What is an Executive MBA?

To people who ask what is an executive MBA, it’s simply an academic degree that’s awarded to students who successfully complete an MBA program while already an executive in a business. Students enrolled are those who want an education that will make them better leaders in the business world.

Different From the Traditional MBA Degree

According to the Executive MBA Council, the Executive MBA differs from the traditional MBA. First, it bears the name “executive” because many individuals enrolled in the program have full-time jobs in management. Sometimes the employer pays the student’s tuition. In that case, however, the employer is likely to require the student to commit to staying with the company for a specified length of time following graduation.

The second difference between the EMBA and the tradtional MBA is that since most students work full time, most programs hold classes on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays or some combination of those days. Though candidates for both degress usually have work experience, candidates for the Executive MBA have worked longer than students studying for a MBA. In fact, one reason executives choose the EMBA program, is because they like being with other seasonsed executives.

Third, the Executive MBA can be earned much quicker than the MBA. Even while working full time, executives can earn the EMBA is two years. However, it can take five years for a a student enrolled in a MBA program while working fulltime to earn the degree.


Most programs for an Executive MBA do not require or even permit the student to declare a major, although some schools do permit the student to choose an area of concentration such as marketing, accounting or leadership skills. Before enrolling in a program that allows an area of concentration, the individual and the employer, if the employer is paying for the degree, should discuss which area of concentration is suitable for the needs of the individual working at that company.

Executive MBA programs are designed to produce well-rounded individuals. As such, candidates for the EMBA are expected to know not only about business, but they are also expected to know about themselves. Therefore, in classes they learn to identify their strengths and weaknesses and to capitalize on and minimize the disadvantages of them, respectively.

Considerations For the Student

Networking is very important in pursuing this degree. Students will work closely together, so good interaction with classmates is important. Programs leading to an EMBA include at least one week abroad, because today’s executive must have a global mindset. EMBA programs are expensive. According to CNN Money, the total costs range from $50,000 to about $170,000.  So before the employers and students pay tuition, they should make sure they have the time to study and that study will not interfere with the quality of their performance on the job.

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Working executives who want to make themselves stand out from the pack, often decide to pursue an advanced business degree. But before deciding to enroll in an Executive MBA program, prospective students must consider scheduling, lifestyle, finances, and decide whether they can tough out this intense road leading to a post-baccalaureate degree.