All business leaders could learn a lot from walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.
All great managers know that you cannot judge anyone without understanding their experiences, and challenges. By hearing their stories, you can see your own life and management style in a different context.
The concept of walking in someone else’s shoes is believed to have been inspired by a poem written by Mary T Lathrap, the 19th century suffragist and social campaigner whose relentless drive for self-improvement would have made her a natural student at a modern business school.
At Leeds University Business School, you are guided down the path of personal development by skilled tutors who place an emphasis on empathy.
Each step along the journey, you are encouraged to see the world from other people’s perspective.
When you take the Executive MBA at the business school, you will gain the chance to improve your knowledge of disciplines such as economics, management, finance and marketing.
But Vince Dispenza, the director of the Executive MBA at Leeds University Business School, believes his key role is to raise people’s visions and expectations. He is keen to stress the distinction between a management training programme and a management development programme.
He said: “The former focuses on making you more efficient (doing things right). The latter on being more effective (doing the right things). That’s not to say MBAs don’t make you more efficient, but they aim to develop people beyond their current role.”
Training programmes are often tailored to meet a specific target, such as sharpening sales or human resources skills. The Leeds University Business School EMBA aims to create more rounded, thoughtful, incisive managers, who can inspire others to reach their potential.
Above all, it aims to help you think creatively and break away from the daily grind to see a much bigger picture.
You will also be rubbing shoulders with motivated individuals who have a similar desire to see the world through the eyes of others.
Mr Dispenza said students on the course learn a lot from each other because they come from a wide range of backgrounds.
“You are broadening your mind to other people’s way of seeing things and other people’s problems,’’ he said.
As a result, students will see their own business or organisation in a different light. This approach encourages constructive analysis of the ways the organisation has been working and how it might be improved.
“Other organisations may be doing good things, but you aren’t aware of it,’’ he added.
As part of their course work, students are set a new venture challenge, which gives them the chance to hone their pitching skills in a manner worthy of BBC TV’s Dragons’ Den.
“It encourages them to be more innovative and, in some cases, set up their own businesses,’’ said Mr Dispenza.
The EMBA students are also set a boardroom challenge, which encourages strategic thinking, and a consultancy challenge, in which they act as agents of change. This element of the course places the emphasis on securing sustainable income, which is a key area of concern for all third sector organisations.
Above all, the EMBA provides participants with an insight into the importance of ethical leadership.
To really benefit from the EMBA programme, students need to find space to get into the rhythm of the course. The benefits will last a lifetime. It will teach the virtues of efficient time management to ensure work and family life exist in harmony.
“The EMBA is an individual journey,” said Mr Dispenza. “A lot of the success of the EMBA is about the fact you are surrounded by a group of highly motivated people who are carrying each other along.
“So many people will say that doing an EMBA made a big difference in their life. Our alumni network never has a problem finding former students who will come to open evenings and talk about their experiences.”
Taking the EMBA at Leeds University Business School, will accelerate your career progress and connect you to an influential network that is spread around the world.
You have the chance to be mentored by entrepreneurs, management consultants and directors and work with leading companies.
The EMBA students will be well-placed to help colleagues achieve their potential, so the benefits will be spread around the company. They will be just the sort of leaders the global economy needs as we move into an era which prizes “soft” skills above all others.
There are ample opportunities to build your professional network, and your project work will bring you into contact with some of the business school’s many industrial partners. Leeds University Business School is ranked third in the UK for accounting and finance and fourth in the UK for economics, according to the Guardian University Guide 2019.
Peter Moizer, executive dean at Leeds University Business School, said: “We are also extremely proud to be ranked top 10 in the Russell Group across all our subject areas: accounting and finance; business and management; economics, plus our number one position for marketing.
“These positive results reflect our ongoing innovation and commitment to our students.”
Walking in somebody else’s shoes really can take you to exciting and unexpected destinations on your personal corporate journey. The EMBA course is a passport to a lifetime of opportunity.