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Why regular full-time MBA and not Executive MBA

For many late bloomers (age > 30 years), the question of why a regular, full-time MBA instead of an Executive MBA (EMBA) will most likely pop up. We published another related post – MBA after 30: Am I too old for a full-time bschool degree?

In it, we covered a few important questions: Why full-time MBA class profiles have very few students over 30? If you are over 30 years, how can you improve the MBA admit chances?

What we hadn’t covered was the specific question about why you chose to apply to a Full-time MBA vs an Executive MBA which is generally a part-time option. If you are unsure of how an Executive MBA program works, read this – Executive MBA vs MBA for Executives – The Big Indian Confusion.

There may be two reasons for nudging you in the EMBA direction.

The first one is purely for a ‘Fit’ angle. In an executive MBA program in India or USA, there would be many more candidates with your profile. You’ll find it easier to connect with them and building a strong network.

The second reason might the number of applications that the school gets for regular MBA vs Executive MBA. The former is significantly higher than the latter. They want to fill the EMBA class too, so if they can get a few good guys interested in their slightly lesser in demand program, it saves them the effort to chase new applicants.

Whatever their reason, if you have made up your mind to go for a regular MBA, then do not change your story mid-way. Stick to your ground and convince the admissions committee that you’ve arrived at the decision after a lot of thought.

The best approach is to not wait till the interview hoping this question will be posed to you. Address it earlier, in your MBA essays.

Here are a few alternatives for you to evaluate. Some might apply to you, others won’t:

Why regular MBA, and not Executive MBA

Rationale 1: Pre-MBA Career Path

Probably you’ve had an unusual career path compared to your peers. For instance, you may have worked in one field for several years before switching to a new field. Now to get you to the next level (more on this a little later in rationale 3), you need an MBA.

So for the general reviewer (focussing only on your age and experience level), it may seem that you may be too old for a full-time MBA. But if you have narrated the background effectively, your sabbatical plans, though a little later, may not sound as unusual.

Rationale 2: Fit with the regular MBA program

Despite the age difference, there would be several commonalities that you have with the other younger students in the class. What are those? An interest in the popular electives offered by the school? Is it your rich experience that’ll benefit others? How can you make it a two way street where you aren’t sitting in a corner in the class wondering what’s getting the others excited about the topics being discussed.

The other aspect you can highlight is your flexibility (before you start hunting for your pics in impossible yoga postures, read on). The general assumption is that the higher the age, the more rigid the attitude. In a bschool, a rigid approach can be disastrous as you are influencing others in there as well. What do they say about one bad fish polluting the whole pond. You don’t want to project yourself as that fish.

Rationale 3: Pre-requisite for your career plans

This is where your post MBA goals come into picture. Irrespective of your age, if you can strongly connect the MBA requirement to your goals, you’ve made the logical association.

Probably the next role you are targeting (you’d need to be pretty specific about this), an immersive experience that a regular MBA can offer (and an Executive MBA can’t) is crucial. Otherwise, if you are only going through the motions to pick up the theory, an Executive MBA should be just fine.

Apart from these three, there are a few more aspects that you need to think about. As an example, it could be related to the constraints that you face in the current role and how not going for an MBA at this stage could actually be counter-productive for you in the years to come. This is a little tricky, so let’s not get into the details here.

A common principle to keep in mind is to provide solid examples from your experience that will strengthen the rationale for each of the categories listed above.

Even if you aren’t exactly basking in the youthful exuberance like your fellow MBA applicants are, you don’t need to be intimidated by the process.

Build a solid application strategy (starting with the right bschools and then writing MBA essays that add credibility to your plans) and stick to it till the end.

