In addition to six two-week international residencies, Global Executive MBA students participate in distance learning courses throughout the 21-month program. Masa Uzawa, a current GEMBA student and deputy manager for corporate sustainability and responsibility at a chemical/pharmaceutical company in Japan, discusses how the distance learning component of GEMBA enables him to work with classmates across the world and impacts his position as a manager:
Before I started the Global Executive MBA format, I knew that the international residencies, distance learning class sessions and online learning team meetings would help improve my performance in working remotely with colleagues and clients. My company is gradually changing and growing more globalized, and as a result, I now manage teams across different continents.
In my job, I frequently use technology to communicate with people who live and work in other countries — at a Singapore sales department office or a manufacturing site in Saudi Arabia — and managing them through Skype or a teleconferencing system is not always easy. Part of my role in my company is to be a mentor and teacher to my team. I prefer face-to-face interactions, but that is not always possible when working with a team across the globe. For example, a new employee we hired in October struggled with the new environment. At that time I was learning about management communication, which is one of GEMBA’s core subjects, and it helped me analyze my employee’s situation and provide feedback to improve his performance from afar.
Because the distance learning component of GEMBA requires me to attend distance learning classes and interact with my learning team in online meetings twice a week, I receive real-time practice in communicating effectively across the world, making me a better manager to a global team.
In the guest post below, Jordan Sorkin, Darden GEMBA student and executive advisor for the Marketing Leadership Council on the Corporate Executive Board, discusses the close bonds formed between him and his classmates:
As students and professionals, we commit to an executive MBA program after running through a predictable and slightly tailored list of attributes that meet our needs. We view these through our biases and process them through our “inference ladder” (as Professor Lynn Isabella would say), but what’s really powerful is when your mental model is disrupted or changed. For me, this experience is in regards to GEMBA’s tight-knit community.
It’s 1:25 a.m., which means I’ve been working on my Global Economies and Markets final for just shy of five hours. I can’t believe I got as late of a start as I did for this seated contiguous exam, but alas, life gets in the way. A day full of client meetings led into a night of preparing our house for a weekend family visit with more planned activities than the Olympics — all centered on my two-month-old daughter. I shrug off my hankering for a third cup of coffee and think about the four hours of sleep I’m running on, wondering why I do this to myself.
The answer isn’t solely based in the desire to converge my work life with a deeply-seeded existential yearning to be a pilgrim for continuing education, although Darden helps me appreciate that ability. The answer is actually much more:
It’s the series of text messages about upcoming travel I was exchanging with a colleague in my class who was also up late and couldn’t sleep.
It’s the group e-mail I had sent earlier this week planning a trip from D.C. to Charlottesville to visit a Japanese classmate while he’s in the U.S. for an extended stay.
It’s the three hour study group with local classmates, followed by burgers and beers at a restaurant on Capitol Hill, and finishing with a mixed learning team review session for our Finance class.
The reality underneath is that I am closer with many of my peers in GEMBA through managing relationships via e-mail, Skype and text message than I am with friends who reside in my own city. The GEMBA program has taught me how to manage time more efficiently, and more importantly, how to stay connected with colleagues in a way that is more global and consistent with how I will need to be with professional endeavors in my global career.
In today’s post, Leszek Lekstan, manager for capacity and planning at Sprint Nextel, talks about why he chose Darden’s Global Executive MBA format:
“The Global MBA for Executives (GEMBA) at Darden has many benefits. First, there’s the immediate return on investment: I work with people across different cultures and countries, and GEMBA gives me tools to understand business from a global perspective — and apply what I learn to my job in real time.
Second, the flexible MBA schedule allows me to work full time while pursuing my MBA. Although there are only six two-week residencies over the course of 21 months, you are completely immersed during those residencies. Having two weeks with your professors, classmates and learning team really allows you to live, breathe and focus on your cases and come up with solutions to real business problems. It’s a very intense, but rewarding, experience.
Finally, I chose Darden because of the community. Everyone truly goes out of their way to make you feel welcome. You can spend hours arguing with your classmates about a certain case, but at the end of the day, you can still kick back and enjoy their company because you all recognize you’re learning from one another.”
Leszek Lekstan Manager of Capacity and Planning for Sprint Nextel Darden GEMBA Class of 2014
Throughout each international residency, GEMBA students participate in Global Leadership Explorations (GLEs) — field experiences and non-classroom activities which immerse students in the cultural environment in which they are studying. These interdisciplinary experiences are customized depending on the residency location, term theme and course topics.
In the guest post below, aerospace executive and GEMBA First Year Doug Andriuk discusses how the case study method and GLEs come together to create a dynamic learning experience for executives pursuing a Global Executive MBA:
“As an aerospace executive, I’ve had opportunities to tour several aircraft manufacturing facilities and discuss different things with their executives and I was very impressed with EMBRAER. We did a case study the day prior discussing the different ways to finance an account for the construction of an aircraft, and then the following day we were actually on site at EMBRAER talking to the executives one-on-one and seeing the actual flow of the aircraft on the assembly line which just absolutely put it all together for us.
As somebody who really values business aviation and as a business aviation executive, I value being face-to-face with people, and the Darden GEMBA brings the students together with these companies and their executives and encourages lengthy discussions about how they do business in the global environment.”
Doug Andriuk Chief of Standardization and Evaluation for an aerospace company Darden GEMBA Class of 2014
From Charlottesville to Shanghai, Darden is hosting a series of events for you to learn more about Darden’s Global MBA for Executives. The upcoming Class Visit Days provide opportunities for you to experience the case method in action, meet current students and faculty and learn more about what makes Darden unique. Both of these visits take place when an actual Global Executive MBA class residency is in session.
During each GEMBA Class Visit Day you will:
Observe a case method discussion led by Darden’s top-ranked faculty
Engage in a Round Table Discussion with Associate Deans and Admissions
Enjoy a Networking Reception where you will hear from current GEMBA students about their experiences at Darden
Charlottesville, Virginia Friday, 3 May at 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Register
Saturday, 11 May at 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Register
In addition to these unique opportunities to learn more about the Global MBA for Executives, we will also host several class visit days when the MBA for Executives are in residence. We hope you can join us!
We’d like to remind you of the upcoming Executive MBA Open House at the Darden School of Business. This Saturday’s events will begin with an actual case method discussion, taught by a member of Darden’s world-renowned faculty. Following class, you’ll enjoy remarks and Q & A with a member of Darden’s senior leadership team. You’ll then have lunch with current MBA for Executives students. After lunch, you’ll get your questions answered at an interactive panel discussion with leaders from Career Development, Financial Aid, Admissions and Operations. You’ll end the day with a tour of the Darden Grounds.
Attending a Darden Open House will give you a firsthand look at our executive MBA formats and what makes Darden different.
During the residency in Brazil, First Year students Dan Baker and Jordan Sorkin reflect on how Darden’s GEMBA format provides them with the opportunity to immerse themselves in their courses on leading organizations, financial management and policies, and accounting; apply their knowledge through company visits and discussions with executives from EMBRAER and the Brazilian Stock Exchange; and maintain a connection to their jobs and families at home.
In the video below, Darden’s MBA Admissions Dean Sara Neher discusses the Global MBA for Executives and the MBA for Executives admissions process, scholarship availability and benefits of applying to the GEMBA and EMBA formats of Darden’s MBA in March or April.
If you are interested in applying for one of the executive formats of the Darden MBA, we strongly encourage you to schedule a conversation with an Admissions committee member to learn more about how the Global Executive MBA can help you advance your career — whether it’s moving up in your current company, switching careers or starting your own business.