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The Executive MBA: Your Roadmap to Navigating the New Normal

Martine George, Coach and CAP Manager Solvay Executive MBA 06/04/2020 Stratégie, Management

The days of staying in the same company your entire career and climbing the ‘corporate ladder’ to retirement are long gone. Today, changing jobs – or even careers – is the New Normal.

Martine George, professor of management practice at Solvay Brussels School and head of the Executive MBA's Career Advancement Programme, shares her thoughts on why an Executive MBA is the key to navigating this new normal. 

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Changing careers – with confidence

At Solvay Brussels School, I have seen a wide range of profiles come through the programme. This includes researchers looking to move into a management role, engineers wanting to start their own enterprise, managers seeking to update their skills, people looking to transition from the private to the public sector, and even trailing partners taking advantage of some downtime to enhance their education.

But regardless of background or goals, most participants are between 35 and 50 years old and have at least seven years professional experience in international environments. They also all share a commitment to life-long learning and a desire to gain the skills and experience they need to change careers with confidence.

A personal investment

For many, an Executive MBA is a major personal investment of both time and money. Companies no longer fund an employee’s MBA, as was often the case a decade ago. That’s why Solvay Brussels School has structured its Executive MBA to fit into this reality. As a result, the 18-month programme takes place on a long week-end per month, meaning participants can continue with their work and lives even while they study.       

Education. Exposure. Experience.

An Executive MBA should boost what I call the 3 Es: education, exposure, and experience. On the one hand, the programme will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to lead the change. But it shouldn’t stop there. An Executive MBA should also expose you to new ideas, challenge your world view, and force you to question your identity. Only when learning gets uncomfortable does it become transformational.

You also need experience. By taking what you learn and applying it to real-world situations, you get to experience your strengths, weaknesses, and style. You also get experience working with others, getting and giving feedback, and building the all-important network. This is the emotional part of the Executive MBA, the part where students see everything come together – that ‘aha moment’ where the lightbulb goes off and they truly embrace change. As a teacher and a coach, it is a real privilege to witness this transformation first-hand!  I remember particularly a very shy biotech researcher who has acquired self-confidence and deployed his wings through the programme, or a young ambitious lady who has learned to develop her emotional intelligence and empathy. Both have reported to have changed so much during their Executive MBA.

A transformational journey

The world is changing – and changing fast. To succeed, one must be able to change their world view. However, this is easier said than done. After all, this type of change doesn’t happen by simply acquiring a new skill. It happens by acquiring a new state-of-mind.        

That’s why the Solvay Executive MBA is a transformational journey. As such, the curriculum is based on progressive learning, one that not only ensures a mastery of skills, but also meaningful learning and a lifetime of achievement. From a foundation in the fundamentals, participants build to the practical using a mix of classroom theory, hands-on experiences, and personalised coaching and mentoring. The process culminates with the opportunity to put your skills and knowledge to the test and address real-world challenges within the LAB, a final business project that connects their learning with the business environment.

Leading – and succeeding – in the New Normal

One of the key differentiating factors of the Solvay Executive MBA is its Career Advancement Program (CAP), a powerful combination of one-to-one coaching sessions, career seminars and self-assessment tools offered to each of our Executive MBA students. This is where your knowledge and skills are transformed into change. With the support of a personal coach, your fellow classmates, and the extensive Solvay alumni network, CAP is where it all comes together. By learning to leverage your knowledge and skills and discovering your leadership style, you will emerge well-positioned to have a transformational impact on the people, places, and projects you influence.

In other words, you’ll have what it takes to lead – and succeed – in the New Normal. 

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