There are several well-known universities across the world today which offer accredited programs in MBA as well as EMBA. However, aspiring students are mostly unaware of the difference between the two. Contrary to common misconception, EMBA is not any superior form of MBA study. In fact, the two are pretty much equal in terms of value of the degree and achievement on graduation, only they are delivered in entirely different ways.
Executive MBA or EMBA is a Master of Business Administration program that is specifically for corporate executives and managers. Through this program, they are able to study and work towards earning a valued business degree even while continuing with their existing full-time jobs. This means that students may opt for either MBA or EMBA depending mainly on their current circumstances.
All full-time MBA applicants essentially look for an immediate career change or broader experience for career advancement through this program. But there are differences, apart from the age, work experience and matured levels of cognisance that set EMBA applicants apart from their regular MBA counterparts.
An Executive MBA program is made up of a combination of online classes and tutorials, classroom teaching on evenings and weekends besides full-day sessions once in a while. The curriculum of an EMBA program is much like that of full-time MBA courses in terms of scope, requirements and duration of the course. It is the intensive modular classes to strengthen expertise and fill knowledge gaps which act as the primary motivators for working executives to enrol for this program. EMBA students are expected to complete core coursework in strategic management, operations management, marketing, human resources, accounting, finance and other disciplines, apart from specialised electives.
On completing their program, students of EMBA come away with an enhanced skills base which can propel their career-graph to new heights, not to mention the credentials and new alumni networks that come with earning a master’s degree, the importance of which can hardly be underestimated in the working world. Many of the top management colleges in India, including the IILM in New Delhi, offer this program of study. Since most of its students are also working full-time while pursuing the program, they are in a much stronger position to apply the management skills and best practices learned in the classroom to practical situations at the workplace, as compared to traditional MBA students who are in graduate school full-time.
It is pertinent to note here that an EMBA program is not inexpensive. Therefore, irrespective of whether the executive is paying the course fees out of their own pocket or being sponsored by a company, a basic calculation of expected return on investment should be made. Apart from the cost, there is the time consideration too. Even if the executive is working full-time and there is no opportunity cost involved in terms of money, there could be an opportunity cost if they are unable to undertake travel to close a deal, meet a client to develop new business or stay late in the office to meet a pressing deadline as they would be busy with their coursework and assignments. An executive has to consider all these factors in order to make a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of enrolling for an EMBA program.