EMBA spells success
|Above: Donald Wilson, director of RIT's
MBA program, leads a session on strategy with the EMBA Class
Emphasis on strategic
thinking and practical application gets high marks from students
In 1993, Joe Lobozzo,
at age 50, had achieved an enviable level of success.
JML Optical Industries
Inc., the company he founded in 1972, had become a profitable
and growing designer, manufacturer and distributor of precision
optical components and systems.
|Joe Lobozzo '95
At a point when others
might begin to think about easing into retirement, Lobozzo became
a member of RIT's first Executive Masters of Business Administration
I really knew
in my heart that the old way of doing things was changing,
Lobozzo explains. A new way of doing business was dawning,
and JML Optical needed to change if it was going to be the very
best in the world at what we do. The EMBA program was an opportunity
to acquire knowledge we didn't have.
The decision proved
momentous. The program exceeded my expectations, from
a business standpoint, says Lobozzo, and it led to a fortuitous
relationship with the university. Lobozzo, who received his degree
in 1995, became a member of the RIT Board of Trustees in 1999.
bond with RIT is extraordinary, his high opinion of the EMBA program
is not unusual. In a survey of graduates of 38 executive MBA programs
conducted in 2000 by the Executive MBA Council (an independent
network of colleges and universities with EMBA programs), 93 percent
of RIT's EMBA graduates rated the program an 8, 9, or 10
on a scale of 1-to-10.
Students and graduates
say the practical focus of the program allows them to make use
of newly acquired knowledge immediately and advantageously.
learning is already very helpful in my job, says Debra Kusse,
assistant to the president of Kodak's commercial imaging
group. A 25-year Kodak employee who received her undergraduate
degree in accounting from RIT in 1982, Kusse regularly takes new
ideas directly from class back to work.
Kusse, who will graduate
in May, says one of the key benefits is the opportunity to discuss
the material with other students in and outside of the classroom.
MBA students, EMBA students move through the program as a unit.
Class size is limited to 30 students who begin their program with
a week-long orientation on campus in August. They attend classes
all day Friday and Saturday every other week from late August
through May for two years. There's a week-long session between
the first and second years. They even eat together: Breakfast
and lunch are provided on class days.
|Deb Kusse makes a point in class discussion.
After two years of
such intense contact, students get to know each other very well.
So much of the
learning in this type of class takes place in the classroom, in
debate, says Donald Wilson, director of RIT's MBA program.
These people are not shy with each other. We have great
from traditional MBA programs: EMBA students are required to have
a minimum of eight years of business experience. The average experience
level, however, is 17 years. They also tend to be older: The average
age is 42. Some students are sponsored by their employer, but
many pay their own way.
Our EMBA program
excels at giving students the strategic and cross-functional skills
they need to become successful general managers, notes Wilson.
Our students learn how to look at a business problem from
multiple perspectives marketing, finance, operations, and
so forth and then integrate these different dimensions
into a 'total business' understanding.
Two aspects of the
RIT program set it apart, says Ann G.T. Young, director of the
EMBA program. Toward the end of the second year, there's
an optional, weeklong trip to the Czech Republic that incorporates
visits to local companies and presentations on the economy, culture
and aspects of global business.
Also in the second
year, students work in teams on capstone projects,
serving as consultants to organizations ranging from private businesses
The teams spend
20 weeks helping organizations solve real-world business problems
in areas ranging from manufacturing and finance to strategy and
marketing, notes Young. We've worked with more
than 25 organizations, and companies are delighted with the results.
This past spring, for
example, three EMBA students worked with the Deaf Wellness Center
at Strong Memorial Hospital to create a business plan for the
launch of Strong Connections, a video conferencing service that
provides hospitals and clinics throughout the U.S. with medically
experienced American Sign Language interpreters.
The project could
not have happened without the help of the EMBA students,
says Robert Pollard, director of the Deaf Wellness Center. Their
commitment went well beyond academic responsibilities. They committed
their heart and soul.
The entire program
demands that level of effort.
|Penny Sanchez-Burrus '01
is the hardest thing, says Penny Sanchez-Burrus '01,
vice president and general manager, Xerox Business Services, Tarrytown,
N.Y. There were many stressful moments, balancing a job,
family and school.
Sanchez-Burrus, a 22-year
Xerox employee, was promoted to her current job near the end of
the second year of the EMBA program.
would have come up, she says, but I think I was in
a more competitive position because of the EMBA experience. It
was very helpful.
Susan Bratton '96,
vice president of corporate quality for Wilson Greatbatch Technologies
Inc., Clarence, N.Y., likewise is convinced that the program has
led to career advancement.
|Susan Bratton '96
Shortly after receiving
her degree, Bratton took on the task of running the electrochem
battery operation for WGT, a leading developer and manufacturer
of power sources and components used in implantable medical devices
such as pacemakers and defibrillators. Under her management, the
operation tripled in size and went through an important acquisition.
Without the EMBA,
says Bratton, I'm not sure I would have gotten that
assignment or been able to handle it. Earning the degree
created credibility and gave me confidence. I had the tool set
Bratton, who has been
with WGT 26 years, commuted 60-plus miles each way to attend classes,
while managing work and family responsibilities (her children
were 5 and 7 when she began).
I had a very
supportive husband and boss, she says. It was grueling,
but definitely rewarding.
When I finished
I felt like I could accomplish anything.
For more information,
contact the Executive MBA Program, College of Business, Rochester
Institute of Technology, 107 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, N.Y.
14623; 585-475-7435; www.ritemba.com