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Executive MBA | Benefits, Careers & Jobs, Eligibility, Differences

Executive MBA

EMBA Benefits, Careers & Jobs, Eligibility, Interview, Rankings, Differences


MBA comes in various flavors, catering to the needs of those who seek it in their situation – time, experience, career demands, etc. What you get are full-time, part-time, distance, online, and executive MBA programs.

An Executive MBA program is meant for the seasoned professional with significant years of work experience. And, it is designed to ensure continuity of their career.

So, the Executive MBA (EMBA) is structured around weekends when these professionals can attend classes without having to disrupt their current employment.

The motivation for the EMBA is to enhance a student’s business knowledge within the purview of her current career track.

Those who go into an EMBA program as an experienced professional come out as experienced professionals with management, business, and leadership, training for bigger better roles within their previous industry.

What are the benefits of Executive MBA?

Here are some top benefits of getting into a reputed Executive MBA program.

  • Career boost
  • Promotion and salary hike
  • No career-break
  • High quality peer group and learning opportunity

Let’s look at each of these EMBA benefits in a little more detail.

Career boost

The one glaring benefit of joining an EMBA program is the ability to set ones’ career track on fast-forward. Candidates who join such programs are already well established in their organizations.

Typical EMBA student profiles span about 14 years of work experience with 9 years of managerial experience. They are usually over 35 years of age.

Their years of experience puts them at a significant advantage of knowing how they want to shape their career growth. An EMBA program fills those gaps needed to punt them onto senior executive and leadership roles.


Promotion and salary hike

Also, as has been well established from EMBA Council Student Exit Surveys (source), the most tangible benefit comes in salary boosts and promotions.

From the 2017 version of the EMBA student exit survey, conducted on graduates from primarily US b-schools, the following promising results were revealed.

  • Students reported about 14.1% increase in compensation from salary and bonuses after the program. The average salary and bonus rose from approximately $176,500 to $201,500 upon completion of the program.
  • 41% students claimed a promotion during the program
  • 52% reported increased responsibilities during the program


Career continuity

No career breaks are required to attain the degree. These programs are designed around weekends, spanning enough months for candidates to arrange their work around their class commitments.

This also means a steady flow of income added to the flexibility of the program.

High quality peer group and learning opportunity

The vast experience of EMBA students translates into a diverse and rich study environment. Its participants get a unique opportunity to share and learn from each other while growing valuable networks at the same time.

The varied backgrounds provide a fertile ground for learning and applying those learnings to the workplace at the same time.

Differences between Executive MBA vs Full-Time MBA

A Full-Time MBA differs from an Executive MBA in essentially these aspects – Target student profile and work experience, selectivity, class structure, cost, MBA experience, and the most significant of them all, post-MBA goals. Let us look at the table below for a quick contrast between the two.

  Executive MBA Regular Full-Time MBA
Target Student Profile Experienced professionals with ample work experience who are looking to develop their profile within the same organization or industry.
Average Age: ~38 years
Average Work Experience: ~14 years
Professionals with only a few years of work experience looking to enter business management roles or change their career track.
Average Age: ~28 years
Average Work Experience: 4-5 years
Admission Selectivity Not as competitive as a full-time MBA. Acceptance criteria is less stringent than a regular MBA. GMAT score averages are lower (Often substituted by an Executive Assessment with a good Executive Assessment (EA) Score). However, intake capacity is lower than MBA classes. Quite competitive. Top b-schools can have acceptance rates well below 10%. GMAT score averages among applicants are higher. However, enrollments can be in the hundreds depending on the school.
Class structure No career gaps during attainment of the EMBA degree.
Typically, 1-2 years long. Classes are held over weekends.
Being a full-time program, one cannot maintain employment simultaneously.
Full-Time classes span 1-2 years. Almost always residential.
Tuition Cost Tuition is high ~ $200k at top B-Schools. It is ~$90k at average B-Schools. Total tuition ~$80k for top B-Schools.
Learning Environment Not as immersive as a regular full-time program due to its part-time nature. Students don’t stay on campus or interact with each other on a daily basis. Residential programs. Rigorous curriculum focusing on a primarily peer to peer learning environment. Much more involved social and networking opportunities.
Post-degree Career Goals Not meant for a career change. Students continue on a ramped-up career track within the same organization or industry. Students are often required to furnish permissions from their employers for continuing with the program. Usually used for career change. Students from all sorts of backgrounds use MBA as a key to enter business management roles in various organizations.

