Executive MBA gives managers an edge in company leadership

Photo/File  Dr Leah Wanjama expounds on the difference between an ordinary MBA and an executive MBA, which is tailored for working managers.
Photo/File Dr Leah Wanjama expounds on the difference between an ordinary MBA and an executive MBA, which is tailored for working managers. 

The changing management environment in the corporate world is forcing executives to seek new skills through training – and business schools have responded by introducing Executive MBA courses.

The business environment has become increasingly competitive, backed by new technological developments that are rendering traditional strategies irrelevant.

Experts say only companies with adaptive managers will survive these changing times.

“Research has identified gaps among many executives when it comes to hands-on problem solving and diagnosing complex business situations and acting on them,” says Dr Leah Wanjama, the director of the Institute of Executive Education and Consultancy at Inoorero University (IU).

“Unfortunately, these are the skills needed to spur growth and take companies to the next level.”

So executives keen on staying ahead of the game are streaming back to class to gain that extra edge.

And because of their special needs being at the top, the IU executive MBA – which focuses on practical problem solving and leadership skills – is coming in handy.

While the executive MBA has been a preserve of foreign universities with local branches, Kenyan universities are jumping onto the bandwagon.

Inoorero University, one of Kenya’s private universities, introduced the Executive Master in Business Administration (EMBA) in 2010 to tap this emerging segment of the education market.

International context

Dr Wanjama says the course offers highly interactive learning for executives based on experiential learning which uses practical team-based, problem-solving and consultancy models.

The programme targets senior management executives in both private and public sectors in Kenya and the wider East African region.

She says the Executive MBA transforms executives into innovative business leaders.

“In particular, it equips learners with tools and concepts within a holistic perspective to understand business organisations and develop in an international context,” says Dr Wanjama.

“The conventional MBAs are academic in nature and intended for young students who wish to continue with their academic studies to PhD level while the latter is intended for company executives to equip them with business and leadership skills to steer their companies to different levels.”

Academic MBAs are based on theory, she said, supplemented with written cases.

Management experts say this learning model was found to be inadequate to equip business leaders to meet the requirements of developing a modern African business.

“In a globalised world, African business leaders are increasingly expected to act proactively to create growth and job opportunities. And this is the aim of this executive MBA,” says Dr Wanjama.

“We are responding to challenges faced by managers through constantly developing and broadening leadership skills and execution of strategies.” The first batch graduated in January this year.

Dr Wanjama says Inoorero’s Executive MBA, offered in partnership with Copenhagen Business School, seeks to “provoke leaders to continue seeking new ways of thinking and performing and also mentoring.”

With corporate governance issues facing many companies, the executive MBA emphasises integrity among business leaders.

“Business management and corporate governance practices need to be based on principles of transparency, accountability, diversity, inclusiveness and ensuring that the jobs are held by managers with the right skills and integrity,” says Dr Wanjama.

Currently, the IU Executive programme classes are held at Gracia Gardens Hotel off Kilimani Road, a conducive environment fit for senior executives.

The course takes 15 months and is structured in three modules.