For business professionals choosing to pursue a graduate degree, it can be difficult to choose between an MBA program and an EMBA program. Both degrees have distinct advantages. Before making a choice, prospective business students should consider factors like schedule, time, money, and course curriculum. Here are six things you should know about MBA and EMBA programs before you start applying to business schools.
1. Focused Curriculum v. General Curriculum
MBA programs are designed to provide students with a broad curriculum. The course load gives students a strong foundation before allowing them to specialize in areas like entrepreneurship. This is great for students who just finished their undergraduate studies or are jumping into the business world from a different job sector.
But for students who are pursuing education to further their existing business careers, MBA core classes can seem perfunctory. EMBA programs rarely have introductory classes. Instead, they offer specialized classes from the beginning, allowing students to focus on their personal goals.
2. Full-Time v. Part-Time
If you want to return to go back to school without quitting your day job, EMBA programs are a great option. They’re specifically designed for working professionals, which means that classes are held in the evenings rather than during business hours.
3. Average Student Age
EMBA programs tend to attract students between the ages of 32 and 38 years old. That’s because many of these programs have strict entrance requirements—they want to see that you have executive experience on your resume. MBA programs, on the other hand, attract younger students between the ages of 24 and 30 years old. This is because work experience isn’t a necessary prerequisite for admittance.
Because of their part-time nature, EMBA programs offer more scheduling flexibility than standard MBA programs. Beyond scheduling, however, EMBA programs simply offer a different approach to business education. MBA programs usually have a mandatory core curriculum, which students take via a rigorous daytime class schedule. While EMBA programs are similarly rigorous, students are given more leeway to follow their own interests, learn online, and study at their own pace.
5. Employer Incentives
For many EMBA students, their employers cover part or all of their tuition fees. Companies may reimburse students as they attend, or they may give them a bonus upon completion. These financial incentives make EMBA programs popular with business professionals looking to further their careers without accruing exorbitant amounts of debt. Since a full-time MBA program can cost as much as $200,000, employer incentives can be a major advantage for anyone who qualifies.
7. Duration of Study
MBA programs and EMBA programs can typically be completed in two years. During these two years, MBA students will have a larger course load, as they take core curriculum classes as well as specialized classes. EMBA students, on the other hand, skip the core classes and spend two years taking elective classes that further their business goals. Both types of program can take longer than two years if students are unable to take the standard course load each semester.