What is the difference between an EMBA and an MBA?

There are hundreds of accredited EMBA and MBA programs offered worldwide, but many aspiring students don’t understand the difference between an EMBA and an MBA. The Executive Master of Business Administration, or EMBA, is commonly thought to be a higher form of MBA study, but both degrees are fairly equal in terms of value after graduation. Whether a student pursues an EMBA or MBA mainly depends on their circumstances. Whereas EMBA applicants are typically older and possess more experience, MBA applicants are generally looking for a more diverse experience to advance their careers or seeking a means to obtain a position in a new career or industry. The following are several other ways these two degrees differ.

Duration and Pace

Although the length of the degree programs vary depending on the school, both programs tend to last approximately two years. However, EMBA study is part-time, on weekends and evenings, and students generally stay in their current careers on a full-time basis while they learn. Most, if not all, of the coursework is completed online, and EMBA students tend to learn at a more intense pace in order to minimize distractions from family or work. On the other hand, MBA students often have intensive schedules that make it difficult for students to hold an employment position outside the program. Although the curriculum is the same, the EMBA program offers fewer electives, while MBA students develop specialized skills and knowledge in a number of diverse topics.

Application Requirements

EMBA degree programs are typically designed for working professionals with 10 to 15 years of experience in the field. Admission teams look for diverse work experience and a professional background, and the school assumes applicants will already have business knowledge that they’ve learned and developed over the years. In addition, EMBA applicants are not usually required to sit and pass an entry exam, although prospective students without a baccalaureate degree may need to provide a satisfactory GMAT score. On the other hand, full-time MBA degree applicants must submit passing GMAT scores and essays. Most schools require a minimum score of 600, and some top institutions require applicants a score of 700 or above. Although management experience can give an MBA applicant an advantage, most schools require prospective students to have up to three years’ proven work experience.

Lifestyle

When choosing between an EMBA and an MBA, it’s important to consider the lifestyle associated with each degree. If you are looking for a more immersive student experience, you may be better suited for an MBA. Living on or near campus can open doors to extracurricular activities such as student-run events, conferences, sporting events and a variety of clubs. On the other hand, for EMBA students, the emphasis is on networking within a smaller group of people with less interaction with the greater student body. Although relationships are not generally as intense compared to those within an MBA degree program, formal and informal networking is critical to the EMBA experience and is beneficial for a student’s future career.

Regardless of the degree path you choose, it is important to pursue your degree from an accredited institution. When trying to determine the difference between an EMBA and an MBA program, it is important to take a number of factors into consideration, including the duration and pace of each program, the application requirements of each program as well as the school to which you are considering applying and the lifestyle and networking options associated with each program.

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