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Learning how to think for yourself, not what to think

Published on Friday, 11 May 2012
Richard Johnson
Photo: Booth School
Booth helps equip students to solve business problems.
Photo: Booth School

Executive MBA
Booth School of Business

University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business’s executive MBA (EMBA) was ranked number one in the world in the 2011 Bloomberg Businessweek executive MBA ranking. Besides being a prestigious programme, with 69 years of history, it is a perfect fit for executives looking to take their leadership skills to the next level.

Rich Johnson, managing director of the Asia campus, says the course teaches students “how to think and not what to think”.

“The programme’s approach goes deeper into the disciplines of psychology, economics, sociology and statistics that underlie all of business. We teach our students to master these fundamental concepts and frameworks, and then learn how to apply them in making effective business decisions,” says Johnson.

“Our students emerge from our programme with an extremely solid foundation and a set of analytical and reasoning skills to be able to provide sound solutions to any business problems they are presented with. Students choose Chicago Booth because they want to do the hard work, and develop these skills, not simply earn a credential,” he says.

The emphasis is on strategy and leadership. “Complementing the core  curriculum, we have developed an executive leadership programme (ELP) designed to help students develop leadership skills. Through ELP, students have opportunities to develop leadership capabilities and enhance action and insight skills for greater personal effectiveness,” says Johnson.

The programme offers an extensive alumni network, with 46,000 graduates in 116 countries. The EMBA class usually includes executives from different parts of the world, each bringing his or her own unique cultural perspective and management experience to the programme. “Our students have a pool of valuable resources to help them open doors to business opportunities almost anywhere in the world,” adds Johnson.

The programme employs a week-long away-from-home mode of study to make sure students are fully committed to their studies. The course includes 16 weeks of classes, and students can choose to attend classes in Singapore, Chicago or London.

Hong Kong students normally opt for 13 weeks in Singapore, two weeks in Chicago and one week in London. There are joint sessions for students from all three campuses. “During the joint sessions, students from the three campuses take classes and participate in workshops together, share meals and collaborate in study groups, creating an opportunity for interaction and learning,” says Johnson.

EMBA alumnus Alfred Leung Sai-kit, a director at GE Capital Asia, said the study schedule was perfect for him. “The set schedule of the course allowed me to plan my time in advance. I only flew in once a month for a week to study. The study week experience allowed me to be fully committed to learning. Sometimes it was exhausting and hard to concentrate to take lessons after work or on weekends, but having a study week totally solved the problem,” he says.

Leung notes that the University of Chicago is famous for its executive education programme. “It was my top choice. The university has a long history in management education since 1943 and I am lucky to get in,” he says.

The student diversity was also a highlight for Leung. “The course was very informative and I learned a lot about the global investment atmosphere. I was able to gain a lot of useful market information from my classmates who came from different parts of the globe. Every student is willing to participate and share, which is why I think it is a great course,” he adds.  

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