My Executive Education Journey at INSEAD


Mar, 29, 2016


Categories: Executive Education | EMBA | Advice | INSEAD

Last month I completed the modules for my Executive Masters in Consulting and Coaching for Change at INSEAD. I began the program in September 2014 and will graduate after writing my thesis (ongoing) in October 2016.  Regular readers of this blog perhaps noticed a reduced level of posting over the last year and a half.  Along with reducing my client base by about 40%, I also stopped blogging as much as in past years to be able to focus on my program.  I wanted to provide some thoughts on the process for those considering doing this kind of degree.

 

A key issue for anyone pursuing a part-time degree program is making time for it.  Whether it is a part-time Masters, evening program, weekend program,  MBA, EMBA, or otherwise, making the time is critical.  In my own case, I am fortunate to be my own boss and except for my wife, didn’t need to consider the opinions of others.  I know from both my clients experiences and from those of classmates at INSEAD that getting their organization to give them time if not outright financial support is critical. For me, I just made a decision to reduce my income. I could make this decision because I had the support of my wife. And just like with employer support, having family support is also critical. In our case, we had to consider the financial costs of me attending and also know that me getting to my modules in Singapore would be the highest priority.  If someone has kids, which we don’t, this impact on them also needs to be considered. Executive degree programs typically ask about how you will make the time to attend the program and this is for good reason because having the time is the biggest barrier for succeeding once admitted. Everyone in my program, we had a class of 31, completed it and I was impressed by the fact that everyone was present and focused on the modules.

 

Based on my experience, I can agree with the assertion that one of the advantages of an executive degree is the ability to apply what one learns to the workplace. Given the nature of my own work, I was not looking for an Executive MBA but for a program that would provide me with  an education designed for training someone to be a better coach and to gain a deeper understanding of organizations, leadership, teamwork, and family businesses.  In other words, I wanted a business school education focused on non-quantitative “soft skills” content, which is exactly what I got.  One key aspect of the EMCCC is that its focus is such that problems or issues the participants have in their work or personal lives served core material for the program.  Whether it was business issues or personal ones, we could apply the methods we were learning to them.  Outside of the program, I began applying what I was learning to my own work with clients.  In fact, my thesis will use a variety of methods covered in the program to both analyze and suggest how to improve client performance in MBA admissions interviews. I have already applied some of these techniques to the way I conduct interview training and I am seeing a significant positive impact for my clients as a result.  Gaining a deeper understanding of the impact I have on others and they have on me, a key aspect of what was covered in a variety of ways in my program, has made me a better admissions consultant and feel that improvement happening throughout the program. Keep in mind that I have been working as an admissions consultant since 2001. Gaining new techniques and feedback from peers and faculty has enabled a renewal and expansion of my ability beyond the kind of incremental improvement I think I had been making previously. My program challenged my assumptions and hopefully gave me the kind of impact that I could feel in my daily work.

 

Another consideration when considering any sort of education is who your classmates will be because it is really true that some of the biggest learning will happen because of interacting with them. In the case of the EMCCC, my classmates were management and other types of professional consultants, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, HR professionals, executive coaches, family business executives, and even a member of the INSEAD faculty. The age range was from 30 to over 60 and the mix of nationalities, typical for INSEAD, was diverse. The opportunity to interact with mature diverse professionals who were united in their desire to understand themselves and the world around them better was marvelous. I found fit with my classmates and also had an opportunity to go beyond my own professional context and to look at issues in new ways, which is what I was seeking: Renewing my own perspective and gaining a wider network to enable me to take a fresh approach to my work.  I have also made great friends.  So whatever type of program you might be considering make sure you are realistically evaluating who your classmates will be.

 

Finally, one question I get asked a lot is whether I will be changing my career now that I have my degree.  This was not my primary intention. While I hope to expand the range of work I do, one of my core objectives was to become a better graduate admissions consultant and coach.  I think it is fine to have multiple objectives (some that may be addressed in an application and others that you may prefer to keep to yourself) and depending on what those objectives are, you might be more focused on the short, medium, or long term.  Whatever the case, you should be able to articulate why you want to do the program and what you hope to get out of it. Given the time and money involved you owe it to yourself to understand what it is you think you want.

 

 

 



-Adam Markus
I am a graduate admissions consultant who works with clients worldwide. If you would like to arrange an initial consultation, please complete my intake form. Please don't email me any essays, other admissions consultant's intake forms, your life story, or any long email asking for a written profile assessment. The only profiles I assess are those with people who I offer initial consultations to. Please note that initial consultations are not offered when I have reached full capacity or when I determine that I am not a good fit with an applicant.

Latest from the Blog