Executive MBA programs are a compelling choice for those considering an MBA. They offer the opportunity for students to enhance their career profile and leadership abilities while working full-time. Here are some of the ways an executive MBA is similar – and different – from other MBA programs.
See our ranking of the Top 30 Best Executive MBA Online Programs.
The Application Is Similar
The application is generally the same as the one for traditional MBAs and includes an interview for invited candidates. A GMAT or GRE score is typically required as part of the application. GMAT and GRE scores last for five years, so scores are still valid if the test was taken recently. Business schools do not typically look at scores that are older than five years.
Business school application questions look for students to identify what they will bring to the MBA, and what they believe the MBA will offer them. Schools typically look for strong leadership abilities and creative thinking. Executive MBA programs, in particular, look for demonstrated managerial experience, regardless of what field the applicant is coming from.
Students Work Full-Time
Business schools now provide programs for aspiring entrepreneurs, but many business school graduates aren't actually starting new businesses, as Quartz reported in 2017. An executive business degree may be a more attractive alternative to more traditional business programs. It allows the freedom for students to stretch and grow while at work, rather than postponing the job search or putting their career on hold to go through a two-year program.
Executive business degrees are short but intense programs. Many last just under two years and cover a lot of ground in that time. Many programs now also include an international trip or time in the field at a foreign organization as a reflection of the global nature of business today. Students learn in classroom workshops, team exercises, and simulations. The final project for the program is often a team capstone that students develop together.
Executive business programs are collaborative, multidisciplinary, and a networking opportunity: business schools seek to develop teamwork among their students. The class profile at many business schools is no longer centered around people with a background in finance. Other fields, such as biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, are increasingly represented.
Scheduling is Flexible
These MBA programs are designed with the busy professional in mind. At some schools, classes meet on Fridays and Saturdays every other week, or in the evenings. The location can be flexible in addition to the schedule: some business schools offer more than one campus around the world. Students can choose to take classes at one or several of the locations offered. Most business schools require at least one "residence week" at the campus to give students the opportunity to meet with one another and their professors in person.
This type of program can help students fill gaps in their professional knowledge and advance their careers. Some students who have completed this type of business degree look for a promotion at their current job after finishing the program or seek other opportunities elsewhere.