Following last year’s NASA student cohort, the Naval Postgraduate School’s (NPS) Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) program is again proving the degree applies across a broad spectrum of federal agencies. When this year’s class gathered for on campus orientation in March, the current group included yet another contingent from outside the DOD, this time from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Each year, new cohorts of EMBA students attend a series of team management courses and meetings as a part of their in-resident orientation. As a distance-learning effort, the EMBA program’s orientation allows the students to develop immediate relationships, to share and exchange career experiences, in preparation for their work in teams.
“Comingling with people from Department of Defense has shone a different light on problems that I don’t necessarily come across working for the Department of Justice,” said Rachele Salvo, a budget analyst. “It’s interesting to learn about what they experience, and to share the things that we experience, while comparing how those things match up.”
Retired Navy Cmdr. William D. Hatch manages the EMBA program, which allows students to carry out their duties at their full-time jobs along with attending class part time.
“After orientation here at NPS, the students return to their site locations where they work four days a week and attend class once a week,” Hatch said. “They are taught two back-to-back courses using video teleconferencing (VTC).
“VTC is the next best thing to physically sitting in a classroom,” he continued. “People think that just because a technology is available that it should be used to educate. As an educator, it’s my job to make sure that our methods of teaching are effective. With VTC, we can ensure that the students walk away with the information that they will need to be successful.”
Students are required to attend orientation to set a foundation and rapport with the institution and their classmates. GSBPP also asks that students return to attend graduation so that everything comes full-circle over the course of the 24-month program, Hatch said.
The EMBA program takes a blended approach to student learning, and emphasizes the values of working in groups. Officials note that the team dynamics, with groups of up to five or six individuals based out of the same geographical area, enrich the learning experience.
“We have to have five to six students in a location in order to get a cohort established,” said Dr. Bill Gates, Dean of the Graduate School of Business and Public Policy. “We’d like to keep it to no more than four locations, sometimes we accept five bringing us to a total of 25-30 students per class.”
The success of the EMBA program at organizations like NASA, and now the FBI, has NPS looking to work with other federal agencies and other branches of the Armed Forces as well.
“Working with other federal agencies exposes students and instructors to a culture that we may not have thought about,” said Gates. “Bringing in students from NASA, the FBI, the Veteran’s Association – military and civilians – enhances the richness of the experience.
“Students of the current class benefit by this, but in addition, future students to come benefit as well because our instructors are exposed to these different experiences,” Gates added.
With the new cohort now underway, Hatch added that while the program is running at capacity, they are also always looking at ways to help other organizations as well.
“The EMBA program is robust and thriving as is,” Hatch said. “But we’re always welcome to new groups participating in our program, their perspectives can prove to be priceless assets to the learning experience.”