Why study for an Executive MBA during a crisis situation?

09 APRIL 2021

Studying for an Executive MBA is a strategic step in a professional career. It’s particularly strategic during an international public health crisis, when everything changes very quickly. Géraldine Renaud Mairesse and Sébastien Freissinet have recently chosen to study at emlyon business school. They explain their decision.


Studying for an Executive MBA is an opportunity to acquire new skills and evaluate existing knowledge and past achievements; for many people, it is also a chance to embark on a new stage of a career. But is it wise to take on this challenge during a pandemic? “Yes, it’s the ideal time,” Sébastien Freissinet replies, without any hesitation. This engineer who specializes in civil aviation and works at Airbus, began studying for an EMBA at emlyon business school in October 2020. “I’d been thinking about it for many years and the first lockdown was a catalyst. The stars aligned: I’d just finished an ambitious 5-year project and I was interested in internal mobility opportunities. The pandemichas hit the aeronautical industry particularly hard and the future seemed unclear. So I decided to take the plunge: I asked Airbus for a sabbatical to study for the Executive MBA at emlyon for a year as part of the fast-track program,” he adds.


Furthering knowledge

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought some sectors to a halt, giving managers and directors the time to reconsider their professional future and capitalize on past experiences. It is therefore the ideal time to learn new skills. “The Executive MBA is an opportunity to further my knowledge. I look back at my previous projects and see them in a different light, I can take a step back. For example, I now have a much better understanding of costing strategies, something I was involved in when working as an engineer. I’m learning more about leadership and collective intelligence. I’m acquiring tools to develop innovation in business and I’m learning about corporate entrepreneurship. The latter fascinates me: it’s been a real breakthrough,” Sébastien Freissinet says.

This civil aviation specialist also sees the course as a career development opportunity at a time when it can be difficult to apply for new positions in companies that have been hard hit by the pandemic. “The EMBA is like an elevator. Today, it’s difficult to climb up the stairs within a company. With this course, we can take the elevator and continue to climb up the stairs because we provide real added value,” Sébastien Freissinet explains. Participants have a fresh perspective, they question the methods and processes in place and suggest innovative approaches, improving collective performance. They develop an early maker mindset, which encourages the identification of new growth opportunities.

Managing better crisis situations

Géraldine-Renaud-Mairesse- EMBA-emlyon-business-school

This view is shared by Géraldine Renaud Mairesse, who studied for an EMBA from 2018 to 2020. This specialist in customer experience in industry saw the benefits of the course during the first lockdown. “I began studying for an EMBA in 2018: I wanted to challenge myself and learn about new ways of working. I’ve found it easier to adapt to the changes caused by the pandemic. I’ve been able to reassure my teams, prioritize despite constant changes and provide meaning.

I’ve acquired tools and adopted an agile mindset. Without the EMBA, I wouldn’t have viewed the issues in the same way and I wouldn’t have had the same insight in terms of management,” Géraldine Renaud Mairesse explains

She has also reassessed her added value and has chosen to focus on a key issue in the post-pandemic world: a customer-centric approach. “I would never have thought about developing this project without the EMBA. I wouldn’t have dared,” Géraldine Renaud Mairesse admits.

A crisis situation is therefore an ideal opportunity for companies and individuals to embark on transformation. The EMBA at emlyon business school helps the leaders of tomorrow to move forward and build a future, despite current uncertainty.