University of Tennessee

Why wait for your MBA to pay off?

February 15, 2018

If you’re considering getting an Executive MBA, choose a program that starts working for you—and your organization—before you even graduate. The University of Tennessee’s 11-month Executive MBA (EMBA) for Strategic Leadership offers the opportunity to boost your career and produce tangible results for your company while you’re earning your degree.

Real-time problem solving is the UT Strategic Leadership EMBA formula for success. The hybrid program (20 online learning sessions, three nine-day residential periods on UT’s flagship Knoxville campus, and one global immersion seminar) is structured around completing an Organizational Action Project, or OAP, designed to deliver significant, real-world value to your employer.

Here’s how the OAP works. Before the program even begins, you’ll choose a key area of interest at your organization—such as entering a new geographical market, launching a new product, or automating part of the production line—then, create an actionable plan to address it. The plan is the blueprint for your OAP. Over the course of the program, everything you learn, do, and experience will help you make the OAP a reality. It’s applied learning at its best, and it works—quickly.

The proof is in the ROI. UT Strategic Leadership EMBA graduates report an average of $6.5 million in return to their organizations before graduation. The students’ outsized impact on their companies primarily is due to their OAPs.

The innovative OAP model empowers UT Strategic Leadership EMBA students to earn a degree while essentially working as consultants for their companies. So, instead of hiring an outside (and pricey) consulting firm to solve a problem, your organization could invest in homegrown talent—you. That investment—which typically is some combination of tuition reimbursement, time off to participate in residential sessions, and access to key work resources for the OAP—will produce multiple benefits for your employer.


First, let’s face it. You’re more likely to stay where you feel valued. The UT Strategic Leadership EMBA program is a cost-effective talent retention tool for companies. That’s why leading organizations such as FedEx, IBM, and Eastman Kodak regularly send top performers to the program. If you’re ready to take your career up a level, a UT Strategic Leadership EMBA is a savvy professional development step that you and your employer can take together.

Second, earning a UT Strategic Leadership EMBA merely requires missing four weeks of work, and the entire program only takes a year. The minimal disruption is a win-win for you and your organization. How else could you complete a major consulting project, participate in a hands-on leadership development program, and earn an MBA—all while staying on the job?

Third, while you get the MBA, your organization gets the positive impacts of your OAP. So, no matter how long you choose to stay with your present organization, it will continue to benefit from the OAP work you completed and any plans you helped implement.

To learn more about how the UT Strategic Leadership EMBA can work for you—and your organization—before you even graduate, give us a call at 800-486-EMBA (3622).