Is an Executive MBA Worth It?

Some may ponder the question, is an Executive MBA worth it? Does the market value an Executive MBA the same as a full-time MBA or part-time MBA? Did I miss my window of opportunity? Why should I bother now? The answer to the initial question is yes, an Executive MBA is worth it for the right candidate. There are many myths about Executive MBA programs…I don’t have time, I’m too old, I’m too senior in my career, etc.

In the past, the difference between an Executive MBA program and other MBA programs or graduate business degrees was based on convenience and flexibility. Although Executive MBA programs offer various delivery formats to meet the needs of busy working students, with new technologies and multiple programs going online, flexibility is becoming a moot point. The significant difference between an Executive MBA and other MBA programs is the wealth of knowledge that students bring to classroom conversations and the type of engagement that students will share collectively due to the program’s focus on shaping the experience to meet their needs.

The Executive MBA (also known as the EMBA) is targeted to a more senior-level working professional. The conversations in the classroom and amongst cohort members is more seasoned due to the amount of work experience EMBA students naturally have.

Here are the primary differentiators between an MBA vs Executive MBA that you must consider to determine if an Executive MBA is worth it for you:

The EMBA Network 

Executive MBA programs have students in higher positions in their organizations. The individuals are more experienced executives and managers. The opportunity to learn from and collaborate with this caliber of a network is almost priceless. In addition, these students have greater access to C-suite leadership positions or are tracking to attain such levels. This is not the case in full-time or part-time MBA programs since the student population has less years of work experience. The network you build combined with the business knowledge and skills learned in the program, elevate your career impact significantly.

The Price  

Although Executive MBA programs can be more expensive, the all-inclusive “white-glove” treatment is a real benefit for a time constrained working professional. EMBA students have many amenities and services provided within the program. Time is not spent searching for books or thinking about the cost of food and other school-related items since most expenses are included in the tuition and program fees. Having a program office team that manages these necessities is extremely valuable for senior level working professionals. 

The Format 

Goizueta’s Executive MBA has two delivery formats for students to choose from. The on-campus EMBA option enables students to take classes every other weekend and the hybrid EMBA option allows students to have class on select weeknights and minimal weekends with 49% of the delivery being virtual and 51% of the delivery being in-person. These two EMBA format options are designed for students with demanding schedules that need to accommodate company travel, family commitments, and participation in other career-related activities. Albeit other programs are incorporating more flexibility and choice of delivery, the Executive MBA program delivery models are intentionally designed for students with complex lives.

The Cohort Size

Usually, full-time MBA and part-time MBA programs have larger class sizes than Executive MBA programs. The cohorts in Goizueta’s Executive MBA program are admitted to the program based on quality and not quantity. The cohort size is intentionally intimate to allow for enhanced networking and relationship building. This also enables for more personalized attention from EMBA faculty, program staff, and career coaches. Often times in evening and full-time programs, students struggle to know majority of their classmates.      

Business professionals should never stop learning and must be mindful of the leadership and business acumen gaps they need to improve. Executive MBA value comes in the form of the tools, flexibility, and support mechanisms to fulfill these needs while accommodating challenging life commitments.

So, is an Executive MBA worth it? For a seasoned professional looking to close skills gaps and continue to advance their career, yes it is.

Learn about the EMBA classes that will change your life.

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Jaclyn Conner, Ed.D.

Jaclyn Conner is the Associate Dean of Executive MBA Programs in the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. Throughout her career, she has provided oversight and governance for a portfolio of business programs and implemented curriculum development processes for in-person and online programs at top-tiered business schools, medical schools and with Fortune 500 companies such as IBM. In her current role, she oversees the student experience and delivery models for goal seeking executives who are committed to expanding their careers. Jaclyn received her education from Spelman College (BS) and Georgia Institute of Technology (MS), before earning her Doctorate of Education (EdD) at the University of Southern California. Her passion for improving learning experiences for adult learners is prevalent in her work.

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