How to Discuss an EMBA Program with Your Boss

You have decided that earning an Executive MBA degree (EMBA) at Kent State University is the right path to help you achieve your professional goals. You are ready for the personal sacrifice that pursuing your EMBA will take and have your support system in place. Your next step is to convince your boss that earning your EMBA will positively impact your organization.

How do you do that effectively? It’s simple: approach this like any other proposal you are submitting to your boss by creating a strategic business case.

Start by identifying how an EMBA degree fills a critical business need and benefits your organization. For instance, are you on a succession plan to attain a higher-level position? Executive MBA programs enhance critical thinking, problem solving and leadership skills. Will your company be experiencing a skills shortage in a particular area? You can directly and immediately apply the new skillset that you developed through the unique experiences offered by the EMBA program at work.

Because you will be the one doing the hard work, your tendency may be to focus on what an EMBA can do for you. Resist this by broadening the conversation. Not only will you learn new business practices, you will also have the opportunity to share best practices of your company with a broad network of influential people in the Kent State EMBA program.

As with any proposal you pitch, identifying the resources and commitment needed is critical. Realistically explain the time and financial requirements of the EMBA degree. Be clear and direct about the support you need from your boss. Does your employer offer tuition assistance, or will you cover the cost on your own? If your employer will be paying any of the cost, make sure you fully understand the requirements of this benefit. There is often a period of time you must work for the company after you complete your EMBA degree or a requirement to repay this benefit.

There are also time-off considerations. Although much of your work for the program can be done outside of your work schedule, there may be commitments that interfere with work. Are you requesting vacation time or asking to be paid when you are gone? To help you stay balanced throughout the Executive MBA program, you may want to reserve some vacation time to give yourself a break.

No conversation about an EMBA program is complete without discussing the potential risks. Your boss will have to consider how you plan on maintaining the same level of performance in both quantity and quality. Proactively remove perceived obstacles by articulating how you will stay committed to the job and to the company while receiving your EMBA degree.

Just like any major business decision, your boss may need some time to think about your request. When you provide a well-outlined business case, you make it easier for him or her to make their decision. Balance patience with persistence!

Learn more about the Executive MBA at Kent State University.