason that makes Executive MBAs an attractive option right now. It is a serious challenge to hold organizations together, to motivate people – these skills are highly useful in the context of a highly challenging leadership situation. Restructuring in industries is also another pressing concern. It is a good time to reach out across industries, to have strategic resources at hand, to network, get one’s name in circulation at a time when it is uncertain as to which industries will come through the economic downturn and what the business strategies will be. Continue reading

Interview: Steve DeKrey of the Kellogg-HKUST EMBA Program

Steve DeKrey

Is an MBA a good stepping stone into Asia? The founding director of the KelloggHKUST EMBA program shares some thoughts.

What should prospective MBA or EMBA students look for in an Asia-focused program?

There are definitely not enough Asia-related components in most US MBA programs. The need for that depends on an individual student’s career plan. My advice to prospective students is to be very open to global opportunity which will almost certainly require some time in Asia. Asia is such an important business destination for big and growing companies. An Asian component will be critical now more than ten years ago. Having an Asian base is also very important. This is where the growth is.

Prospective students need to make an assessment in terms of their skill path, career level and opportunity. This requires some research, from the websites, rankings, and publications. I encourage a candidate to find their match, not to “blanket” apply to ten schools. Students should look to find their dream school, 2-3 maximum, make sure that they are qualified and pursue that school. MBA forums can also be helpful. I recently attended forums in Hong Kong, London, and Dubai, and can report that the numbers are up and interest in Asia is also up.

A caution: Language skill is very critical especially in China, and without those language skills opportunities will be far less.

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