While many may think that Executive MBA programs are exclusively for executives from large corporations, unconventional backgrounds are becoming more common, and entrepreneurs are often part of this mix.

In a typical McGill-HEC Montréal EMBA class, 18-24% of participants are entrepreneurs.

7 Tips on How an EMBA Can Help an Entrepreneur

atypic-pascal_optA November 2014 QS Top MBA article focused on this entrepreneurial aspect in an interview with Pascal Lépine, a 2012 alumnus of the EMBA McGill-HEC Montreal and President and Founder of Atypic, a consulting services firm in strategy, finance and communication which specializes in work for non-profits, charities and other organizations in the plural sector.

Here are seven pieces of advice from Pascal for entrepreneurs considering an EMBA.

1. Find the right program for you, one that will meet your needs:
“What appealed to me about the program was its innovative approach to management: the emphasis on collective learning (inspired by Professor Henry Mintzberg) versus the more traditional approach.”

2. Be open to learning from your peers:
“I do believe that we can learn as much with our peers as we can from a professor. I was eager to hear what other senior executives were doing and what tools and strategies different corporations were applying. This form of knowledge sharing was a decisive factor for me.”

3. Try to put what you learn in the program into practice in your company:
“I was enticed by the fact that the program is delivered in a practical fashion; I was going to be able to use my own company as my case study and apply the new knowledge as I gained it. Therefore I would be able to measure the effectiveness of what I learnt on the go.”

4. Involve your team in the EMBA:
“It really brought a new breadth to my team. I involved many of my employees in activities related to the program. We exchanged ideas and reflected together on new things I was learning. We all learned a lot from each other and some of them decided to pursue continuing education themselves.”

5. Make sure your customers also benefit from your new learnings:
“As I am in the consulting business, my clients benefit largely from the knowledge I acquired throughout the program. Many organizations today are facing complex challenges and the solutions are not easy to find. The more holistic understanding that I now have about organizations helps me to provide even more comprehensive consulting solutions to my clients.”

6. Be ready to question yourself and the way you manage:
“I literally woke up one day thinking I was ready to challenge what I had learnt about management since the foundation of my company. After some research, an Executive MBA seemed the only valid option.
“In my opinion, there is only one precondition: be ready to question yourself and the way you manage. If you think you already know-it-all, an Executive MBA will be a waste of your time, and of the other participants’! When we go through such a program, it deeply changes the way we perceive ourselves, our colleagues, our companies, and even the idea of management itself. One needs to be ready to see his paradigms challenged and shaken. Most of the time, it is really uncomfortable. But it is totally worth it at the end.”

7. Don’t wait for the perfect timing:
“I think that each person knows when the time feels right. But don’t wait for the perfect timing. There is always something going on at work or at home. There is always a good reason to postpone pursuing an EMBA. If one waits for the perfect timing, one will probably end up never doing it.

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