Parallel Paths: Wharton Alumnus Chose Executive MBA Format while his Wife Chose the Full-Time Program

After graduating from college, Jon Silvon got a job in marketing at Campbell’s Soup Company. While an MBA degree was usually required to attain the title of associate brand manager, Silvon was able to move into that position without one based on his years of experience at the company. However, to continue moving up the management chain – and to compete with others in his field – he knew that eventually he would need an MBA.

Rather than wait a few more years, he decided it was time to go back to school. The big question was whether to leave his job to become a full-time student or attend an executive MBA program. Being 26-years-old at the time, he was closer in age to most full-time students, including his wife who had recently begun Wharton’s full-time MBA program.

On the other hand, he had already moved up to a fairly senior role at his company and didn’t want to take time out of his career. And if he could get sponsored by his company to attend Wharton’s executive MBA program, not only could he continue earning his salary for two years, he might even progress faster.

He ultimately chose to apply to Wharton’s executive MBA program in Philadelphia. Given that he had less work experience than most EMBA students, he was accepted into the program as a “Fellows.” Students in this category are sponsored by their employers and demonstrate outstanding promise for advancement in a managerial career.

During the program, Silvon took many of the same classes from the same professors as his wife. “I’m probably one of the few people who can prove that the full-time and executive MBA programs literally have the same curriculum.  It was not unusual for me to receive study guides from professors that had been given to my wife’s class as tests the year before,” he says. “The big difference for EMBA students was that we could immediately translate the class materials to our jobs.”

He adds that the network of students in the executive MBA class was a significant difference as well. “Because the average age of EMBA students is six or seven years above the average full-time student, we literally had industry experts in every class,” he says.

Silvon says that while the full-time program was the right format for his wife, who was seeking to increase her career potential to move into the consumer products field, the executive MBA format was “definitely” the right choice for him. “There were different things in our careers that led us to different MBA paths,” he says.

Silvon now works for Tasty Baking Company. Since graduating from Wharton, he has advanced from marketing director to vice president of marketing. “Both programs meet a need for students. The full-time program allows students to do summer internships and focus on career planning. In Wharton’s EMBA program, I was able to polish my skills while advancing my career.”