Kellogg-WHU: The role of rankings when choosing an Executive MBA

Kellogg-WHU: The role of rankings when choosing an Executive MBA


The Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA is a world-class program developing leadership skills and opening up a world of career opportunities and networks.

Embarking on an EMBA is a big decision, both professionally and personally. Since you invest a lot of time and resources, it is essential to get off to a good start by choosing the right program.

So, how can you find and select the right program? Executive MBA rankings such as those run by the Economist, the Financial Times, and QS are a good place to start.

Here’s one woman’s story of how she used rankings to help her find and choose an Executive MBA program.

Choosing an Executive MBA

Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, Simay Arikan is Head of Quality Department at Alanod GmbH & Co. KG in Ennepetal, Germany.

Simay is also studying an Executive MBA at Kellogg-WHU, set to graduate in 2017. Here, she discusses the role rankings played when she was researching Executive MBA programs.

How did the EMBA rankings influence your decision to join the Kellogg-WHU EMBA?

For me, it was not an easy decision to pursue an Executive MBA. I had been toying with the idea for some time, wanting to improve my skill set in general management.

With a mainly technical background in engineering and quality management, with a focus on aerospace, automotive and lighting industries, it was important for me to gain additional skills especially in areas such as economics, finance and business strategies to improve my management skills.

However, the investment in an EMBA program requires significant time, energy and resources and therefore a good return on investment (ROI) is crucial.

The rankings allowed me to filter through the top EMBA programs, leaving me with a shortlist of Europe-based EMBA programs with a global focus.

I believe rankings and brand matter as they promise great faculty, smart and experienced leaders as classmates in addition to enhancing your credentials with a globally recognized EMBA degree.

What was your strategy to select the most appropriate program for your needs?

My criteria for choosing the right EMBA program to suit my needs were clear: my first priority and main drive to pursue an EMBA was to broaden my business knowledge and improve my general management skills through a proven concept with a high ranked university.

As someone who has lived in three different countries and feels at home when surrounded by like-minded global people, one of the key criteria was to gain access to a global network of leading international professionals.

Since I am currently living in Germany I also wanted to make sure I would be taught by experts, who could provide me with firsthand knowledge of the local, as well as global, markets and industries.

After making a shortlist of the top global EMBA programs in Europe, I investigated each one in more detail starting with the Financial Times number one-ranked EMBA in Germany: the Kellogg-WHU EMBA Program.

Which rankings criteria were the most important for you and why?

EMBA programs are ranked according to various parameters, which are based on information from schools and alumni.

For me, the most important categories indicating a healthy ROI were "aims achieved" and "career progress" (based on alumni information) as well as "international students" (based on school information).

Which aspects of the Kellogg-WHU EMBA Program influenced your decision to join?

Once I completed my research on the internet about potential EMBA programs, the Kellogg-WHU EMBA Program was at the top of my list.

The next step was to get a feel for the business school culture. When you decide to go ahead with an EMBA, you are entering a global alumni network and a business school culture, which you'll have for the rest of your life.

Before I decided to go ahead with my application, I attended a Kellogg EMBA Global Network event, a leadership workshop and a lecture on Operations Management at the Kellogg-WHU campus in Vallendar, Germany.

These events gave me the opportunity to meet and talk to current students, alumni, and faculty members and provided crucial information about the business school’s culture.

What did you expect from an EMBA program?

I expected an EMBA program to provide me with the skills and knowledge to enable me to see the bigger picture and understand the influence of economic, political and technological factors on business strategies.

Pursuing an EMBA is the start of a continuous journey of personal development. In addition to providing you with the business knowledge, which a well-rounded manager absolutely needs, an EMBA also develops your interpersonal and leadership skills allowing you to increase your self-awareness.

What advice would you give to someone currently "shopping" for an EMBA program?

First of all I would advise prospective EMBA students to define their criteria by asking themselves the following questions:
Why do you want to do an EMBA?
What benefits do you expect from an EMBA? To gain new skills for a desired career change or advancement? To access expert knowledge and/or an influential global alumni network?
Where do you want to work post-graduation?
In what field do you want to work? General management, finance or any other focus?

Once you have answered these questions, the rankings are a good way to filter through the top EMBA programs and to start checking in more detail which program is a good fit for your defined criteria.

After creating a shortlist, I would advise prospective candidates to get in touch directly with the pre-selected business schools and meet with the admissions team and, if opportunity occurs, meet with the alumni and faculty to get a feel for the student body and business school culture before making the final call.

Another decisive criterion when choosing an EMBA program is the schedule. As executives in general are already busy and have demanding schedules, it can be a serious challenge to find the time to take part in a course, and to study or prepare for it.

Before applying it is crucial to look closely at how the curricula of various business schools are scheduled, so you can assess if they suit your work agenda.




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