Investing in financial health

EMBA program at UNLV lets employees take development into their own hands

Bruce Spotleson

Bruce Spotleson

VEGAS INC Coverage

Most leaders know that employee development is a smart investment in a company’s long-term financial health.

But when things get tight, it’s often the first area to get cut back or cut out. Organizations tend not to think of tomorrow when the wolf is at the door today.

There are, however, other options for working managers who want to grow. For some time now, a number of industrious locals have pursued their own education and dreams through the Executive Masters of Business Administration program at the Lee Business School at UNLV. It is designed specifically for those who have full-time jobs.

Compressed into an intense 18 months, the EMBA program is intended to help people take their careers to the next level, either in their current workplace or in a new setting altogether. In teaching how business and strategic perspectives mesh, it prepares graduates to compete for and excel in top management positions.

Time flies, and for those who remember when the program was created, it may come as a surprise that this December’s graduating class will be its 10th.

The program begins its second decade with a new leader, the bright and energetic Nikkole McCartin. A 2009 EMBA graduate, she brings enthusiasm and self-confidence to a job with a wide range of responsibilities.

She’s also an example of how life can change after graduation. She previously worked locally as marketing director for the Howard Hughes Corp.

“An MBA program has the potential of changing the trajectory of people’s careers,” McCartin said a few weeks after assuming her new role. “It gives me goose bumps to think that I can help people get into this program and then watch their lives change.”

Each class is called a cohort, a word traditionally used to describe a group of soldiers or warriors. The 22-person cohort that began in June will spend every other Friday and Saturday in class, as did their predecessors, with much more time in between studying and doing homework — all while holding down full-time jobs.

“It’s a huge commitment from a time-and-energy perspective,” McCartin said.

The program also has a global business emphasis. This cohort will travel to Vietnam and Thailand as part of its studies. McCartin’s cohort visited Argentina and Thailand. The visits are not for sightseeing; they are tied to the curriculum.

“Part of doing business in another country is understanding its culture,” McCartin said.

Tuition for the EMBA program is $42,000, which covers all course materials, meals on class days, parking and trips, with some financial aid available for those who qualify. An undergraduate degree with at least a 2.75 GPA is required, along with a minimum of five years of work experience and a progressive career track.

There’s no question the EMBA program can be a good fit for people interested in growing and developing their business skills. The program is intense and short — and a smart investment in a person’s long-term financial health.