Programme is ideal for success
When Carmen Lam Chun-man began Ivey's executive MBA programme, she had more than 20 years of management experience behind her, mostly in marketing and branding in the hospitality and travel sectors. The managing director at Micros-Fidelio, an information systems leader in the hospitality and retail industries, for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, says that her decision to take the course stemmed from her perception of herself as a purely functional brand and marketing expert, and she wanted to transition into general management.
'I thought that taking an EMBA was appropriate as I wanted to have the opportunity to brush up on my skills and make sure I was up to date with the latest management philosophies. I also wanted to get up to date with what is happening in the workplace, especially trends in Generation Y, the latest technologies and what is happening in the wider world.'
Lam was born and raised in Hong Kong, and has worked here and in Canada, Singapore and Indonesia. She says that choosing the right programme was not easy, but the Ivey EMBA appealed the most because of the international nature of the course and the composition of students in it. '[The school] does not take a bunch of students from similar backgrounds and industries - the students are diverse so we got to learn from everybody's backgrounds and experience,' she says. 'It was great to spend time with all these different high achievers, learning and networking with them. We learned so much from each other. The class came from the mainland, Europe, the United States and many other places, so they all brought different styles which was a real highlight of the course.'
It may seem strange for a successful executive to embark on an EMBA but, as Lam explains, the advantages of getting an EMBA will remain with her forever. 'Most of us on the course experienced the boom times in Asia and we all got promoted very quickly. We obviously got to where we are today by making good, and the right, decisions. In a lot of cases, though, these were happy accidents. What a programme like this did for me was to make sure that I can turn those happy accidents into strategic decisions for the future, so that I can repeat those past successes again and again.'
Lam was able to apply a lot of what she learned in the classroom to her daily work and it gave her the confidence to know that the decisions she made in the workplace were the correct ones.
She advises prospective EMBA students to assess what their true objectives are before starting the course.
She attended two trial classes at Ivey before making a decision and she suggests all students do the same. 'They also need to decide what type of programme they should join. Ours encouraged participation and teamwork ... so it was ideal for me.'