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EMBA Reorganization Petition

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Dean Hartzell, Dean Limberg, Assistant Dean Stephens, UT Administration and to anyone else this may concern:

We, as current students and alumni of the Executive MBA program at the University of Texas, are writing you to express our concerns regarding the elimination of the Director role for the EMBA program and the demotion of Dr. John Burrows as Director of the program. This is not a direct plea to reinstate Dr. Burrows, but rather an acknowledgement of the strengths and strategies he brought to the program and our hope they will not be neglected with his departure.

We have all made enormous financial, personal and professional sacrifices to complete the program and as a result we would like to understand the administration’s plan to protect that investment. As business leaders, we are acutely aware that restructuring is, at times, necessary and enables new paths to success that were previously unavailable. With that said, by eliminating the Executive Director position, in what ways will the program be able to achieve successes that were unavailable with a Director? While we do not know all the financial, strategic, and cultural reasons for the change, we understandably have concerns about protecting and growing our interest in the EMBA program. Therefore, we’d like to know more about the administration’s strategy. If this change was made for budgetary and financial reasons, is the EMBA less profitable than expectations, less profitable relative to other MBA programs, and/or less profitable relative to other top EMBA programs? What budgetary or financial constraints drove this decision? Was this change made because enrollment numbers into the EMBA program were in decline? If so, how does this decision lead to an improved outcome for future enrollment figures? We understand you might not be able to share all information, but we would like to have more insight into the general business case and the data you collected pointing to the need to consolidate the EMBA program.

Brand & Reputation

The University of Texas EMBA has an excellent reputation in Texas, across the nation, and around the world. As students, this reputation is a core element of the program’s well-established value proposition. If the goal is to continue to improve the value of the EMBA program, how is this improved without Director to guide and direct the continued growth of the program’s success? Dr. Burrows’ dedication for the last ten years accelerated the EMBA’s brand among the business community, and this was a key driver of the program’s success. Our concern is that a reduction in leadership and resources for the EMBA program will negatively impact the program’s reputation and success over the long term. We’d like to know more about how the new structure will accelerate the growth of the UT - EMBA brand through the interview and selection process for new students. Consolidating operations of the EMBA program into the other MBA programs implies that an EMBA will essentially be indistinguishable from the other MBA programs. So, we would like to understand: What will justify the additional cost of the EMBA program for future students?

EMBA Service Level

Without a high level of service and consultation during the program, many of us would have struggled more than reasonably necessary to meet the academic rigors of the program while balancing our personal and professional lives. The administration has always been more than accommodating, ensuring all of the administrative tasks (class scheduling, book purchases, administrative holds, etc.) were taken care of by Teresa or Kristi. Without this level of service, we believe the caliber of professional students would significantly diminish along with the value of the EMBA. It would be very burdensome for a doctor, vice president, lawyer or director level professional to take on such administrative tasks during this rigorous program. We understood this level of service was a big reason for the significant cost difference of the EMBA program vs. other MBA programs. Will the current level of service be continued in future classes or will resources now be shared between all the MBA programs? What sort of administrative resources will be dedicated to the program going forward?

Business Community Connections

Dr. Burrows did an excellent job cultivating a business network in Austin and beyond. His networking developed connections to the business community, many of which are direct results of us attending the program. Dr. Burrows also provided excellent executive speakers due to his strong business network. The McCombs network is a key reason many of us chose the EMBA program and we would like to understand how Assistant Dean Stephens will provide a similar level of business community involvement and networking we expect from a world renown EMBA program.

Overall, we all believe that Dr. Burrows was an excellent Director and we were stunned when his position was eliminated. As you know, we are not privy to all the detailed planning and strategy around this organizational change, but we all hope to see the same caliber of dedication to the EMBA program from Assistant Dean Stephens.

As interested parties, we all have a common goal in mind: to protect the EMBA brand and reputation. Please consider involving the current student population and Alumni network as you embark on this new structure. We will provide a wealth of experience and knowledge that could be utilized to continue program excellence for future EMBA cohorts.

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