In search of an Executive MBA experience beyond just the typical business classes, Christine Jellis, MD, PhD, was energized to find a “real differentiator” in the Executive MBA (EMBA) program from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.
Jellis, a cardiologist and Vice Chair of the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart Vascular & Thoracic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, is clear about the reason for her decision to pursue the EMBA program through Weatherhead.
“One of the things that attracted me to the Weatherhead [EMBA] program over others was really the integration of leadership skills and personal development into the curriculum,” Jellis said.
Grounded in the conviction that great leadership can be taught and learned, Weatherhead’s five-semester EMBA program is designed for distinguished working professionals like Jellis. Students come into the EMBA program from a variety of backgrounds, including corporate and healthcare, with an average of 15 years of professional experience. To accommodate the schedules of busy executives, the program requires just 16 total three-day visits to campus.
EMBA students take a wide variety of courses, delivered by renowned faculty members who have pioneered principles of leadership, that prepare them to excel as business leaders. The foundation of the curriculum is distinguished by a series of leadership courses where students learn how to lead change within themselves, their teams, their organizations and society.
“This is a huge advantage that the Weatherhead EMBA program has, that it's really building us holistically as leaders and allowing us to explore who we are as we garner all this other knowledge,” Jellis said.
As part of the personal leadership development process, EMBA students meet one-on-one with an executive coach. Jellis was matched with Weatherhead coach Caroline Carter, who also works with leaders through Weatherhead Coaching Services. As a physician, Jellis appreciated that Carter had extensive experience coaching both within the business sector and in healthcare.
“Caroline has a wonderful manner in that she's both empathic and questioning. She really delved to the heart of the matter and was able to articulate and ask very pertinent questions to make me think and further explore, so that it became a less superficial reflection, and actually becomes much more in depth and useful.”
Weatherhead coaching in the EMBA program is built on the Intentional Change Theory (ICT), an empirically-proven framework developed at Weatherhead for achieving desired, sustained, behavioral transformation. This process emphasizes developing self-awareness as one of the core emotional intelligence competencies essential for leaders, but developing it requires time and space for self-examination. This opportunity for reflection – free of outside distractions – was one of the aspects of coaching and leadership development that Christine found most valuable.
“Time is valuable, and it's definitely a wise investment of time to go through this process,” Jellis said.
Most importantly for Jellis and her EMBA cohort in engaging in this leadership development process: “I think we've learned some of the tools which we can rely on to be able to fall back on in the future. I think these are going to be valuable skills for me moving forward – hopefully for the rest of my life.”
Weatherhead School of Management EMBA Program
Case Western Reserve University