Should I earn an executive MBA degree?

An executive MBA degree is a type of master's degree for business students. An executive MBA degree, or EMBA as it is sometimes known, can be earned from a number of different business schools. Program length can vary depending on the school. Most executive MBA degree programs take one to two years to complete
Brainstorm By Karen Schweitzer
Published on October 8, 2014
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Happy confident business woman heading a team of successful colleagues

An executive MBA degree is a type of master’s degree for business students. An executive MBA degree, or EMBA as it is sometimes known, can be earned from a number of different business schools. Program length can vary depending on the school. Most executive MBA degree programs take one to two years to complete.

Executive MBA Degree Characteristics

Executive MBA degree programs vary from school to school. However, there are some characteristics that nearly every executive MBA program shares. They include:

Flexible Schedules – Executive MBA degree programs are designed for professionals who work full-time. Class structure varies from program to program, but always keeps the working student in mind.
Serious Students – Students who attend executive MBA degree programs are serious about their studies and their career. According to the Executive MBA Council, the average EMBA student is 37 years old and has more than eight years of management experience.
Commitment – Both schools and students make a commitment to the program. Students are usually expected to commit 15-20 hours per week for classes and assignments. Schools commit to the program by using senior faculty as instructors and offering special services to EMBA students.
Teamwork Emphasis – Curriculum and education delivery can vary from school to school. However, most programs put a strong emphasis on teamwork. EMBA students work closely with their classmates throughout the entire program.
Executive MBA vs. MBA

Many people are confused by the difference between an executive MBA degree and a traditional MBA degree .

The confusion is understandable–an executive MBA is an MBA. A student who attends an executive MBA degree program will get an MBA education. The real difference lies in the delivery. Executive MBA programs usually offer different schedules than traditional full-time MBA programs. For example, EMBA students may take all day classes once each week. Or they may meet for classes on a bi-weekly basis. The class schedules in a traditional MBA program are less flexible.

Other differences may include the services offered to students in an executive MBA degree program. EMBA students are sometimes provided with special services that are not available to the school’s MBA students. Services may include registration assistance, meal delivery, textbooks, and other helpful staples. Students in an executive MBA degree program can also expect to complete the program with the same set of students (also known as cohorts.) MBA students, on the other hand, may have different classmates from year to year.

Where to Earn an Executive MBA Degree

Nearly all of the top business schools offer an executive MBA degree program. EMBA programs can also be found at smaller, lesser known schools. In some cases, it is even possible to earn an executive MBA degree online. You can search for and compare programs all over the world using this free EMBA Comparison Tool .

How to Get Into an Executive MBA Degree Program

Admissions requirements can vary from program to program. However, all applicants will be expected to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Most programs also require a minimum of 6.5 years of work experience, according to the Executive MBA Council –though 10+ years of work experience is more common among EMBA students. Applicants with management or supervisory experience are preferred, and some schools will even require 3+ years of leadership experience.

Applicants will also have to demonstrate that they can work at the graduate level. Schools will evaluate previous academic performance and may require GMAT or GRE scores as part of the application process. Additional requirements usually include professional recommendations, an in-person interview, and a resume or personal statement. Read more about business school admissions .

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