Do you remember the first time you said aloud, “I think I’m gonna go to business school and get an MBA.” Hearing those words spill out of your mouth can be pretty jarring. I know it was for me. How long had it been since you made the decision before you actually told anyone? Everybody has a story.
That statement, as you all now know, unleashed a torrent of work. The research, the prep, the GMAT, the letters, the applications… Why again did you decide to do this? Fundamentally, all of has have reached a point in our lives and careers that it just “makes sense.” However, that point is different for all of us. Depending on what you’ve been up to since undergrad, you may well be looking at the traditional, professional MBA versus the Executive MBA. Is the latter right for you? Have you thought about it? Do you know what it is?
An Executive MBA (EMBA) is both very similar and very different from the “regular” MBA most of us think of when we picture b-school. The major similarity is that the degree you receive will be a Master’s in Business Administration regardless of whether there’s an ‘E’ at the beginning of your program’s handle. Much of the coursework will also be the same and the faculty delivering that coursework will spend most of their time working with your three-letter compatriots.
It’s really the differences that influence an individual’s decision to go the executive route. From one document released by UT Dallas, those differences are really housed in four core areas: audience, delivery method, focus, and price.
In short, an EMBA is specifically designed for mid-career executives and managers rather than those closer to the beginning of their professional lives. While the duration of the program is on par (approx. two years), it comes every other weekend and rarely, if ever, holds a class during the work week. Inevitably, the focus of the curriculum will be different for a room full of seasoned, successful business men and women than for a group of individuals still trying to make their mark and accelerate their careers (think leadership over general management knowledge). And, finally, an EMBA is more expensive (but, many companies reimburse or otherwise cover those expenses).
Some good information resources are the EMBA program websites at the business schools you are thinking of attending and The Executive MBA Council website. If you are interested in having a look at EMBA rankings, here’s a link to WSJ’s Top 25.