Read this related post:
Is Executive MBA (EMBA) worth it or not?
Executive MBA ROI and salaries in USA, Canada, Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

44 thoughts on “Why regular full-time MBA and not Executive MBA”

  1. Hi Sameer,

    I am willing to persue a part time MBA/ Ececutive MBA. I am a B.Tech student now working in the IT industry for last 7.5 years as a senior SAP Consult. I can’t go for any regular MBA courses and also don’t want to make any career change at this point of time. My expectations from the program are knowledge, growth within the current company or outside, better salary and networking. I am currently working in Kolkata. Gone through coule of part time MBA courses and also lloking to some courses like NIIT Imperia but honestly speaking I am a bit confused. I was follwing this blog to find out any possible solution.Can you please help me.

    Suman Deb

    • Hi Sameer,
      I’m B.Tech- Electronics & Communication with over 6.5 years experience in the field of Control & Automation of Thermal Power Plants. Owing to certain unavoidable circumstances I had to leave my job few months back. Now I’m planning to appear for GMAT this year but I’m unaware of how to start the preparation. Can you guide me a bit on how I should proceed?
      I want you to know that currently I’m not in a job so would it be possible to get admission into any renowned institute like the IIMs or top 10 rated MBA colleges in India or abroad?

  2. Suman: Sorry, we can’t be of much help here as our focus has been on GMAT based international MBA programs.

    The general perception with part time MBA programs is that the knowledge and (limited) networking are practical expectations to have. But don’t expect too much on the growth and salary front.

  3. Sameer: I am a post graduate in Civil Engineering (graduate in US terminology) with 22 years of work experience – 18 years as senior materials manager , 3 years as an Assistant Professor and about one year in I.T.. Last year I took admission in few universities of US in PhD program. However, due to personal reasons I could not join the course. I am presently working as a very senior consultant in an IT company. Now I have decided to do MBA from USA. The purpose is to get a job in USA for some very personal reason. What would be best option for me:
    1. To do executive MBA or regular MBA?
    2. If regular — 2 years MBA or one year MBA?
    3. To do MBA with supply chain management (or operations management) as Major or Information management as Major (I am a SAP certified consultant)? or else, you may like to suggest any other major.
    I am not very keen on high salaries.

  4. @A.B: For your experience level, a 2-year program wouldn’t be a good fit. Most bschool adcoms will push you towards their Executive MBA program. An executive MBA is a study-while-you-work option. For you to pursue an Executive MBA in USA, you’d need to have a job there. The best SCM programs in USA are offered by MIT Sloan, Wharton, Stanford and Ross.

  5. Sir,
    I am a B.Tech(Civil) from NIT with 16 months work ex in construction. How can a 2 year MBA from any top Indian b-school help me?
    Please suggest.

  6. Hi,

    have 5 years of technical experience in power sector psu. shortlisted for interview of both executive mba and full time mba of a tier 1 b school.. want to change my profile and sector (want to go into consultancy). How to tackle the interview question of why full time mba and not executive mba

  7. Sir I want to know what are the option left for me being a gem student and not having good marks in 10 th 12th and grad .. what to do now which mba will be good and from where.?? I am fresher and my age is 23 and working in tcs right now…

  8. Hi Sameer,
    I have done my BTech (CSE) from Delhi in 2007. I have worked with Accenture afterwards as Software Engineer for 1.3 years. Afterwards I had joined Airports Authority of India, IT Division wherein I am working as Asst. Manager (IT) since last 4 years and 8 months. I have worked in mega projects of Chennai and Kolkata airports (worth 3300 crores or more) wherein my role was to design IT network, security solutions etc. and implement it successfully in these Airports. I am now willing to do an MBA but I am confused on the following issues.

    1. Whether to go in for Aviation Management MBA or Project Management MBA . Although I like the former but I feel the scope afterwards is not too much. Please help me decide the field I can opt for.

    2. Whether should I go in for Executive MBA or regular MBA. I am 29 years currently and have given GMAT earlier and score 610 but I am giving GMAT again in this July for a better score. I am already working and married so leaving a job and doing MBA looks a little risky but I am ready to go ahead for a full time MBA if its worth it. I am currently in a package of 10 Lakhs and I think this investment of 2 years (in regular MBA) can do wonders in my career life if done properly. On the other hand I feel that continuing with this job I can do an Executive MBA on weekends and can have a win win situation regarding my job and a fruitful MBA program as well. After my MBA program I will definitely shift my job as this job will not have any impact of doing an MBA being a govt job.


