Applied learning in the Executive MBA program

The best thing about doing an Executive MBA is the opportunity to apply the learnings immediately in your workplace. Here are my top key learnings from Goizueta that I have recently applied to my life outside of school:

  1. Do three things brilliantly rather than 20 things reasonably – it can be easy to get involved in every project at work, constantly multitasking and trying to complete 20 projects at once. However, we have been taught at Goizueta about the great value of focusing on a smaller number of tasks and doing them exceptionally. Completely immerse yourself in the problem, talk to others in the industry who have faced similar issues, and take deep dives using concepts such as design thinking. This key learning has enabled me to make progress on a number of very challenging tasks, and I am already beginning to see the rewards play out. All the research shows that multitasking just isn’t as effective.
  1. Disciplined focus on business value – the concept of return on investment (ROI) is a simple but very important topic. How does what you are doing impact the business, and what will be the expected return at the end of the project? In addition, it is crucial to focus on clear business value rather than just blindly following a process that has been previously put in place. The process, while important, should not take precedent over creating value for your company. Make sure that you calculate the ROI, or business value of the projects that you are working on, and allocate your time to the projects with the highest potential return.
  1. The human factor – even though the academic teachings are brilliant, some of the key applied learnings from Goizueta come from the softer skills we have been taught, especially with regard to people. No matter how good an idea you have, or how much value your plan might bring, the human factor always needs to be considered first. People are your greatest asset, and you must treat them with the highest respect and appreciation. Effective communication and buy in, understanding your team dynamics and capabilities are crucial. If your team is fully behind you, there is a much greater chance of ultimate success.
  1. Your best work is done early in the morning– guest speakers are common at Goizueta, and it seems that most successful people share a common trait — they rise early and their best work is completed early in the morning while there are no disturbances. When you consistently see that the most successful people create this lifestyle habit, it really brings home that this is an essential trait to develop. Rise early and get your hardest tasks completed early, you will feel like you own the day after that.
  1. Balance – even though balance can be very hard to find sometimes while juggling school and work life, this is so important to maintain peak performance. Some of your best ideas will come to you once you step away and have time to reflect on the bigger picture, allowing the subconscious mind to do its work. Even though we are all busy, creating that time away for a game of golf, a walk in the park, or time with friends and loved ones is crucial for consistent success.
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Brian Boland

Brian Boland 19WEMBA, originally from Ireland, is Director for Analytics & Insights at CRH Americas Materials, part of the CRH group, the second largest building materials company globally with over $30bn annual revenue, 90,000 employees, across 31 countries. He is the founding President of Irish Network Atlanta and in 2016 was recognized in the Irish Top 40 under 40 in the US. He is currently pursuing his Executive MBA at Emory Goizueta Business School.

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