Going back to school is a daunting task for most people, especially after time spent outside of academia. Prepare yourself with some pre-EMBA workshops.
Managers and professionals who decide to enrol in an EMBA program will typically have worked full-time for a considerable number of years before starting the program. This means for many, time spent studying in an academic setting might be a distant memory.
Naturally, some basic skills and learning habits acquired during your university student years will have faded into oblivion and the transition back into an academic environment, particularly at business school level, could be tough. To refresh those ‘student skills’ and help ensure a more successful EMBA experience, many business schools offer pre-EMBA or pre-term courses for new EMBA students.What are pre-EMBA courses?
As the name suggests, pre-EMBA or pre-term courses are offered prior to the start of the official EMBA program. These are designed to cover a wide range of focus areas, from specific skills in quantitative subjects, i.e. maths, statistics or economics to practical skills such as learning strategies, time management or skills that will allow students to deal with the format and structure of the program in the context of their employment.
The aim of such courses is to prime students for the academic work the Executive MBA will require and to fill any knowledge and skills gaps that might exist. The Foster School of Business at the University of Washington, for example, offers a summer workshop for their new EMBA students, which focuses specifically on maths and excel skills, as they are crucial to the EMBA program offered. The course provides training in mathematics and computerized data analysis in order to get new EMBA entrants up to speed in these areas. The workshop comprises classroom sessions as well as an extensive provision in online materials and assignments. However, if incoming EMBA students cannot physically attend due to time constraints, the course is also streamed online in live sessions.Online preparation
Not all pre-EMBA courses require this level of engagement. Some are offered entirely online so new EMBA students have the opportunity to catch up with the material in their own time, before the intensive EMBA course schedule begins. Other business schools hold a brief pre-term session during their orientation week as part of the course. Cass Business School, for example, offers a week of training including team building, workshops in strategy, case methods, creative problem solving and quantitative methods. The week is based at a military base in Portsmouth and aims to bring new students together in a context that requires leaving one’s comfort zone and habits.Who is eligible for pre-EMBA prep?
Some pre-EMBA workshops are a mandatory requirement of the program, while in other cases, the business school will make an assessment as to which students are strongly encouraged to participate in the pre-term programs. But whether they are mandatory or voluntary, pre-EMBA courses offer a unique and valuable opportunity to become familiar, not only with the institution and the requirements of the programs, but also with the practice of studying, or rather ‘being a student’.
In any case, pre-EMBA or pre-term EMBA workshops will make for a much easier transition into what will be a highly intensive, two-year EMBA program. Furthermore, many business schools offer the pre-term courses at no additional charge, thus providing the new student with an even greater incentive to make use of this provision to ensure they are fully prepared for the EMBA experience.