  9. @Vivek sir: We wrote a whole blog post answering that question. All you need to do is scroll up 🙂

    @Shabhyy: Here’s a quick way to get you started on how to get into the best MBA programs

    @Anshul: Aviation management is too niche and I have no clue who offers it. For Project Management, a PMP certification will work better. An Executive MBA will not help with a big career shift. Some basic questions need to be tackled here, bro.

  10. Hi sir,
    I am a simple (h) grad from cu scoring 48.9%, currently working with a BGV company of IIndi since more than 03 years.
    I would like to know whether emba would be helpful for me for better and stable career? With less than 50% in grads which good institutes will allow me to join them for the suggested program? Whether those colleges offer placements too for the emba students? What would be the total expenses for emba? And also what salary range can be expected after completing the course?

    I would be highly obliged if I get the queries resolved from your end.
    I hope I get my info without disturbing you.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Abhinaw Chaturvedi

  11. Hello Sameer,

    Following are my details:
    DOB- 1987
    Age- 27
    10th- 2004- 82%
    12th- 2006- 77%
    B. TECH- 2011- 67%
    Exp- 1.5yrs (IT)
    had a gap of 3 years

    I want to do a regular MBA. But some one told me that due to the gap, its very difficult to get into a good college. Is it true?
    What do you suggest?


  12. @Abhinaw: You’d have to get more specific about your MBA goals. ‘Better and stable career’ could mean anything. The salary that you get after graduating will be driven more by your capabilities rather than average MBA salary figures posted by the bschool.

    Pick up a copy of Beyond The MBA Hype to get up to speed.

    @Divakar: The gap will make it difficult to get into good schools unless you have a strong reason to justify it.

  13. Hi Mr Sameer,
    I am a mechanical Engineer with a experience of 7 years in JSW Steel ltd. My experience includes 3 years experience in production & 4 years in Product Application Engineering. Just to brief about my Current work profile in Application Engineering of a steel company let me explain you that i am posted in the branch office close to our customer so that we can provide on time Technical support to customer wrt to product approvals, Technical queries, resolution of customer concerns/complaints, Product performance monitoring. i am posted in Bangalore where my company has major chunk of business and taking care of customers in and around karnataka & goa. to name some of the customers i m handling are Toyota, ashok leyland,Honda, & TVS etc. to excel my career i am thinking of doing executive MBA but before i start my workout for the same would request on view about will it be beneficial for doing the MBA, How would ROI, What are the chances of getting the placement & will it be manageable to go for this MBA after cut of from study for almost 8 years. i am confused and scared as well . please give your suggestion.

  14. dear sameer,
    i am a medical representative in pharma from 5 years, i have done b pharma. and my age is 28.
    i just want to know that at this point of age, is regular mba course will be a good choice to change the field

  15. Nice post. Earlier I was thinking to go for exe. MBA but even my uncle suggested me to go for full time MBA as it carries a weight than part time. Even I feel instead of doing anything part wise we should dedicate our full time to understand the whole subjects.

  16. I am 25 years old. working in finance sector .. and i have around four year of experience. i want to do regular full time MBA. is it good for my future???

  17. Hello Sameer,

    I am of 30 years. I have completed my 3 years diploma in mechanical engineering (after 10th) in 2002. After that I opted for job and have completed 12 years of my carrier. While in job, I completed PGDBA in OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT from symbiosis centre for distance learning in 2013 with A+ grade. But didn’t get any benefit of same. Now i am interested to go for regular MBA but i am doubtful of being eligible for same as i have not completed graduation. Can you please tell if I can go for CAT/GMAT on the basis of Distance learning PGDBA..

    Thanks in advance.

