How Laura got employer sponsorship for her EMBA

Laura’s company has a well-established Corporate Sponsorship program for their staff. While she wanted to try and obtain that sponsorship, she was determined to take an EMBA regardless.

“I definitely involved my organization in the initial conversations, but I had acknowledged the fact that if I was not successful with sponsorship, it is something I did want to continue to pursue as it was important to me,” she describes. (10:01)

Starting off with that mindset helped Laura stay true to what she wanted and navigate her discussions with her employer.

In order to get her company on board, Laura put together a plan that demonstrated how she’d continue to fulfill her existing professional responsibilities while doing her EMBA. She also made a business case for the value she’d be able to bring back into the company.

“It’s one thing to get sponsorship in terms of money and time, but I’m learning that the value to be sponsored in terms of that development and that mentorship, to be able to bring the learnings back into the organization, is probably even more valuable,” she says. (12:18)

If you want employer sponsorship when pursuing an EMBA, the best thing you can do is show them how furthering your education will empower you within your current role and benefit their company overall.

What peer-to-peer learning looks like in the Smith School of Business Executive MBA

The Smith School of Business EMBA values peer-to-peer learning and has designed its program accordingly. In fact, 50% of their projects are team-based.

Laura’s team is made up of eight students from a wide variety of professional backgrounds. She feels grateful to be working with such a diverse, inspiring group that challenges her.

She tells us, “We have engineers. Someone on my team has a strong tech background. Someone else works for a sports organization. We have someone that works at a design organization. So, [it’s] really cross-functional. Everyone has their own strengths.” (13:38)

Peer-to-peer learning is also a great way to promote accountability and transparency between students. Early on, teams meet with their team coach in order to establish their collective mission and objectives. Team members are also encouraged to share honest and open feedback with each other.

“We came together quick. We had to be able to understand each person’s competencies and strengths. To be able to mobilize those skills quickly and effectively to deliver on projects has been absolutely critical,” Laura explains. (15:17)

Why Laura chose the Smith School of Business EMBA

When Laura started researching the different Executive MBA options across Canada, it was important to her to find an institution that prioritized staying up to date with all the latest industry trends.

More specifically, she was looking for innovation. “I remember coming across an article that said the top MBA programs for transforming organizations are those with innovation embedded within the program,” she explains. (04:07) That’s ultimately how she came up with her shortlist of schools, most of which were located in eastern Canada.

One of the things that impressed her the most about the Smith School of Business EMBA was that it was designed and built to support a virtual environment. 

“You really do get cross-functional representation from all provinces and industries across Canada, which again, in terms of elevating the learning, was a really big selling factor for me,” she says. (05:33)

Laura also admired the way the Smith School of Business responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. They took all necessary precautions and realized that embedding more technology into their program would do nothing but equip their students with additional skills for their future careers.

How going back to school influenced Laura’s daughter

One of the most rewarding parts of Laura’s EMBA experience so far has been seeing how her commitment to education and professional development has influenced her daughter.

“To see her step into more responsibility in terms of helping around the house, to see the way it has changed her approach to school and how she’s taking on her learning. She’s more diligent in writing in her agenda, in tracking her assignments. She’s studying harder than I’ve ever seen, and she’s passionate about what the future holds and what she’s capable of,” she elaborates proudly. (18:40)

Laura knew that her family life would change when she undertook the responsibility of an Executive MBA program, so it’s been incredibly gratifying for her to see it make a positive impact at home.