A programme offered by ESSEC and Mannheim Business School offers EMBA participants an immersive experience to gain knowledge in business cultures of Asia Pacific so that they can seize opportunities arising from the region
By Bryant Chan
Aug 11, 2021
Professor Cedomir Nestorovic has no trouble admitting that most Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) programmes in Singapore largely offer the same content.
The academic director of the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive Master of Business Administration EMBA – Asia-Pacific, he checks off their common aspects: Marketing fundamentals, digital transformation, e-commerce platforms, and so on. Each of them is omnipresent in EMBA pamphlets and brochures.
However, what sets his school's EMBA apart from the others is its heavy emphasis on immersive and experiential learning.
Though businesses from all over the world hope to capitalise on the meteoric rise of Asian economies, understanding of Asian business cultures remains limited.
But Asia is so much more than its biggest economic powerhouse, he says. This is why every year, a weeklong study trip is organised with the intent of immersing ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA – Asia-Pacific participants in an Asian business environment.
This year, in collaboration with the University of Tsukuba and Waseda University, the class of 2022 will travel to Japan to study how Japanese family businesses stay relevant in today’s modern business environment, as well as identify trends in the growing robotics sector.
To give participants a well-rounded Asian knowledge base, the EMBA programme also brings in speakers from all over the region to share their knowledge in areas such as South Asian supply chain management, or differences in social media marketing strategy across Asian countries.
As future leaders in their fields, EMBA participants take ownership of their own learning.
Participants’ views and feedback are taken seriously. For instance, the class of 2017 embarked on a study trip - first suggested by a participant - to Sao Paulo, Brazil to study emerging markets in Latin America. Other student-organised activities have included field trips to Google and data visualisation software company Tableau offices in Singapore.
Participants and faculty also work together to make changes to modules based on their relevance to the current business landscape. For instance, a module on sustainable and responsible leadership was added, while the digital marketing curriculum was expanded to include more content on social media management.
This flexibility is further facilitated by the small class sizes. Highly selective, each cohort has an average intake of just 15 to 20 students, a far cry from the 50-odd students in the average EMBA intake.
This is not to say that the classes lack diversity. Participants have hailed from all over the world, from Japan to Pakistan to Finland, bringing a staggering array of different perspectives.
“All of us were just fascinated by the plurality of thinking in class discussions,” says Ms Annie Joseph, director of business development and strategic partnerships at Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star), and valedictorian of the inaugural ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA – Asia-Pacific cohort.
With classmates such as waste management, telecommunications and hospitality, Ms Joseph likens her EMBA seminars to “exploring a whole new world” of thinking about how other industries approach business.
“We are all constantly thinking about how to feasibly integrate these perspectives into our own industries. It really opens up a lot of new doors.”
Visit https://executive-education.essec.edu/en/program/embas-en/emba-asia-pacific-en/ for more information about the ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA – Asia-Pacific programme.