  18. Hi , I am Rita , I have completed my Regular BCA and currently employed with Tech Mahindra from past one year. I am doing Distance MCA rite now but i have heard that i will not be able to switch company based on distance mca degree or if degree will be considered i will be given less package or my experiance will be cut short by 1-2 years. Please advice me how to proceed, which can enhance both my qualification and package in IT industry

  19. @Rita: You are right that distance degrees aren’t given the same importance. I guess it’s too late to suggest anything that’ll change that. Wish you’d had done the research about it’s value earlier.

  20. hi Sameer, like uttam saini above, i did 3 year diploma in electrical and electronics engineering (after 10th). I didn’t do my graduation. I have 18 years of experience in IT, mostly MNCs. what options i have for executive mba.? will i meet the eligibility for emba.?

  21. Hi Sameer,

    I am a computer engineer. I did B.Tech (Computer Science) in 2011. I am 25 years old. I have 3 years of experience in IT industry with Bank & finance as a vertical. I am looking for higher education prospects. Do you think Executive education will help or a regular MBA is a good choice ?


  22. Respected sir,
    I’m currently working as a fresher in CTS as engg.trainee I’m intrested to pursuing an E-MBA as part time but i’m still wiating for my project allocation after that can i start to pursue it i’m currently working in bangalore can you suggest me any b-schools over here and my current domain is IT infrastructure services…what can i choose as my specialization inE-MBA…

  23. Hello Sameer,

    I got admission for GPGCITM programme in IIM kozhikode. How do you rate this course? Is this course equivalent to Executive MBA?

    Sebin Davis

  24. I am currently working as software engineer in an IT company, as i am thinking of going for MBA so , which mba should i go, full time or executive one. Which type of colleges should be preferred for the EMBA.


  26. Hello Sameer,
    I am a electronics engineer. working with Infosys Limited for last 3.6 years. I completed my engineering in 2011.
    My academic grades have been consistently good. I want to move out of the software sector.

    What should I go for: Executive MBA(1 year full time) or Full time(2 yrs) course, given the fact that I’ll be able to start it ,at the earliest, from the next academic session [starting in 2016].

    And is it possible to go for a Ph.D later on, after having done an Executive MBA.

  27. Dear Sir,

    Currently am working as Traineee as Executive- Finance & Accounts for SWELECT Energy Systems Ltd. Am Confused whether to do full tIme MBA or Executive MBA.

  28. Good read. I was thinking to go for executive MBA, but my father suggested me to go for full time MBA. As it offers comprehensive job-placement opportunity and recruiters often recruit only among full-time students. Even I feel instead of doing anything part wise we should dedicate our full time to understand the whole subjects.

  29. @Abhishek & Piyush: Full-time would be a better idea.

    @Shruti: A 2-year MBA could give you a shot at internship. That’s a good way to get into your target industry. A PhD is also possible, but rare for someone with a commercially focused degree to pursue.

    @Aman: Your father has given you good advice.

  30. Hi
    i hd completed my grad ( bba) lst year nd tkn coaching fr apptitude exams bt unfortunately ds year i do hve sme personal prblms for whch i m thnkng to do a job fr 2 years lke tht nd afterwards to pursue EMBA . Is it a good decision or not nt plz hlp me out frm dis bcz i m really confused nd really scared abt my future goals .


  31. Hello Samir,

    First, I think you are doing a good job so big thumps-up for that. Now about me. I have completed my BE and having 12+ years of experience. Out of that 10+ in my current company and around 4 years in a managerial role. I started with Process engineer and is now Operations Manager of India office. What you would recommend to me? Full time MBA or EMBA. I have some financial liabilities and huge opportunity cost lost if I leave the job for full time MBA. On the other hand I want to change my functional role from Operations to Marketing & Strategy and take that ladder. Moreover, I will be very shortly relocating to Middle east. So if you suggest EMBA which US schools do you suggest? is it possible to do job in ME and do EMBA in US school and get a job in US?….Confusing for me..


