In an increasingly uncertain business environment, the task of managing has become more complex and demanding. The key to business survival in the future lies in developing leaders who can effectively respond to the rapidly unfolding challenges of tomorrow. The Executive MBA (EMBA), offered by the Suleman Dawood School of Business has been designed precisely to cater to this need.
The Executive MBA programme is designed for mid-career managers who have excelled in their functional areas and are to be prepared for leadership positions in their organisations. It is also useful for successful entrepreneurs who want to bring more structure and organisation to their enterprise. These individuals can leverage their rich work experience through a world-class management education programme in the form of the SDSB-LUMS Executive MBA.
The programme has been structured to enable busy managers to acquire management education while fulfilling regular professional responsibilities. It is spread over 22 months and involves a total of 4 weeks and 36 weekends of full-time academic activity supplemented by distance learning.
The EMBA programme is scheduled around the key themes of leadership and innovation. These themes are introduced in the first year, along with basic functional courses. In the second-year participants are offered specialisation courses, and a set of integrative courses that revolve around the theme “Planning for the Future”.
The Learning Cycle
The education process involves participants, faculty and business community as depicted in Figure 1. This is facilitated through assistance provided by the administrative and support staff.
The EMBA curriculum encourages participants to develop as individuals with outstanding managerial skills, expertise in decision-making and capacity for sustained hard work. It introduces modern theories and techniques relevant to the requirements of the business community in Pakistan. Peer group learning is encouraged through interactive discussion groups and in-class participation.
The business community plays an important role in the learning process by sharing its problems, issues and concerns with the faculty and participants. Many of these issues are subjects of cases discussed in class that introduce participants to real-life challenges in a modern business environment. Prominent business leaders are invited to share their experiences and views with the participants.
The faculty members design the curriculum and direct classroom discussions so as to highlight and analyse the main issues and problems of the cases at hand. Case writing, research projects and consultancy assignments also enable the faculty to develop a practical perspective regarding the dynamic nature of contemporary business issues to reinforce their academic knowledge. Faculty and the business community gain valuable insight into the real nature of the problems through discussion of the cases in the classroom. The business community benefits from this interaction as this process enhances the training of future business leaders capable of dealing with challenges and issues faced by businesses with a special focus on Pakistan.
SDSB-LUMS motivates its participants to meet the challenges of the business world and to assume leadership roles in business development in the South Asian Region. SDSB-LUMS education which is based on the synergy of participants, faculty and the business community, results in a learning experience unique in Pakistan.
The Learning Methodology
SDSB-LUMS provides a rich educational environment to its participants. The prime responsibility for learning rests with the participants. As part of the collective learning experience, participants are responsible not only for their own development, but also for the personal and professional growth of their peers.
The EMBA Programme is designed to enhance the analytical ability, decision-making and communication skills in the participants. This is facilitated through the extensive use of cases in the classroom.
The Case Method
A case is a description of a real business situation. By identifying the problems in a given situation, analysing preferred solutions, and devising implementation strategies, the participants learn skills that equip them for their role as managers.
The case method is particularly demanding of participants. When participants are presented with a case, they place themselves in the role of the decision-maker as they read through the situation and identify the problem they are faced with. The next step is to perform the necessary analysis, examine the causes, consider alternative courses of actions and come to a set of recommendations.
To get the most out of cases, participants read and reflect on the case, they meet in small study groups before the start of the class to "warm up" and discuss their findings with other classmates. In class, under the questioning and guidance of the instructor, participants probe underlying issues, compare different alternatives, and finally, suggest courses of action in light of the case objectives.
Individual preparation is the first step in the learning process and includes study from textbooks and other assigned reading materials, along with a rigorous analysis of the case. This crucial step in case preparation is the key responsibility of the participants. Each participant is expected to have read and prepared the case thoroughly before coming to the discussion group or the class.
Before the class session, collective learning and interaction in discussion groups augment individual preparation. Interaction with the members of the group enhances team spirit. These groups meet between sessions to prepare for the next class. In these meetings, each member contributes individual analysis and personal point of view for the issues in the case. Through sharing of diverse views and insights, the overall understanding of the case is enhanced, validity of arguments is determined, and new dimensions are added to the problems and prescribed solutions.
Discussion groups provide an important peer-based support mechanism to participants, especially in the early stage of the Programme. It helps the participants to develop intellectual and emotional support systems, which are crucial in a high-pressure environment at SDSB-LUMS. Discussion groups, however, should not be used as a substitute for individual preparation.
Participation requirements in discussion groups for various subjects are identified in the weekly schedule sheets. Participants must ensure punctuality, attendance and active participation.
The individual and discussion group preparation of a case culminates in a collective classroom discussion under the guidance of an instructor. Contribution to classroom discussion is extremely important and constitutes a significant portion of the course grade. Effective class contribution requires active listening by a participant in the classroom. The case-study method enables participants to question conventional thinking, test ideas, and brainstorm solutions using real-life examples. Lively peer interaction is an integral part of the learning process, and the SDSB-LUMS classroom provides a rich climate for discussion. The dynamic exchange of knowledge and experience among successful individuals from different cultures and academic backgrounds encourages shared insights and enhances learning. Lectures, videos, and computer exercises complement the classroom experience.
To facilitate class discussions, participants must occupy the seats assigned to them and their nameplates must always be in place.
As a courtesy to your fellow participants and to preserve the discussion focus, please do not leave the class room during the session.
For the benefit of EMBA participants, IST centrally supports LMS – Learning Management System. This system allows each participant a dedicated academic resource centre on the web. Participants have interactive access to several course related activities and resources including course materials, assignments and discussion boards. This system can be accessed from anywhere and allows participants to access course materials and participate in course activities remotely. It can be accessed at http://lms.lums.edu.pk
EMBA programme also includes three Distance Learning Modules. Each module consists of two online courses offered in collaboration with Harvard Business School Press (HBSP). The purpose of these courses is to enhance essential knowledge and skills fundamental to good business education. Courses include:
- Financial Accounting
- Mathematics for Management
- Management Communication
- Quantitative Methods
- Spreadsheet Modelling
Each online course contributes 1.5 credit hours towards the degree requirements. Each online course is linked with a regular on-campus course and completion of the online courses before the final examination of the linked courses is mandatory. In addition to passing all the online exams, the material covered in the online courses is also tested in the on-campus linked courses. Grades for the semester will not be released until the requirements for relevant online courses are met. Faculty for the linked on-campus course can impose a one-grade reduction penalty for not completing the online course in the allotted time.
Written Analysis of a Case (WAC)
Some of the courses in the programme use Written Analysis of a Case (WAC) as an assessment tool. The WAC must meet the requirements specified by the instructor. Written Analysis of a Case (WAC) is usually an individual effort but an instructor may assign a group WAC. Content and style are both important in the assessment of a WAC. In addition to case analysis, participants should pay attention to elements of style such as grammar, spellings, structure and presentation of the report.
A late WAC is not accepted.