The following information on Executive MBA programs was provided by the Executive MBA Council. Learn more about the council at www.emba.org
Q. What is an executive MBA program?
A. An executive MBA program is an opportunity for experienced professionals to obtain a master’s degree in business administration on a schedule that minimizes disruption of work and personal pursuits. Such programs include a cohort class structure that offers a lock-step, planned curriculum in an executive setting. In other words, members of each class begin the program at the same point, move through the curriculum together, and typically complete the degree requirements for graduation as a group. Executive MBA (EMBA) students are required to complete their degrees in two years or less. During that period, they gain a wide range of new skills and sharpen their analytical abilities by combining coursework with day-to-day professional experiences. A unique aspect of an EMBA program is the collective professional experience of its participants, which greatly enriches the educational environment. A team approach is often used to allow for the sharing of diverse perspectives on various topics; this interaction results in a challenging, stimulating learning experience that provides for maximum return on time and resources invested. EMBA students have several years of significant, post baccalaureate career experience. Most students are sponsored both financially and through release-time by their employing organizations, and all continue to work full time while enrolled in the program. To ensure optimum benefits to participants and the sponsoring organizations, class size and class structure facilitate close interaction between faculty and participants.
Q. What’s different about the executive MBA curriculum?
A. Courses offered in an EMBA program are normally the same as those taught in traditional MBA programs-accounting, finance, statistics, management, marketing, and information systems. However, EMBA courses are enhanced by the extensive professional experience of the participants and are uniquely structured to teach a maximum amount of course material in an accelerated timetable. In addition, senior faculty experienced in teaching and consulting are employed as principal instructors. Once all coursework is satisfactorily completed, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is awarded.
Q. Who attends the executive MBA program?
A. A very diverse group of professionals enter and complete EMBA programs. What they share is a sincere desire to grow professionally by obtaining an MBA degree and a willingness and ability to meet program time and course requirements. A number of factors are considered in selecting candidates for an EMBA program. In most cases, each applicant is evaluated on his or her professional performance, academic records, professional recommendations, and a demonstrated ability to accomplish graduate-level business coursework. Most EMBA students enter a program with 10 or more years of professional and/or managerial experience. An undergraduate degree is generally required, though it need not be a degree in business. Evaluation of students for admission to an EMBA program is a very individualized process. While test scores, grade point averages, and other objective criteria are all considered, a prospective student’s background, work experience, career goals, desire to succeed, and numerous other factors are considered in making an admission decision. Under special circumstances, GMAT scores may be required, but students will be informed if required.
Q. What type of time commitment is involved?
A. EMBA students find themselves exhilarated to be back in the classroom. They are among their professional and intellectual peers, where they can share the challenge of learning new methods and means for managing the business of doing business. Success in professional life demands a substantial and regular commitment of time, and it is no different in an EMBA program. Over the course of the program, at least 20 to 25 hours a week should be allotted for some combination of classroom work, computer and research efforts, and course assignments. Added to the already heavy demands of a business career, the time involved in pursuing an EMBA is considerable and requires a high level of motivation and commitment. The burden is eased by the support of other students and by the assistance of the EMBA program staff.
Q. Can I afford an executive MBA program?
A. Obtaining an MBA degree is an investment – an investment in learning and in a person’s career and future. The high quality of faculty, facilities, and support staff required to provide a successful EMBA program dictates that such programs include an investment by the participant’s sponsoring organization. Program costs are modest in comparison to the benefits yielded. In some cases, students are sponsored fully, or in part, by their employers. Employers understand the competitive advantage they gain from having an employee whose management skills have been brought to the highest possible level. Students who are not sponsored by their companies often qualify for loans, scholarships and/or other financial aid.
Q. What impact will an MBA have on my career?
A. An MBA degree reflects a sophisticated level of knowledge and skills concerning a wide range of contemporary management topics. It also implies a well-developed understanding of strategic thinking and planning in a globally competitive world. Professionally, an MBA provides the skills needed to gain additional management responsibility. For the entrepreneur, the knowledge gained in earning an MBA can make the difference between success and failure in a highly competitive environment.