An EMBA is the perfect “next step” if you are an experienced manager with a solid career progression.
Proposing and receiving sponsorship is a crucial part of the application process. It can range from accommodating your schedule to covering tuition costs or providing full financial support for program and travel expenses.
You will need to gain the buy-in and support from your employer if you are to successfully balance your professional workload and your EMBA program. Engaging your employer early in the process could increase the possibility of their being able to provide you with financial support (don’t forget that those programs easily cost over US$120,000).
In framing your case for sponsorship, it is important to be confident, present relevant data to back up your argument and be prepared to negotiate.
We like to approach this as a business case. It would help you prepare for all the questions you may face when asking your company for sponsorship and is a great way to plan your strategy and ensure you are well equipped to address the concerns of key decision-makers in your organisation.
Define clearly your goals, motivations and commitment
It is crucial to set concrete goals (they will help you sell the idea better in your interactions with your management team). You need to consider the decision through the lens of your employer.
In other words, speak to people in terms of their interests and needs, not your own. You want to develop a case based on some of the firm’s most challenging issues and to obtain the buy-in from the key decision maker(s), you need to:
- Understand the decision-making process for this idea at your firm to build your strategic plan (do it early so that you can start building effective relationships with involved stakeholders)
- Brainstorm how your job can be redesigned at no cost to the firm to make attendance at the program feasible; prepare a clear plan for managing your deadlines and fulfilling your commitments (your managers’ number one concern)
- Define the value of an EMBA for your firm (using success stories from your firm or of external individuals with similar profiles – use LinkedIn to refine your search and connect with them)
Though it is a very personal journey, as soon as it involves your employer you must become more selfless in your approach. Show 100% commitment to staying with the firm. One of the simplest ways is to propose and sign a lock-in period contract stating that you commit to remain with the company for a certain number of years post-EMBA.
However, a more effective way to show your commitment is to build a case showing how, equipped with an EMBA, you could have a greater impact on your organization (selfless), rather than focusing on your sole development (selfish).
Build an effective case for your organization
At its simplest, the EMBA will help you to do a better job in your current role and prepare you for new responsibilities.
But that line alone won’t be sufficient. You want to outline the key benefits clearly and precisely (note that those have to be built with the program you are applying for in mind). Here is a summary of the key points you should highlight to your organisation:
- EMBA programs have strong programs in leadership development (e.g. INSEAD LDP) and you will be able to make an impact on the work of your team and get more out of those who work with you.
- The EMBA curriculum will allow you to address specific challenges your company is facing – it is important that you are able to define those challenges to build a strong case (in other words, stay away from generic content and build tailor-made solutions)
- EMBA programs usually provide consulting work through a program project: You will have access to some of the best faculty in the world to help you resolve business issues that are crucial to your organization (e.g. the final project and implementation essays at INSEAD are also a direct return on investment for your company as you will be analysing an issue and providing recommendations with the help of the faculty)
- Emphasise the access to expert advice and valuable business contacts from around the world that will help you and your organisation grow and address business challenges through the school’s vast network of participants, alumni and faculty
If you wish to discuss in more detail your EMBA aspirations and understand better how you could secure your firm’s support, our EMBA coaches will be happy to arrange a free initial consultation.