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Spotlight on Walden // Jul 28, 2014

Celebrating Walden’s First EMBA Graduates

Seventeen Walden University graduates had an extra-special reason to celebrate at this year’s summer commencement—they were the first ever to graduate from the Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) program at Walden. Since they began the new program nearly two years ago, they have traveled together on a journey of personal and professional transformation, each seeking to advance his or her leadership skills and move forward in their respective fields.

“When Walden first introduced the EMBA in 2012, we hoped to attract students who had identified a deficit in their professional tool kit and wanted greater success and the confidence to be able to do more,” says Dr. Jack McDonald, program director for the EMBA. “This first graduating class is a leading example of how to take personal and individual goals and bring them together for a unique opportunity to collaborate, challenge one another, and tackle opportunities in order to become more successful in an increasingly competitive environment and one where sustainability may impact longer-term success. It’s been a pleasure to have been part of their educational journey.”

The online EMBA program, which is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), includes several unique features, such as engaging and collaborating in a cohort consisting of a select group of highly motivated peers who offer a diverse blend of geographic and industry experiences. Over the course of 20 months, the EMBA students identified their leadership style through an in-depth self-assessment to expand their entrepreneurial mind-set and gain exposure to international business practices and cultures. They also attended a U.S. leadership residency and embarked on a memorable 10-day global residency in the People’s Republic of China that provided a global study opportunity to enrich their learning experience and professional career.

Marlene Fung, a senior manager in the research and development department at Amgen Canada in Ontario, says the EMBA prepared her to tackle today’s changing business environment and to think more globally and strategically. “It allows me to pinpoint problems in a more effective way and also to seek better solutions for problems. I have already used the knowledge gained in my work on a regular basis. The knowledge helps me see the world in a different way,” she explains.

John Zulk, who has more than 25 years’ experience in public accounting and private equity firms, is also putting his EMBA to work. John believed that he had to get a graduate degree to compete with other professionals. Since starting his EMBA, John has teamed with two partners to form a private equity and management firm in Iowa, focusing on turnaround projects and entrepreneurial startups. And along with two other EMBA graduates, he is researching an idea to start a microfinance equity firm to support sustainable and socially conscious businesses.

Similarly, Kim Collins’ EMBA experience resulted in a new career venture. “I will take my EMBA designation and continue to be a game changer within business development and strategy,” says the Severn, Maryland, resident, who is a manager of physician strategy and network development. “My EMBA capstone project became the springboard into something that I foresee in my future as helping physicians navigate through the rapidly changing United States healthcare system.”

Like students in other Walden programs, the EMBA students have become a tight-knit group of graduates because of their shared experience. “Our cohort became an operational and functional family of leaders, educators, and change-makers,” says Kim Collins. “I have gotten to know each of my classmates, their personal lives, and business, and we collaborate and support each other even after the final class has ended. I believe this is a bond that will be with this group for our lifetime.”

Learn more about a $5,000 grant available for new EMBA students at