Women and the EMBA: motivations, expectations and challenges

Women and the EMBA: motivations, expectations and challenges


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

Kellogg-WHU is focused on encouraging and supporting minority groups to embark on EMBA studies. Women continue to be a minority within EMBA programs, in particular those who come from world regions such as Africa.

We take a look at what motivates women to do an EMBA and the challenges they face, through the experiences of one student.

Amaka talks about her EMBA experience

Amaka Ezike is currently studying an EMBA at Kellogg-WHU. Hailing from Nigeria, Amaka is part of the class of 2017. Here, she answers some questions about her experience studying an EMBA as a Nigerian woman.

Amaka, what motivated you to do an EMBA?

I’m already very technically sound, I’m a qualified accountant and I possess a lot of work experience. But I also come from a family where education is important, so in the back of my head I always knew I wanted to go further with my professional studies.

After working for a few years I thought about doing a full-time MBA, but the timing wasn’t right. In my opinion you need a bit more experience to assess the true value of an MBA, so I parked that idea for a while.

When I eventually decided to do an MBA, it was because I wanted to start my own business. I want to have control of my time and to do something of value.

I also have a lot of entrepreneurial ideas that I want to develop. But how to evaluate and choose the best one? That’s when I realized I need an MBA.

So I looked for one with a strong focus on entrepreneurial areas, which is why I chose the Kellogg-WHU EMBA Program.

What did you expect in terms of diversity in a European EMBA?

My class is more diverse than I expected. That’s definitely good. The initial attraction of the program for me was the flexible schedule. I certainly didn’t expect that people would fly in from so many faraway places.

I thought people would come mainly from the EMEA region and that I would only meet people from other continents during the Global Electives. But my classmates come from all over the world. That was a pleasant surprise.

What skill set and tools do you expect to gain from Kellogg-WHU?

I hope that once I finish the EMBA I will have more confidence in my decisions and will be able to better evaluate them. I know that making a good decision is a lot about your gut feeling, but you need to have some means of analyzing as well.

The second expectation concerns my work style. Right now I might be doing things the wrong way. Since I am a  financially technical person I never dealt with sales or marketing, for example. But these skills are also essential for running a business. Through my Kellogg-WHU network I am surrounded by people with this knowledge, so I can learn from them.

People always talk about the "glass ceiling" that makes it hard for women to reach a certain position. What’s your opinion?

For me as a woman I compete in a world that is dominated by men, especially in finance. Even if you’re good, you always have to prove yourself. So an EMBA is a good stamp to show that I am just as capable as my male colleagues.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when you decided to join an EMBA program?

The biggest challenge was definitely the cost aspect. I applied for one of the Kellogg-WHU scholarships for women awarded by both the MBA for Women Foundation and the WHU Scholarship Fund. These types of scholarships are really helpful.

I also had help from family and friends back home, but it was not enough to cover all costs. I also chose to do an EMBA because it allowed me to keep my full-time job and continue earning money.

Another challenge for me was finding the right time to pursue an EMBA. For quite a while I didn’t feel mentally ready. Then I had a eureka moment and thought "it's now or never".

Where do you see yourself after you graduate?

I am planning on writing a business plan as my Master thesis. It would be good to start my own business by the end of my EMBA program, which also allows for trial and error while I'm still studying.

Do you see potential with EMBA education and Africa?

Definitely, there is great potential in Africa. It's a very entrepreneurial place. An EMBA program like Kellogg-WHU would really benefit from more African students.

Africans value education greatly and are open to gaining more business insights. I also think Europeans and Americans would also benefit from learning about the African market.

Sit in a Lecture event

Attend a real EMBA lecture at the Sit in a Lecture event on Saturday November 14, 2015 at the Kellogg-WHU campus in Vallendar, Germany!

Hosted by Professor Karl Schmedders, you can mingle with staff, students and faculty and get insights about the program, curriculum and life as an EMBA student!

Seats are limited! To register for the Sit in a Lecture event, email your CV to [email protected] for a short eligibility assessment.

At the event eligible visitors who are interested in enrolling will also have the opportunity to interview for admission.

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