Making a Career Transition with the Help of an Executive Master of Business Administration Program

Posted by Graduate Management Admission Council on Feb 4, 2020 7:00:00 AM

Switching careers is the new normal. Surveys have found that in the United Kingdom, more than half of respondents plan on switching careers within the next five years, while in the United States young people switch jobs on average four times within 10 years after graduating from college. Globally, 43 percent of Millennials plan to leave their current jobs within two years, and just 28 percent see themselves staying longer than five years.

In today’s fast-paced economy, professional success depends on being prepared for making drastic career changes. In fact, some companies have embraced this instability. LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, for instance, describes 21st-century careers as “tours of duty” where employees hired to work on a company’s specific goal do so for a finite period and then seek a new role, either within the company or even outside of it. For some, the prospect of changing careers sounds daunting. However, it is also an exciting opportunity and an Executive MBA can help. Here's how.

An Executive Master of Business Administration program is about more than climbing the corporate ladder

Traditionally, the EMBA has been the program of choice for professionals aspiring to executive or C-suite positions. Times, however, have changed. While an Executive Master of Business Administration program is still a great way to get a promotion, today it attracts candidates from a wide variety of fields, such as healthcare, government, nonprofits, and the military. MBA programs are increasingly offering specializations—such as data management, healthcare management, and entrepreneurship—that appeal to students who aspire to careers beyond the boardroom.

These specializations have helped broaden the EMBA into something that can help students looking not just for advancement at their current company, but a new career entirely. Not only do EMBAs offer the multidisciplinary skills needed for a wide range of careers, but the increasingly specialized nature of some programs helps students more easily transition into their target industries.

Want to find out how business school can help you break into one of today’s most popular industries? Check out How an Executive MBA Can Prepare You for a Tech Career.

Career services help students take control of their careers

The services available to students in EMBAs are likewise evolving. Career services, which are traditionally offered to younger MBA students who are earlier in their careers, are now increasingly available to EMBA students. This reflects the fact that fewer EMBA students intend to stay with their current employer after they graduate. Our research shows that 42 percent of EMBA students intend to change job functions after they graduate, and 29 percent plan to switch industries entirely. This shift is at least partly because fewer of them are receiving full financial sponsorships from employers. In 2019, for example, just 15 percent of students received full sponsorship, down from 23.2 percent in 2015. While that may place a greater financial burden on students initially, it also means they are free to search for other career opportunities after completing their EMBA.

That freedom means that students are better able to take control of their career trajectories, which is where career services can be of significant help. While every school’s career services are different, they are an excellent resource for helping students identify potential employers, improve their job hunting skills for their target industries, and forge connections with industry insiders.

An EMBA is a networking opportunity to meet people outside your industry

What’s true in most industries is that who you know matters just as much as what you know. A LinkedIn survey, for example, found that 70 percent of people in 2016 hired at a company where they already had a connection. Knowing people in a target industry can make the transition much easier for anyone looking for a career change. One advantage of going back to school as an Executive MBA candidate is that students are surrounded by peers who come from a wide variety of industries and who can provide personal connections and insights into a new industry.

Our 2019 Alumni Perspectives Survey shows that 95 percent of EMBA graduates would either probably or definitely recruit a student from their alma mater. Since the vast majority of EMBA programs offer either a mandatory or optional international component, EMBAs are an excellent way to broaden one’s network globally, thus increasing opportunities for when the time comes to make the career switch.


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Topics: executive mba candidate, executive mba evaluation, executive master of business administration

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