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CHIPS Articles: Business Warriors Wanted: NPS Announces New Low-Res Defense-Focused Executive MBA for High-Tempo Officers

Business Warriors Wanted: NPS Announces New Low-Res Defense-Focused Executive MBA for High-Tempo Officers
By Matthew Schehl, Naval Postgraduate School - July-September 2020
The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) is about to embark on a new program that has the potential to dramatically expand its ability to offer advanced degrees to Naval Officers the world over.

NPS’ Graduate School of Defense Management (GSDM) will begin offering an enhanced Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) this Fall through the Low-residency Graduate Education Program (LGEP), a new pilot initiative of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Development (OPNAV N7).

The LGEP is designed to provide mid-career Naval officers the opportunity to pursue the graduate degrees needed for career progression. For Unrestricted Line Officers especially, this is a golden opportunity to be able to further education without having to spend time away from high-tempo professions.

“This initiative is the product of close collaboration between the Chief Learning Officer (CLO), N7, and the warfare communities,” noted Vice Adm. Stuart Munsch, former N7 and the Navy’s lead for education. “Once implemented, LGEP will give officers with compressed career paths an opportunity to pursue a graduate degree that fulfills education requirements for promotion and milestone screening and contributes directly to Navy warfighting advantage.”

The LGEP is a centrally funded program, covering all tuition, required books, travel and other materials. Degree programs range from 10 to 24 months in duration and fulfill the requirement of one year of in-residence, strategically focused education for promotion.

Partnering with a host of top-tier graduate programs across the nation, including John Hopkins University, UCLA and the University of Washington, LGEP affords students the chance to earn a master’s degree in a range of academic areas: in addition to an EMBA through NPS, officers can study Applied International Studies, Global Policy or Public Administration, to name a few.

Unlike its civilian counterparts, however, NPS has a 111-year head start in best understanding the needs of the military. Furthermore, in addition to the EMBA available through the LGEP, the university offers a diverse range of available certificate options that are not available through other MBA programs in the LGEP, including Regional Security Studies, Intelligence Operations, and International Defense Planning. As such, NPS is able to provide the most relevant, interdisciplinary curriculum possible.

Drawing on two decades’ experience providing Distance Learning (DL) education to the nation’s officers, the revised EMBA will feature greater time spent on NPS’ campus, melding the convenience of distance learning with a balanced degree of in-person interaction.

This EMBA is a two-year program with six in-residency periods: following an introductory session, students and faculty convene on campus twice more over the first year and three times over the second. The idea is to increase the socialization of students and faculty as they get to know each other, network more and facilitate greater classroom interaction.

“It just seemed only natural to leverage an existing program to incorporate more on-campus activity to increase the extent of student-to-student and faculty-to-student interaction,” said GSDM Dean Keith Snider. “So that’s what we did: we took a very successful program and really just adapted that to meet the Navy’s needs.”

The LGEP represents a giant step forward for the Navy in the education of its officers, especially its URLs.

“The LGEP reflects who we are: we understand who our principal customer is and are able to adapt very quickly to emerging needs,” Snider said. “It also reflects that we have anticipated those needs for some time and have the existing capabilities we can leverage to meet them.”

“I’m excited to see the LGEP unfold,” he added.

Further information on the LGEP and application instructions are available here:

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