EMBA graduates also often have the financial advantage of being sponsored by their companies for their degree. Thus, the presence of EMBA scholarships, fellowships, sponsorships, the possibility of employer sponsorships, and a steady flow of current income, can provide a serious relief from its high price tag.

However, EMBA’s dual nature of commitments – work plus school – can be quite taxing on its students from a workload perspective.

What are the Career & Job opportunities after Executive MBA?

Despite all the differences between a regular MBA and an EMBA, one cannot go back and stress enough on the most crucial of them all – Career Goals.

Older full-time MBA students, on the wrong side of 30 years, are not unheard of. EMBA helps in developing the theoretical background for those who are already well-versed with the practices.

If you are looking for that fully involved practical based classroom experience for your post-MBA career, then a regular MBA would still be the right choice irrespective of your age and prior work experience.
Thus, EMBA is NOT targeted at career changers. It is not meant for those who are starting out fresh. Mid-level professionals who have been around the job block for some years and are interested in ramping up their career graph are the best suited for this degree.

EMBA grads tend to get promoted, given more responsibilities, and are compensated more (far more than MBA grads) for their roles since their prior experience plays an important part in these considerations.

That is why most B-schools don’t even publish placement stats for EMBA grads as most of their career developments happen internally, within their former organizations.

Executive MBA salaries in USA, Canada, Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia

Best Executive MBA Programs in the world

We have referred to Financial Times and The Economist for some of the best EMBA programs across the globe. For details on methodologies, we’d suggest you visit the rankings pages here and here.

Also read Best Executive MBA Programs

Best EMBA Programs in USA

Business School Tuition (Approx.) Salary post EMBA (Approx.)
University of Pennsylvania Wharton $211,000 $250,000
University of Michigan Ross $174,000 $211,000 + Bonus
Duke University Fuqua $150,000 $222,000
Northwestern University Kellogg $214,000 $223,000 + Bonus
University of Chicago Booth $194,000 $267,000

These don’t cover other big names in the list of top b-schools out there in the US. But they do give you a snapshot of what the investment and outcome are like, for an EMBA from the famed American programs.

Interestingly though, premier schools like Stanford Graduate School of Business, Harvard Business School, and Dartmouth’s Tuck Business School, don’t have any Executive MBA programs at all. Hence their absence in these rankings.

Find out Why there’s no Harvard or Stanford EMBA

Best EMBA Programs in Canada

Business School Tuition (Approx.) Salary post EMBA (Approx.)
York University Schulich (with Northwestern’s Kellogg) $92,000 $140,000 + Bonus
Queen’s University Smith (with Cornell’s Johnson) $77,000 $189,000
University of Toronto Rotman $85,000 $145,000
Western University Ivey $86,000 $167,000
University of Ottawa Telfer $75,000 $117,000


Best EMBA Programs in Germany

Business School Tuition (Approx.) Salary post EMBA (Approx.)
WHU Beisheim (with Northwestern’s Kellogg) $94,000 $159,000 + Bonus
ESMT Berlin $64,000 $138,000 + Bonus
Mannheim Business School $55,000 $162,000 + Bonus
HHL Leipzig (with Spain’s EADA) $50,000 $85,300 + Bonus
Frankfurt School of Finance and Management $53,000 $148,000


