What do you, the Executive MBA candidate, need as part of your profile to ensure you meet business school expectations? QS TopExecutive asks a few of the experts.
During your career, you’ve no doubt sat behind the interviewing table, looking for a suitable applicant to fill a vacant position within your company. As you go through their CV, highlighting their achievements and questioning their suitability for the role, you’re trying to work out whether they have the profile that fits you ideal candidate.
Welcome to the world of Executive MBA admissions. As a business school admissions director looks over the range of applications to their EMBA program, they’ll be doing exactly the same thing – asking themselves whether you fit the profile they’re looking for. While you may have already embarked on a number of extra-curricular activities that ensure you’re not just another EMBA applicant, what are business schools looking for in a candidate’s profile to ensure they meet their program’s requirements?
"There are quite a few things that are required from an Executive MBA candidate in order to be considered a good candidate,” says Yolanda Habets, program manager for MBA programs at Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School in Belgium.
"Aside from their general experience in terms of educational and professional attainment, there are three important considerations: the candidate shows they have prepared for their introduction to the school; they are open to sharing their experience and their authentic self and absorbing what a larger group has to offer; and they have a clear desire to develop and grow intellectually, in terms of skills and as a member of a team.”
Habets says preparation is evident when EMBA candidates are able to show they know about the program and its distinctive elements. “They have considered the potential impact the program of study has on themselves and their domestic life, they can relate the program to their career development goals, which means they are clear on what they want to get out of the program, and they can demonstrate an inquiring and open-minded approach that will enable them to learn and help others develop,” she says.
The ability to help their fellow EMBA classmates’ development is what Marianne Vandenbosch, graduate program director of McGill-HEC Montreal Executive MBA program in Canada is also looking for in a successful EMBA candidate.
"They are managers who can reflect, think, and share their learning; leaders the rest of the class will be able to learn from,” she says.
However, the admissions directors of the Executive MBA program at McGill-HEC Montreal don’t have just one profile they’re looking for. Instead, as is the case with many EMBA programs, they’re looking for diversity, and as Vandenbosch says, ‘the greater the range of profiles the better’.
"Here’s a cross section of the participants in the current class: a UN Field Coordinator, an Emergency Room doctor, the Communications Director for the French-language service of the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), an Executive VP and CTO at Axxend (a technology consulting firm focused on Africa), the founder of Apollo Studios (specializing in original music composition for films, TV, advertising), and the Director of Global Metal Price Risk Management at Rio Tinto,” says Vandenbosch.
"What do they have in common? They’re curious, engaged and eager-to-learn executives with at least 10 years of experience (the average in the class is 18 years).”
On a more practical note, Ashley Arnold, Director of MBA/DBA Recruitment at Henley Business School in the UK says to join the school’s Executive MBA program, candidates will need: three years' management experience, a good first degree or equivalent professional or international qualification, evidence of competence in English (if it is not their first language), and access to company data for assignment purposes.
"We look to create a dynamic and diverse class with an interesting mix of backgrounds and experiences,” Arnold says.