Getting excited about the idea of starting with an EMBA program? Your employer might have mixed feelings about it… EMBA Class 23 student’s blog for all prospective students

Getting excited about the idea of starting with an EMBA program? Your employer might have mixed feelings about it… EMBA Class 23 student’s blog for all prospective students

Thu Jan 18 09:05:37 CET 2018

by Ines Michel


I did a little survey about the support Class 23 students received from their employers. Here is the outcome:


Good news right at the beginning. About 70% of my classmates receive support from their employers – in one or another way. Asking various chief executives, you often get a clear statement about further education: “I appreciate the willingness to learn and enhance personal and professional skills,” one of the interviewed CEOs told me. “This demonstrates stamina and willpower. Additionally, such a decision speaks volumes about the person itself.” 


What does this support look like?

Asking my classmates about general support, it turns out that offering financial support or support in form of working time reduction are the employers’ first choices. Nine classmates receive financial support – on average around 45% of the tuition fee. Five students receive a working time reduction of up to 10%. Six classmates are allowed to reduce working time, accompanied by a salary reduction. And what about mental support? Over 60% of my classmates answered with a clear yes – adding that colleagues and bosses provide the best mental support.   


You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours – is there anything you have to do in return?

As we know since our first week in Thun, there is no free lunch. When your employer supports your studies, it is likely that they have an agenda of their own. When receiving support, more than 80% of my classmates have to do something in return: Most commonly, they have to stay with the company for a couple years after graduation. Typically, this includes a commitment of up to three years. What happens if you fail to fulfill this contract? “I need to pay back the employer’s contribution”, some of my classmates responded.


Are there employers who want to benefit from better-educated employees without any contribution from their side?

You might think this doesn’t exist! Every employer should be happy, when employees want to develop their skills. Honestly, according to my classmates, 25% of employers have no opinion or don’t care about the EMBA program. “I guess my employer generally appreciates that I do the EMBA program,” one of my classmates told me. “But at work, no one should notice anything.”

But why? Is it simply the fact that employers don’t want to pay for the education? Are there more profound reasons? For example, the fact that some employers expect 110% effort and energy to squeeze the optimal performance out of a jobholder. At the end of the day, doing an EMBA program means to accept compromises in your work-life-balance – for 18 months this new engagement prevails. Maybe the lack of interest is simply explained by the fact that employers have no opportunity or don’t want to offer graduated students a better job – often including a pay raise? Reasons are manifold and it’s all about tradeoffs: do the employers’ future plans match with the employees’ potential performance, dedication, ability and resilience? Nevertheless, can we blame employers for this?

I asked my classmates what they would do: Even based on their current experience, three of my classmates would not be willing to support their employees joining a further education because of above-mentioned reasons. However, most of Class 23 students would support their employees joining a further education program: financially, mentally and with working time reduction. “I am always supportive when people are willing to go the extra mile”, Marc, one of my classmates, told me. “In the long run this will benefit the company”.




A glimpse into our Rochester-Bern classroom…

To identify potential bottlenecks of a production line, Class 23 dabbled in producing handmade paper houses during an Operations Management Class. After the first house was finished, Professor Dr. Robert Boute did the first quality check and was not quite happy with the outcome. “How do you respond to a complaining customer?” he asked. “Hold on a second, our specialist is currently in the restroom…”, my classmate Marco responded.