Why EMBA?

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By Kevin Harris

International management skills are indispensable, and there is always more to learn, even for seasoned managers and executives. That was the major takeaway from AmCham China’s “Why EMBA?” event, held on June 16 at AmCham China’s Conference Center in Beijing.

The event brought together a panel of directors from Executive Masters of Business Administration (EMBAs) programs to discuss what EMBAs can offer to students worldwide. With Elodie Xu of HEC Paris moderating, the panel included Zhai Xin from the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University, David Liu, from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, Angela Qian of Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, Richard Di of Tsinghua-UNC EMBA Education Center and Isa Luo of China Europe International Business School (CEIBS).

The major difference between MBAs and EMBAs is that EMBAs are for professionals with substantial management experience. The panel, however, rejected rigid age or experience minimums. Instead, they emphasized the quality of students’ experiences. Luo said that CEIBS’ most recent incoming class ranged in age “from 32 to 66 years old.” Xu said that HEC Paris admitted a middle-aged man who started a successful business when he was 16 years although he had no college education. Ultimately, what mattered most was that applicants could contribute a unique perspective to the educational community.

The panelists were quick to point out that, experience aside, knowing what you want to get from an EMBA program is crucial to maximizing your investment. As Liu of the University of Maryland put it, “All EMBA programs have value; the key is finding the one that is best for you.”

Kevin Harris is a Communications Intern at AmCham China.