DEFINITION of 'Executive MBA - EMBA'

Executive MBA - EMBA is a Master of Business Administration program that specifically targets corporate executives and managers. The program enables them to study and work towards earning this business degree while continuing to hold their existing full-time jobs. EMBA students typically possess considerable work experience before entering the program.

BREAKING DOWN 'Executive MBA - EMBA'

An Executive MBA - EMBA program is made up of a mix of classroom teaching on evenings and weekends, online classes and tutorials and occasional full-day sessions. Equivalent to a full-time MBA program in scope and requirements, an EMBA program lasts up to 24 months. Intensive modular classes to reinforce expertise and fill knowledge gaps are primary motivators for executives to embark on this program. They engage in core coursework in finance and accounting, operations management, strategic management, marketing, human resources and other disciplines, and take specialized electives. Students come away with an enhanced skills base to advance their career prospects at their organizations, not to mention the credential of a master's degree and a new alumni network, which should never be underestimated in the working world. Since most of these executives are also working during the duration of the program, they are in a better position to apply the management techniques and best practices learned in the classroom to real-life situations, as compared to traditional MBAs who are in graduate school full-time.

There are numerous EMBA programs in the U.S. and abroad. Big names such as Wharton, University of Chicago and Columbia run EMBA programs, as do other prestigious business schools like Berkeley and Northwestern. As with the regular full-time programs, these universities have a competitive admissions process. The average number of years of work experience for an EMBA class is around 10-12 years, double that of a regular MBA class. An EMBA program can cost up to $200,000.

Is an Executive MBA Worth It?

An EMBA program is not cheap. Whether the executive is paying out of his or her own pocket or is being sponsored by a company, a basic return on investment calculation should be made. Aside from the cost, there is time consideration. Even though the executive is still working full-time and thus there is no monetary opportunity cost, there might be an opportunity cost to the executive if he or she cannot travel to close a deal, meet with a client to develop new business or stay late in the office to meet a pressing deadline if there is class to attend or homework to do. These must be part of the cost-benefit analysis of an EMBA program for the executive.

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