Dr. Gary Stockport, Dean EMBA and Professor Strategy, SP Jain School of Global Management

Dr. Gary Stockport is Dean EMBA and Professor Strategy at SP Jain School of Global Management, and he is based in Dubai. He has lived and worked in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and now the UAE. He has received many accolades for teaching and research and is a frequent contributor to Executive Education Courses.


Covid-19 will, without doubt, leave behind many management and leadership lessons for many years and even decades to come. Perhaps, more importantly, it might help present a clear pathway for the future through the many experiences felt. Within this pathway, new skill sets will be required which might be represented as milestones along the way for helping to build enduring career success. What are some of these skill sets, can they be combined and how might they be built through undertaking an Executive MBA (EMBA) degree at a quality Business School?

Firstly, Thinking Strategically & Acting Fast – managers need the ability to think strategically as well as recommend and justify different ways of doing things including re-inventing their organization quickly. Speed will become a crucial capability for the future.

Secondly, Coping with Ambiguity & Making Decisions – Leaders will need to develop the skill set of making decisions within contexts that are turbulent, uncertain, and continually changing. The ability to scenario plan about possible futures and align with potential strategies will prove essential for pro-actively preparing ahead.

Thirdly, Managing Multiple Stakeholders & Clustering – Managers must effectively manage multiple stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, staff, and shareholders, etc. The capability to cluster stakeholders with similar needs and wants and therefore focus strategies upon the most important ones will be an important characteristic for future success.

Fourthly, Value Creation & Making Things Happen – Leaders must create value through the creation of products and services. The ability to implement and make things happen will be directly correlated with strategic success.

Building the above combination of skill sets feels a tall order. However, professional education such as doing an Executive MBA (EMBA) can help bridge this gap. Most top-notch EMBA Programs are increasingly emphasizing the following:

Generalist & Holistic Education – An EMBA is a generalist management education experience that helps participants, who are typically working professionals studying part-time, analyze business problems and formulate solutions from multiple subject perspectives such as Accounting, Finance, Marketing, HRM, and Strategy.

State-of-the-Art Academics & Practitioners – Typically, Faculty teaching on the best EMBA Programs bring many years of work experience into the classroom. This has usually been attained through Adjunct Faculty working full-time in the Public or Private Sectors or full-time Faculty via doing consulting including teaching on customized Executive Education Courses. Therefore, the real world of business is brought into the class and is looked at through the ‘lenses’ of academic models, frameworks, and theory. Within the best Business Schools, Faculty also integrate applied research into the learning using their works published in quality academic and practitioner journals. Published works including case studies help to add academic rigor into the EMBA degree and can result in a nice blend of theory and practice, which is what EMBA students who are working professionals prefer.

Business Acumen – The best EMBA Programs use case studies and project-based learning to help develop business acumen for coping with ambiguity. Students are required to justify their reasoning and state any assumptions they are making when communicating their thoughts verbally or in writing.

Soft Skills & Self Reflection – EMBA learning is increasingly emphasizing the development of soft skills as well as more self-reflection through journaling. Workshops can focus on improving presentation skills, selling skills, managing conflict at work (and home), and better time management.

A Professional Network – Doing an EMBA is an ideal way of building a professional network of peers for life with cohort peers and Alumni. As is often said: ‘It is not what you know but who you know that counts’ for career progression. The best EMBA Programs offer many opportunities for students to network with their peers and Alumni.

Increased Confidence & Career Acceleration – Notable ‘outputs’ can include enhanced self-confidence at work and bringing forward career decisions as well as making bigger career decisions such as transforming careers to other Sectors and job roles and even starting an entrepreneurial venture.

All-in-all, an EMBA can be worth its ‘weight in gold ‘ so to speak. That’s my conclusion after being involved in Business School Education for the past 25+ years and following the career success stories of some 4,000 MBA/ EMBA Alumni that I’ve had the privilege and honour of teaching and mentoring. Doing an EMBA can be the most important and worthwhile career investment decision anyone can ever make. Why don’t you enroll in a quality EMBA Program and find out for yourself? You may never look back.

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