Best EMBA Programs in United Kingdom

Business School Tuition (Approx.) Salary post EMBA (Approx.)
University of Oxford Saïd $106,300 $254,000
Warwick Business School $55,300 $170,300
University of Cambridge Judge $85,000 $228,200
Imperial College Business School $72,000 $162,000
London Business School $119,500 $243,300


Best EMBA Programs in India

Business School Tuition (Approx.) Salary post EMBA (Approx.)
ISB PGPPro $42,500 NA
ISB PGPMax $54,000 NA


It is important to understand the difference between an Executive MBA and MBA for Executives, in the Indian context. In India, the confusion comes about in the nomenclature where one is often mistaken for the other, given that both programs (EMBA and MBA for Executives) are aimed at working professionals. Hence, it is crucial to make the distinction.

Executive MBA (like ISB’s PGPPro and PGPMax) is for mid-career professionals structured in a part-time mode over weekends. MBA for Executives (like ISB’s PGP, IIM’s PGPX EPGP and PGPEX) are all full-time programs where applicants have a few years of work experience.

For more details, read Executive MBA vs MBA for Executives: The Indian confusion

What is the eligibility criteria for EMBA programs?

The most important criteria for almost all EMBA programs is the work experience and the accomplishments during those years in employment – management experience, leadership potential, learning attitude, motivation for the program, and career outlook, among others.

The hard selection factors like GMAT/GRE, or even the candidate’s academic record may not play a vital role. Many schools even waive the requirement of these standardized tests as long as the candidate can demonstrate proficiency in basic quantitative and analytic skills. The Executive Assessment (mini-GMAT) might be employed by some schools to evaluate a candidate’s MBA readiness.

Executive Assessment – Format, syllabus, fees and preparation

A lot of EMBA programs also require letters of support from employers. It is not a financial support commitment, but rather a permission for their employee to take time off for the EMBA class sessions. Other documentations include recommendations, resume, essays, and a TOEFL score for language proficiency.

Executive MBA interview

Many EMBA programs like Wharton, Michigan Ross, etc. encourage interested applicants to schedule interviews with the adcom at any time during the application process.

The intention of these interviews is as much to know about the candidate as it is for the candidate to learn more about the program.

Staff and EMBA alumni suggest that applicants should ask thoughtful questions whose responses are not readily available on the website. Adcoms view interviews as an opportunity to get to know the applicant in the context of the program.

– What kind of career journey did the applicant have?

– How did he get here?

– What are his accomplishments and where does he aspire to be in the future?
Besides these, there are some common interview questions that come up in executive MBA interviews.

  • Why EMBA?
  • Why EMBA now?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your career goals?

Read these articles for more interview insight.

How to write the “Why MBA” essay? and Tips to tackle the “Why MBA” question

Difficult MBA interview question and answer tips

What to expect at Situational or Behavioral Interviews?

MBA interview etiquette

Is an Executive MBA worth It?

EMBA is not for the faint hearted. The steep tuition aside, the balancing act of work and classes can put a serious strain on other things that might be important to your life – personal relationships, interests, and even your health.

MBA programs are rigorous. And joining an EMBA program may not be an excuse to lax away at work. Compromise and sacrifice have to be your mantra along the way, at least until you finally make the big leap towards post-EMBA success.

But at the same time, its flexibility and job security help you hit the ground running. Compared to a regular MBA, the simple promise (though not a guarantee) of professional success while being able to reap the benefits of a steady flow of income are excellent arguments in its favor.
Is an EMBA worth it?

Why choose regular full-time MBA and not Executive MBA?

Why Online EMBA and not full-time MBA?
Ultimately though, its worth is best realized from your situation in life and career. Focus on your “Why EMBA” question and career goals. Visit our blogs for student reviews.

Drop us a line at info [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com if you’d like professional help. We’ve got some of the best Executive MBA consultants to help you improve your chances of getting into the best EMBA programs in the world.
For more articles related to EMBA, check out our EMBA archive.