The Executive Masters of Business Administration (EMBA) is a version of the MBA that is designed specifically for executives, managers, and high-ranking, highly-experienced business professionals. It is a short experience, usually done part-time, and is specifically designed for those who are working and do not have time to dedicate solely to studying. It is a highly desirable program usually used to help advance an executive’s career, help them as leaders, or even help them transition into other fields.

1. What is the EMBA?

EMBA was first introduced in 1943 at the University of Chicago, 35 years after the first MBA programs. In the midst of World War II, this was a step that helped bolster and further American business. Designed for educating managers with significant work experience, the earliest students were usually in their 40s or 50s with many years of business experience but very little formal business education. Today there are over 300 EMBA programs all across the globe. 

2. Differences From the MBA

The purpose of the EMBA was to further education to those who were either leaders in their companies or those who wanted to climb up the ladder. The average EMBA candidate has about 10 to 15 years of experience, while an MBA candidate has 3 to 5 years. EMBA programs are generally pursued part-time, while an MBA is more often a full-time undertaking. MBAs offer more traditional and immersive student experiences, while EMBAs consist of intensive short-term classes that business professionals who have little to no time can fit into their schedules. Some EMBA programs accept GMAT scores for admission, but for the most part, the GMAT is used for MBA programs. The EA (Executive Assessment) is a specialized version of the GMAT designed specifically for EMBA programs. 

The EA is a short version of the GMAT designed to be a quicker much shorter version of the exam. It is designed for the busy executives who go into EMBA programs and are short of time. Its sections are shorter both in the number of questions and in the time limits. It also lacks an analytical writing assessment (AWA) section.

3. EMBA Courses 

An EMBA course load is broken up into core classes and electives. Core classes usually focus on developing leadership, management, and business skills. They can cover fields like accounting, economics, and business ethics. In comparison, elective courses are in line with one’s own interests. Topics like entrepreneurship and asset management can be covered in these elective courses. The EMBA courses are a fantastic way to gain more in-depth knowledge or remind yourself of your fields of interest. 

4. Different Types of EMBA Programs

There are three types of EMBA programs – a traditional EMBA, an Online EMBA, and a Specialist EMBA. 

  • Traditional EMBA: This is a part-time program in which courses are offered in the evenings or on the weekend, or will have very intensive short-term course periods (about two weeks). Class sizes are usually small and can have a hybrid online and in-person approach. These classes focus on building communication and management skills. 

Top 5 Traditional EMBA Programs

1. HEC Paris
2. University of Chicago Booth School of Business
3. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
4. IESE Business School
5. MIT Sloan School of Business

  • Online EMBA: Online EMBAs are hyper-flexible and can be taken by students all over the world – some of them offer hybrid class options. Online EMBAs are a great choice for someone who may not have access to quality in-person classes or does not have enough time to commute.

Top 5 Online EMBA Programs 

1. Duke University Fuqua School of Business
2. University of Virginia Darden School of Business
3. Swiss School of Business and Management Geneva
4. IE Business School
5. UCLA Anderson School of Business 

  • Specialist EMBA: These are EMBA programs that may have a specific concentration on one area. Sustainability, international business, or even STEM concentrated programs are available. 

5. Personal Attention and Global Emphasis 

Something that differs between a normal MBA and an EMBA is that the latter is more personal. There are only so many executives in the world, and with programs being so expensive these programs are small and so each person gets a much higher degree of individual attention. EMBA programs commonly have one-to-one sessions. They also offer catering, travel and lodging packages. 

Some EMBA programs even have global options, in which students can spend time abroad during the program. Or these EMBA programs will bring in professionals from around the world and can provide programs in which EMBA students interact with other EMBA students transnationally. These interactions can serve as networking opportunities.

6. EMBA Return on Investment  

You may be wondering how valuable the EMBA is. Can it really change your career and job outcomes? Yes, it can. The EMBA on average costs about $80,000 dollars a year, with some of the most prestigious EMBA programs costing upwards of $120,000 dollars. Obviously, these programs are extremely expensive, but many companies will sponsor employees to earn an EMBA and, if they don’t, scholarship opportunities for EMBA programs are plentiful. 

The cost may even be worth it as on average EMBA graduates from the top 100 schools saw their salary increase by 57% three years after graduating, with an average 14% increase in salary immediately after graduating. And according to EMBAC (Executive MBA Council) after graduating 39% of EMBA students receive a promotion.

In Review 

The EMBA is a great way to help push your career further. With a variety of courses catering to the interests of business professionals, it can help further one’s own knowledge in a field they may not be familiar with. Though for many EMBA programs either an EA or GMAT score is needed for admission. Here at Apex, we have world-class tutors that can help you get into your desired EMBA program. Learn more now by scheduling a complimentary call with our tutors.


Contributor: Lukas Duncan