The McGill-HEC Montréal EMBA doesn’t churn out identical managers, formed to a mythic ideal. We work with individuals, each one with his or her unique characteristics and each of whom have their own approach to leadership and management. Throughout the program we’ll build on their strengths and help them adapt to their weaknesses, and above all to come to a better understanding of themselves as leaders.
The structure of the program reflects this holistic approach. We don’t work from traditional functions, but rather think in terms of the mindsets managers need, the challenges they face and the tools that will help. We discuss problems as they’re found in the real world, most often those being lived by the participants themselves.
The EMBA program attracts experienced executives from a wide range of backgrounds. We select each participant with an eye to diversity. Our goal is to admit a team of executives with a wide range of complementary backgrounds so that every participant contributes to the depth and substance of the program through his or her experiences.
The program builds on the experience of its participants – with an average of 17 years of business experience and 12 years in management. For every theory or concept covered in class, there’s a participant who has lived it and can share the ‘on the ground’ reality. Discussion is devoted to how these concepts could or should play out in everyone’s organization – it’s not just theory, but theory wedded to practice. The level of experience enables us to cover a breadth of issues that wouldn’t be possible with less experienced participants.
From the start of the program everyone joins a peer coaching team: a group of 5 or 6 classmates from different industries and non-competing organizations, with a professor as facilitator. Each member of the team becomes a coach for his or her peers, and in turn is coached by everyone else. The coaching is effective because it’s supportive, confidential and founded on trust. The team members are equals in the program, they come to know each other and their business situations very well, and critique each other’s projects, yet they are independent of each other’s day to day realities so can be effective observers and sounding boards. It’s a reciprocal process that provides important learning opportunities throughout the program.
The discipline of reflection, so important for leaders, is a key part of the program. Taking a step back, seeing the big picture, questioning. The things executives don’t often take time for, but should, are an essential ingredient of the learning process, and one that alumni appreciate long after they graduate.
The program aims to make sure that the company benefits at the same time as the participant. Most assignments are based on the participant’s own business and its issues, so there is a real opportunity for companies to ensure that they and not just their employee gain from the program.
- Faculty: The EMBA faculty members are innovative and have an in-depth understanding of current management practices. They know how to work with executives, drawing out the experience of those in the class to illustrate learnings and facilitating the link between theory and practice.
- Executive speakers: Both McGill and HEC Montréal have strong connections to the business community, giving the EMBA participants the opportunity to meet a wide range of business leaders.
- Class Patron : Every class is paired with a business leader who shares his or her experience with the group. To date, these patrons have been : Paul Desmarais Jr., Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power Corporation and Co-Chairman of Power Financial, Thierry Vandal, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hydro-Québec, Serge Godin, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board, CGI, Monique Leroux, Chair of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group, Bob Swidler, President, J. Robert Swidler & Associates, Laurent Lapierre, renowned leadership author, Louis Chênevert, CEO of United Technologies and Robert Dutton, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the new HEC Montréal École des dirigeants and former President and CEO of RONA.
The participants in the program are exceptional men and women. They develop strong bonds which form the basis for a powerful network. The 15 months of the program are just the beginning. The connections and friendships developed will be a lifelong treasure. The EMBA McGill-HEC Montréal has 200 alumni, and from day one, participants are paired with an alumnus. This buddy will act as a guide, sounding board and support throughout the program and will help start the connection with the broader EMBA alumni community. In addition, HEC Montréal has 71,000 alumni and McGill University, 215,000.
The program schedule is once per month, Thursday-Saturday, (plus two 7-10 day residential modules) which has proven to be a manageable schedule even for those who spend 80% of their time travelling. Executives in the program also appreciate the fact that the schedule takes some time from work and some time from home. This reflects their reality where demands from both can be high, and it has proven to be a good equilibrium. The schedule of classes is available more than a year in advance, and at the start of the program the class is provided with the due dates for all assignments for the year. This visibility means that participants can plan ahead, and that’s often the key to making the program fit into a busy life.
best of both worlds.
In 2013, The Economist issued its first-ever global EMBA ranking, placing the McGill-HEC Montreal EMBA program 1st in Quebec and 29th in the world. According to the Economist’s ranking, the EMBA McGill-HEC Montréal has the best quality of students in Canada, and 4th in the world. The program got great participants, great faculty and a great “Personal development and educational experience” relative to the other schools in the ranking.