5 Reasons to do a GEMBA

GEMBA-Rotman-Post-ChrisFutcherAt first glance, it sounded exciting!  Travelling around the globe with new friends, learning business in different cultures and experiencing things only dreamed about up to now, the Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) promises to not disappoint.  What a great way for me to prepare for a pivot that launches our company into unicorn status was my initial reaction.  Go big or go home as been my typical way of doing things.  This seemed like the “go big” way.  

So I took the plunge.  

Half way through the six module program, grad school regret has haunted me.  In less than a year I’ve seen how delusional my reasoning was.  No it is no longer about achieving unicorn status, or even $100 million.  Now I want to continue learning about myself including my strengths and weaknesses.  

Here are 5 reasons why I think the GEMBA is worth that plunge, that “go big” and the reason I’m glad I didn’t decide to just go home.

  1. Unique experiences. When else do you get to eat frog legs than while in China with people equally as willing to try new things?  In short, the GEMBA has already provided me with new experiences that I never would have had otherwise, most being more significant to my development than the frog legs, which happened to be quite tasty halfway between halibut and chicken.
  2. Resilience.  Ask my wife and she will be quick to admit that my involvement in the GEMBA has produced stress for both of us.  It wasn’t in the plan for me to pursue an MBA at 38 years old.  Since I’ve started I have had many moments of assessing the reasons behind the “why” of joining and often wonder if the stress is worth it.    Ask me tomorrow and I may answer differently, but today (and most days) I realize that this kind of stress produces good qualities like resilience and drive and emotional fortitude, all qualities that will propel me forward. 
  3. New friends.  During the last decade, I can recall a set number of people I’ve come in contact with.  They have been supportive, helpful, enriching connections that I am grateful for.  Spending two intense weeks together in a completely new environment at each module, this GEMBA has put me in close contact with people from various backgrounds and industries.  These connections have already improved the quality of my life.  I anticipate we will be friends and colleagues for a long time.
  4. Learning.  I couldn’t get away without observing the obvious – the academic components of the program.  In getting to know my classmates, it is a quick observation that many students take an MBA as a way to advance within their companies.  This makes the decision to pursue the program a fairly easy one. Obtaining an MBA is not required or requested of me, so the decision to pursue the program was based on the hope that it would provide me with growth in various other areas.  Academically, it has proved beneficial.  Admittedly, some courses are more helpful than others.  But several classes have provided me with new decision making tools that I have already started to apply. Definitely a win.
  5. Access to more.  The GEMBA experience does not cease to exist once the 18 month program is finished.  Rotman is packed full of connections that are helpful in almost every industry.  The faculty and staff are quick to help lead me and others to the right resources.  What is most impressive to me is the personal growth investment that Rotman has for its students.  Rotman understands the clear and important connection between personal emotional health and professional growth and development. For this, I am very grateful as I have struggled through making the former support the latter.

So there we have it.  The GEMBA at Rotman.  I have three modules left and I hope to push through and gain many more positive, challenging and growing experiences.  


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