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Broad College welcomes newest cohort of Executive MBA students

By Chelsea Stein
Monday, August 21, 2023

Since 1964, the Broad College’s Executive MBA program has prepared more than 5,000 business leaders across industries to transform their high potential into high performance. On Aug. 4–5, the newest cohort of EMBA students began their journey as Broad Spartans at the program’s orientation. The Class of 2025 includes 118 students from 83 organizations and — for the first time — is a majority-female cohort within one of the program’s three formats.

“You are the people that are going to change the world,” Cheri DeClercq, assistant dean for MBA programs, said while kicking off the event. “It might be in small ways or big ways. It might be for your kids, your neighbor or your boss…. We are proud and humbled to be partnering with you to make that happen.”

Broad’s EMBA program is designed for working professionals who want to pursue a higher education degree and advance their career. The 20-month program takes a weekend format and is offered in three locations: East Lansing, Troy and Flex — a hybrid in-person/online option launched in 2020 that has opened up pathways for women to earn a graduate degree.

“It is our belief that the Flex option creates opportunity for women who are primary caregivers of their children,” Kara Tripi, associate director of the EMBA program, said. “[With Flex,] they do not need to give up every other weekend with their family.”

Across each program format, the focus is on building winning teams. To that end, students are placed on teams as soon as orientation begins, and these teams will last the length of their EMBA experience. Throughout the two-day orientation, students practiced sharing positive and constructive feedback with their peers through various exercises, boosting communication and active listening skills.

“We like to say that we give you a toolkit and we fill that toolkit up, but it’s up to you to use those tools,” Tripi shared with the new students. “We don’t take credit for what you accomplish and do; we take credit for the confidence and skills we give you by the end of the program.”

Students got to know one another and the program through group activities, networking opportunities, a scavenger hunt and an alumni panel in which recent EMBA graduates shared real-world outcomes from their time in the program and advice. They stressed the importance of the team structure.

“Your team becomes your new family. Lean in this weekend to set some guardrails,” Gregg Diamond (MBA ’22), senior director of global marketing at Stryker, said. “We established who would be team leader and it shifted each week. You have to know what’s due, so someone had to have responsibility to create a document keep everyone on track, while others could take on the other roles of being notetaker and timekeeper.”

Cisco sales representative Prenella Semma (MBA ’23) mentioned the importance of clear communication. “Be open and honest about your limitations, whether it’s travel or kids. Being intentional and real about your obstacles is important.”

“This is lifelong material you want to keep. I still reference it a few times a month, and I started seeing that ROI during the program and through each module.”

The panelists all noted how the course material applies to their work today — and how it made an impact on their careers throughout the program.

“I started keeping a file of things I could take back to my own work or for my long-term career plan and goals,” Josh D’Haene (MBA ’22), product marketer at Rocket Central, said. “This is lifelong material you want to keep. I still reference it a few times a month, and I started seeing that ROI during the program and through each module.”

As DeClercq summed it up, “[Your success] comes down to you jumping into the program and making the most out of not only academics but also having a strong network of people to be able to call in two years, 10 years or 30 years as a sounding board.”

This year, there was also a special presentation from one of the finalists at last year’s pitch competition, an event that marks the program’s culmination each year. NextGen MBA was a pitch idea that offers interactive programming for children of parents participating in an EMBA program. With financial support from the program, NextGen MBA is now available to 30 participants in the new cohort.

“This is a chance for EMBA students to practice their leadership skills, develop a mentor network, enhance their resume and engage in a deeper connection to MSU,” Shelby Kuhlman (MBA ’23), financial controller at Stellantis and team member for NextGen MBA, said. “It also furthers the next generation to hopefully become Spartans too.”

Kuhlman shared a touching example of how she mentored her own kids while she was in the program, which inspired her daughter to start her own business.

It’s through these impactful opportunities and experiences, both within and beyond the EMBA program, that Broad Spartans are taking steps to inspire the future of business every day. Best wishes for continued success to the Executive MBA Class of 2025!

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