3 ways Executive MBA courses teach leadership approaches

March 06, 2017

Executives around the world apply distinctive leadership approaches to get results—here's how MBA courses leverage these best practices.


As rapid global economic integration, accelerated change resulting from digital technologies, and other dynamic forces continue to transform the shape of international business, today's organizations are operating under increased competitiveness, complexity, and ambiguity. Developing effective global executives has become a strategic business priority—cross-cultural leaders that can efficiently manage diversity while implementing complex business strategies.

While some aspects of leadership are applicable worldwide, it's important to recognize that the particular traits defining a successful leader vary widely, and relatively predictably, depending on the country. There are many instances of managers being incapable of replicating their successes when moved to an office in a different culture. However, with the right training and support, it is possible to develop adaptable global leaders that embrace local differences and operate effectively across cultures.

A global executive MBA is designed to enable these types of professional transformations, providing a unique 360 degree global vision of expert insights into leadership practices in developed and emerging economies throughout the world.

Learning the fundamentals of international leadership in Executive MBA courses

With international teams in various regions working with different laws, customs and markets, a thorough understanding of business best practices is essential for global executives. WU Executive Academy's Global Executive MBA program features an integral virtual team project as a key component of its curriculum to address the modern challenges of working across time zones and cultures on complex assignments.

EMBA students have the opportunity to work with team members from around the world

Managers learn diverse theories and frameworks for leading people and organizations, including personnel selection, rewards and compensation, and collective bargaining. Strategic management, operations, finances, and marketing are approached from an international perspective, led by faculty comprised of some of the finest business minds in the world. The dynamic, international peer group reflects a broad range of business backgrounds and cultures, encouraging multicultural awareness and new ways of thinking.

How a Global EMBA program reveals leadership styles in emerging markets

A unique benefit of a global EMBA program is the opportunity to participate in international residencies on four continents. Exploring cultural nuances and successful leadership characteristics in China, India, Chile, Brazil, Europe, and the USA yields exceptional insights into universalist and culture-specific best practices. For example, effective leaders in emerging markets tend to have a particular focus and skill-set in operational execution, with hands-on management driven by a need to reach market and expand operations quickly.

EMBA students learn leadership approaches from diverse cultures

Confucian philosophy influences Chinese and other Asian leadership approaches, valuing loyalty, respect for elders, and collectivism. Businesses in India tend to promote social harmony and reinforce hierarchical structures, with a similar top-down and context-conscious approach to change management. In Russia, rigorous debate and incessant questioning of the numbers characterizes high performing companies.

Developing flexible leadership frameworks in Executive MBA courses

Across cultures, there are significant distinctions in directing and aligning strategy, emotional intelligence, outside orientation, and other dimensions of leadership. The concept of Western leadership, for example, has changed quite drastically over the past century to encompass more emotional and motivational aspects. American managers tend to be assertive and goal-oriented, valuing both teamwork and individual freedom.

Evaluating and applying these diverse approaches in classes and company visits, managers in Executive MBA courses develop self-awareness, self-assurance, a global mindset, and broad communication skills to become more effective leaders. To leverage the potential of our multicultural world, executives learn to appreciate both individual differences and similarities, building sustainable relationships, adapting to shifting conditions, and leading with respect.

Are you interested in pursuing an Executive Master of Business Administration?

Contact WU Executive Academy to learn more about our global vision for global ambition.

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