  32. Hi Samir,
    I am undecided if I should go for FullTime or Executive MBA. Please advice
    I have done BTech in Computer Science and Masters in Computer Science in USA
    Have total 10years of work experience. I am a Project Manager now in one of the top companies.
    I want to do an MBA to- 1. Get more perspective and insights of an IT Organization 2. Grow up the ladder faster.
    I was planning to apply for an Executive MBA from ISB because of the location convenience, college/course ranking and ability to continue work/life without much interruption or change.
    Please advice what will be good for my requirement :
    1. Full time MBA or Executive MBA
    2. Also suggest top Executive MBA programmes.
    Thank you.

  33. Hi, I have completed my B.Com in 2015. I am working with one of the BPO’s as a TL for the past 3 years. I want to peruse my MBA, but need suggestions as to which would suit better. My qualifications are – 10th grade – 62%, 12th 64% and Degree – 60%.
    As i am about to change my career path, will a 2 year or 1 year MBA do good?

  34. @Sagar: EMBA might be a better option, given your financial liabilities. Here’s a list of the Best Executive MBA Programs. However, if you are moving to the Middle East, how will you attend Executive MBA programs in USA?

    @Arpita: Given your vertical growth aspirations (as opposed to a career change), an Executive MBA might work. Shared the list earlier.

    @Mohammed: A full-time 2-year MBA would be a good option, as it also includes an internship.

  35. Hi Sameer,

    I have 4.5 years of experience in IT industry. I want to pursue EMBA from SIMB Pune. But I am not sure if this programme can give me better growth in Future and if I can make different carrer options. Also needs to know the faculty and quality of knowledge provided in this programme.

    Can you please help me out in this.


  36. Hello samir,
    My age is 36. I have done in IT in 2001 and since then i am running my own family business of printing and now i want to do a job and leave my business so i am thinking of doing mba. so for which mba should i prepare for : regular or part time or executive mba or should i prepare for gmat exam. plz enlighten me


  37. Hello Sameer,
    My age is 42. I’m working with event management company as a manager operation last 15 years. I ‘m graduate from nagpur university in 2001 ( Bachelor in physical education). so i have no any degree or diploma in event management filed. so i want to apply in big shot company for the same post but they are not consider my resume i also want to try in abroad but still same problem. so in this situation what can we do for our growth?

    Best regards,
    Deepak jain

  38. Hi!
    I have recently graduated this year(2015) and working as financial analyst. Regarding my future prospects i wanna do MBA but Im unaware of the rules of the B schools. So can u please help me out.
    Actually 2 years from now i will be doing MBA.So i wanna know that will these 2 years experience count on admissions to B Schools(on CAT MAT CMAT basis of admissions)?
    Secondly according to you which is more good for me: MBA distance or MBA Full Time?

    Rupal Banerjee

  39. Hello sameer,
    I graduated in 2008 and now my age is 30 years. I want to pursue a full time MBA/PGDM course my MAT composite score is 510. I dont have any prior corporate experience. Is it a right decision. Post mba will my age create any problem for recruiters? Please help!

  40. Hi Sameer,

    I have 10 years of work ex in Admin & HR in MNC firm. I am at middle management level. I have Bcom & MBA degree with distance course. I could not attend regular college because of my financial & family problems. Now I am married and have 1 year old kid as well. I am 29 year old. I think now i can afford to do 1 year full time MBA course from Top 5 B-school in India. It will help enhance my opportunities in Corporate world.

    I need your advice on three points. 1) Will Bschoools consider my case since I have not done regular undergrad. 2) AM i eligible to appear for GMAT 3) Do i need to leave my job for preparation for GMAT

    It will be helpfull for me to get your advice on these points

    thanks and regards
    Minakshi Uniyal

  41. Hi,

    Do you have an article around the reverse topic – ‘ Why Exec MBA and not regular MBA?’. I am sure there is a reason why so many Exec MBA programs are coming up all over the globe. Would like to get your perspective on why (and probably more importantly, when?) someone should consider an Exec MBA?



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