Choosing an MBA program – how to CLARIFY your priorities
Course: EMBA Executive MBA programs
This is a detailed look at one of the first elements of our unique CLARIFY headings, enabling you to focus exclusively on MBA program that meet all your personal needs!
In outlining the types of MBA program available, we consider elsewhere the relative merits of generalised MBA or MBA specialism, full-time MBA or part-time MBA.
What is the Executive MBA?
Designed specifically for working professionals with significant experience, the Executive MBA or EMBA is much more than just one type of part-time MBA program. EMBA students may be sponsored both financially and through release time by their employing organisations, and continue to work full-time while enrolled on the program. While courses vary, many EMBAs are built around a series of short modules and may not take much longer to complete than the full-time MBA.
A powerful feature of a typical EMBA program is the collective professional experience of its participants. This greatly enriches the educational environment, and a team approach is often used on projects that encourage the sharing of diverse perspectives on specific topics.
How will I benefit from an EMBA?
While we cannot predict exactly what your personal experience will be, we can confirm that former students report extremely high levels of satisfaction with EMBA program. On one level, they talk about the experience as life-changing: one that changes the way they think about leadership, global business, problem solving, and team building. The broader perspective that they gain helps them improve their effectiveness as managers and leaders.
When considering program, check very carefully the professional networking opportunities built into the modules. You should be given every chance to meet fellow professionals from diverse businesses and to work side-by-side with them during the program. It’s not by chance that students learn from other students - it’s woven by design into the very fabric of the program.
On a more specific level, students say that they are often able to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it immediately to their current job. Other direct, practical benefits include:
- Increased confidence and motivation
- Ability to identify and apply best practice
- Improved critical thinking skills
- Clear understanding of the theory behind best practice
- Greater ability to lead a team and to work within a team
- Enhanced communication skills
- Incisive and durable competitive edge
You might also reasonably expect a significant salary increase. Many different surveys compare entry salaries with exit salaries, and report overall increases of 20 to 25 per cent.
The greatest overall benefit is that the EMBA is a powerful credential, well recognised by leading organisations around the world. It can help open doors for you because organisations understand its role in enhancing your leadership and strategic thinking skills in a fiercely competitive global environment.
How much do I need to invest?
EMBA tuition fees vary considerably, ranging from around $50,000 to $180,000 or more. In fact, the cost of a traditional full-time MBA is not significantly greater than that of the part-time EMBA, especially when you add on travel expenses, residential accommodation and other incidentals commonly associated with EMBA program. Factor in costs for GMAT test preparation, testing fees and business school application fees, and the costs continue to mount up.
On the positive side, you stay in your current job, with no need to calculate loss of earnings, and you may be able to persuade your employer to meet anything from some to all of the costs.
Before the global recession of 2009, many employers sponsored staff on EMBA program, being well aware of the major benefits they could receive from having an employee with improved managerial and leadership skills, not to mention the reinforced loyalty of sponsored EMBA participants. The practice has declined dramatically in the current economic climate, although it is by no means extinct and is still worth investigating.
According to the Executive MBA Council, there is now a growing number of students paying their own way, with the proportion of students self-financing their studies increasing from 25% in 2003 to 34% in 2009. Meanwhile, the number of companies offering students full reimbursement in 2009 was 32%, down from 37% in 2005. Even if you decide to finance yourself, you must talk to your employer about what is involved. Your business school will normally still expect, at the very least, to see your organisation supporting you by allowing you to take time out for study and by recognising the additional workload you face during the EMBA.
The positive news here is, as we have noted above, that a salary increase is virtually guaranteed on completion of your EMBA. The most recent Executive MBA Council report shows students quoting an average salary increase of 23% after graduation. Equally interesting is the fact that the report shows the actual payback period for an EMBA has been reduced from 23 to 17 months over the past year, despite average program costs rising from $53,180 in 2005 to $63,420 in 2009.
You may find that your chosen school provides assistance on how best to present to your employer your case for sponsorship. See also our separate feature enumerating the top 10 advantages of the EMBA program to your organisation. In broad terms, you should be entitled to anticipate a high return on your initial investment, getting back far more than you put in. This is true, whether you measure the benefits purely in terms of financial gain or of personal and professional development.
Do bear in mind, however, that even with the brightest EMBA graduates are not immune from the realities of the workplace and the global economy. You may find that current market conditions are just too restrictive in terms of career opportunities and personal development. It is important to remember that no recession lasts forever, that growth will return and that you should not let a temporary downturn prevent you from achieving what you desire.
Don’t stop now…
We have considered here some of the key issues in determining whether the EMBA is the right program for you. Continue to CLARIFY your EMBA objectives by working through all the CLARIFY links to identify the best routes to achieving your EMBA:
You can proceed in any order you like and take as long as you need to explore each area thoroughly.
- Why do an MBA?
- Recent years have witnessed a rapid growth in the UK and international MBA market, with an increasing demand for training in what is now routinely accepted as the premier graduate qualification in the world.
- Distance Learning MBA, Full Time Programmes at all Levels
- Distance Learning MBA. There are various approaches to learning. Full time programmes at all levels require a career break of some sort. This may be acceptable especially for short courses or where you get leave of absence but you also have to consider access, location, timing, the quality of the group and of the deliverer. Local courses may be of restricted quality and you may not be able to afford overseas courses.
- Online MBA programs
- The online MBA is a relatively new development and as such there are very few business schools that are offering an MBA program entirely online. Many online programs still require students to attend mandatory residential courses as part of their syllabus. The length and frequency of these "contact" sessions vary depending on the school and program.
- MBA Rankings, Are a Great Way for Perspective Students to Select
- MBA Rankings. MBA rankings are a great way for perspective students to select between the best business programs offered at reputable universities. With future students in mind four main sources, The Financial Times, Business Week and The Economist publish a list of universities that offer the best program to earn a Master's in Business Administration. Taking the MBA rankings into account, perspective students will have a general idea of the status and value of their future degree in the business world. When selecting a school students should be aware of these rankings, even though they are debatable since they are seen by so many hiring companies.
- MBA Rankings, Business Week and U.S. News & World Report
- MBA Rankings. The ranking of business schools has been a controversial subject for a number of years. It is only recently, however, that they have become popular with the press, publicized and generally accepted. As a matter of fact, one of the principal reasons for the rankings has been the ability of the articles to boost the circulation of the magazines.
- Full-time MBA
- A global MBA with an Asia Pacific focus. Students can choose an Asia specific track such as China, Japan or Vietnam. Hawaiiâ€™s only AACSB accredited MBA program. The cohort format fosters teamwork and peer learning
- Full-time MBA
- The Full-time MBA is an intensive one year programme, which offers a rigorous and challenging process of personal and management development.
- Part-time MBA
- The Part-time MBA is a 3 year part-time programme, designed for those working in a wide variety of managerial, technical and professional roles.