Business School surveys EMBA alumni on 10th anniversary of Oxford’s Executive MBA programme

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On the 10th anniversary of the Oxford Executive MBA programme, alumni have been surveyed to identify the impact the programme has had on their careers and in helping them deliver sustainable success as leaders. Their responses provide deep insights into the difference an EMBA can make to performance within the organisation and into the sort of issues these senior executives are currently facing.

“There is lots of interest in identifying the ROI of MBAs and that is not surprising given the investment such programmes represent, but for EMBA alumni, senior managers who have reached the point in their career when they want to stop and take stock, this is not about financial return but about gaining the insight and resilience to make a much bigger impact within the organisation,” said Kathy Harvey, Director of the Oxford EMBA.

The survey demonstrated the transformative effect of the EMBA programme with 61% of respondents citing the greatest impact coming from the development of their ‘leadership capabilities and self-awareness’.

During the survey period (late 2013) alumni were facing a number of challenges. Financing for new and viable projects was still proving difficult, changes to the regulatory landscape was hampering innovation and growth, and the ‘war on talent’ was a concern with alumni facing a shortage of suitable qualified, experienced practitioners to help fuel expansion plans. 61% of the alumni clearly indicated the value of the EMBA in helping them develop new ways of thinking to tackle such challenges with many reporting drawing upon key decision making tools, approaches and mindsets from the course when considering such issues, referencing specific lectures, assignments and past conversations with fellow participants as helpful in informing their thinking.

Looking ahead to future challenges, alumni identified demographic shifts (41%), increased global competition (39%), and environmental (35%) and technological changes (35%) as concerns thought likely to have the greatest impact on businesses in the future. The programme purposefully includes such issues within the curriculum, to better prepare participants for the road ahead. Demographic change and the associated business opportunities and challenges was the theme of the GOTO (Global Opportunities and Threats Oxford) online problem-solving initiative across the School in 2013. Environmental challenges and resource scarcity will be the discussion topic for 2015 among the School’s wider community of alumni, students, faculty and others coming together to develop action-oriented responses to the issues.

To keep pace with the external business environment and the demand for leaders who can take on some of the world’s most complex problems and capitalise on global opportunities, the Oxford EMBA is evolving. ‘The changes we are introducing reflect the concerns revealed by the survey and will strengthen our focus on the challenges of strategic decision making and the development of personal presence as a leader, encompassing governance, ethics, reputation and risk’ said Kathy Harvey

“As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Oxford Executive MBA, I take great pride in its success and reflect upon the achievements and contributions of our alumni,” said Peter Tufano, Peter Moores Dean of Sa?d Business School. “Like the School itself, since it was established the Oxford Executive MBA has gone from strength to strength and has come to maturity. It has attracted participants of the highest calibre, many who are senior leaders in their fields who have offered us their invaluable insights. I look forward with great anticipation to the next ten years of the programme.”

Over 75 EMBA alumni from around the world returned to Oxford this weekend to celebrate the anniversary. The event combined continual learning from academic lectures, with reflection on the EMBA participants’ achievements and successes, alongside networking opportunities.

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