Whether your goal is to earn a general MBA or an MBA with a specialization such as Information Technology or Global Energy, earning an MBA offers tremendous benefits such as better job opportunities, career advancement, and higher starting salaries. While this advanced business degree offers these benefits and more, graduates that have worked in the industry for many years (typically experienced mid to senior level managers and executives) often find that they are ready to advance to an even higher level position. Executive MBA (EMBA) programs are designed with these professionals in mind. This is one major difference between MBA and EMBA programs.
Because they are designed for mature professionals that already have a significant amount of work experience, the average EMBA student is 37.5 years of age. Although not necessarily a requirement, the average years of work experience is 13.7, according to the Executive MBA Council (EMBAC). In addition, according to U.S. News & World Report Education, many EMBA students have been identified “as potential leaders at their companies.” As such, EMBA students are usually sponsored by their employer “with the goal of increasing one’s immediate contributions to the organization,” according to Loyola University’s Quinlan School of Business.
The average MBA student is in his late 20s. They are often preparing to enter the business industry or they are working at the entry-level. With an MBA, some employers may offer tuition reimbursement to exceptional employees, but this is not as common.
When it comes to curriculums, EMBA programs are designed to “broaden the student’s business perspective and deepen their leadership skills,” according to Quinlan. A traditional/general MBA program teaches these skills, rather than build on them.
Besides a more mature and experienced student body and greater support from employers, many top EMBA programs offer year-round and Friday/Saturday class schedules. In many cases, with a traditional full-time MBA, classes meet Monday-Thursday throughout the academic year. However, accelerated and other non-traditional MBA and EMBA programs typically offer the same level of flexibility.
Admission Requirements and Costs for EMBA and MBA Programs
Admissions requirements vary by school. In general, potential EMBA and MBA students must have a bachelor’s degree. The GMAT is usually required for entry into an MBA program, while EMBA programs do not require it at all or less emphasis is placed on it. While many schools prefer EMBA students that have an extensive amount of career experience, some top schools require it. Work experience is not a requirement for MBA programs. Both programs typically take up to two years to complete, but some accelerated programs can take as few as 16 to 17 months to complete. Regardless of length, both programs are fast-paced and rigorous, and most are expensive.
While it is possible to find MBA and EMBA programs for less than $50,000 (Prairie View A&M University’s AACSB-accredited College of Business offers an EMBA for just over $36,000 for the entire program and around $27,000 for the MBA program for residents), top programs rarely dip below $100,000 for the entire program. Some of the best programs, such as the EMBA offered at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, can cost as much as $186,900 (May 2015). Tuition for the MBA was $70,870 for the 2015-2016 school year.
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Byrne, John A. "Executive MBAs for under $50,000? Yes, They Exist." Fortune. N.p., 16 May 2011. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.
"EMBA FAQ." Prairie View A&M University. Texas A&M University System, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.
"Executive MBA Council | Executive MBA | Executive Education | Executive MBA Schools." Executive MBA Council (EMBAC), 2015. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.
"Executive MBA." The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. University of Pennsylvania, n.d. Web. 13 Sept.
Greer, Jeff. "What Makes an Executive M.B.A. Different? Nontraditional Programs for Corporate Up-and-comers Get Their Due, Thanks to Graduates." U.S. News & World Report Education. U.S. News & World Report, 15 Apr. 2010. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.
"MBA vs Executive MBA: Compare the Differences." Quinlan School of Business. Loyola University Chicago, n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.