Choosing An Executive MBA Program That’s Right for You
If you want to earn an MBA without disrupting your career, an Executive MBA program may be a good fit. However, not all Executive MBA programs are alike. There is a lot of variability when it comes to schedules, content delivery, curriculum offerings, and rigor. The key is finding an Executive MBA program that is the right fit for you. Ultimately, students must find a program that best meets their needs and situation based on a number of factors.
One of the most important factors in considering EMBA programs is rigor. Not all programs offer the equivalent of a full-time MBA, so you’ll want to consider if it’s worth the investment of time and money. Important factors when evaluating programs include:
- Core classes – Do EMBA and full-time MBA students have the same class requirements for graduation?
- Electives – How many electives are offered to EMBA students?
- Format- Does the program require students to stay over on class weekends or is it a commuter program for local students?
- Degree – Do EMBA students earn the school’s full MBA degree?
Wharton offers the same MBA degree in two formats: the traditional, full-time MBA in Philadelphia, or the with one of Wharton’s Executive MBA cohorts based in San Francisco, Philadelphia, or with the Global cohort. Both programs require the same high admissions standards, follow the same rigorous curriculum, and confer the same Wharton MBA degree. The delivery and structure of the programs differ to meet the needs of different student types.
Research Admissions Requirements
Another significant factor to evaluate is the competitiveness of EMBA programs. You can get a sense of this by looking at admissions requirements, such as:
- Standardized tests- Does the program require a standardized test like the GMAT, GRE or Executive Assessment?
- How many years of work experience do most students bring to the program?
- How is past academic performance considered?
- Is management experience required?
- Are students required to continue working full-time in the program?
- How many students hold post-graduate degrees?
- Where do students come from? Is this a local program, or are students coming from around the country, or the world?
Look at multiple programs to get a better idea of what is commonly required and where you should apply based on your experience and test scores.
Tuition will certainly be a large consideration when looking at EMBA programs. Look at what the tuition includes, the length of the program, and how that compares across programs. Many Executive MBA students seek financial sponsorship from their employer. While some employers have formal tuition reimbursement programs, others may be willing to pay for a portion of tuition in addition to any time off required to attend an EMBA program. In addition, consider options such as loans and scholarships that may be available.
Choose A Program That Will Help You Reach Your Career Goals
Consider your career goals when looking at EMBA programs. It’s important to think about if the curriculum can help you achieve those goals as well as open up new opportunities. For example, if you seek to start a business, look at the entrepreneurship classes and programs offered to students. If you want to transition into a new field, look at the courses offered and the alumni network in that area. Choose a school that can propel you to your goal.
When you look at EMBA programs, consider who is teaching the executive MBA students. Does the school bring in lecturers or junior faculty? Or do the same professors who teach the full-time MBA students teach EMBA students? Make sure that you are learning from top faculty who can help ensure you achieve your career goals.
Here are just a few of the world-renowned faculty teaching in Wharton’s EMBA program:
- Vice Dean (EMBA) Peggy Bishop Lane
- Marketing Prof. Peter Fader
- Vice Dean (Social Impact Initiative) Katherine Klein
- Management Prof. Peter Cappelli
- Economics Prof. Kent Smetters
Look Into Career Services
Whether you hope to move up in your organization or transition to something new, you’ll want to check out an EMBA program’s career resources. Look at the level of career coaching offered to students as well as the types of career programming available. Are those resources offered beyond graduation?
Wharton takes a holistic approach to career management, offering EMBA students individual career coaching throughout their careers. The focus isn’t on the next job, but rather on career trajectories over the long term.
Talk to EMBA Students
Finally, make sure to talk to current students and alumni. Attending one of our events is a great way to connect with the Wharton EMBA community. Look at your network to see if anyone has completed an EMBA program. When you get further into your search and visit campuses, attend classes and have lunch with students. Ask students what the program is really like. Try to get a sense of the learning environment and community. Ultimately, the most important factor is whether a program is the right fit for you.