Which Program Is Right For You? MBA or EMBA
Difference Between Executive MBA and MBA Programs
What is an EMBA program?
An executive MBA program, also known as an EMBA program, is designed for students who are further along in their careers and want to continue working full-time while in school. Schedules vary among programs, but most offer part-time formats like weekend classes. At Wharton, EMBA students earn the same MBA degree as full-time MBA students.
Comparatively, full-time Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) programs are full-time academic programs for students with fewer years of work experience. Instead of completing a degree in addition to working full-time like EMBA students, MBA students leave their jobs to attend school, have the summer off between the first and second year of the program to participate in internships, and usually have access to on-campus recruiting services for permanent post-graduate positions.
Same Degree, Different Logistics
Wharton offers the same MBA degree in two formats: the traditional, full-time MBA in Philadelphia, or the Executive MBA in either San Francisco, Philadelphia, or via our Global format. 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.
The comparison tables below detail how the two programs are delivered.
|CURRICULUM||MBA PROGRAM||MBA PROGRAM FOR EXECUTIVES|
|Total Credit Units||19.0 credit units||19.0 credit units|
|Core Curriculum||9.5 credit units||10.0 credit units|
|Major||Usually 4.0 in addition to the Core.||Not required.|
|Electives||5.5 credit units||9.0 credit units |
Students vote to determine the electives that will be offered for their second year. Second-year students can take electives on either or both San Francisco and Philadelphia, as well as in the Global format.
|Majors and Program Customization||Students have a choice from 19 majors. Approximately 40% of students complete their degree with a dual major.||Students may pursue a formal major, but it is not required. Elective requirements are increased to offer more individualized study options.|
|International Experience||Students can take part in dual-degree programs, study abroad options, Global Modular Courses, and a Global Immersion Program.||A one week international trip (Global Business Week) is required. Students in the Global cohort also attend two required Global Modular Courses, which are optional for San Francisco and Philadelphia students.|
Differences in Curriculum
Students in both the full-time MBA and EMBA programs earn a total of 19 credit units, however, EMBA students are not required to select a major. Executive MBA students vote to determine the electives that will be offered in their second year and they can choose to take electives on the opposite coast for a course or for an entire term. With the largest electives offerings of any EMBA program, Wharton executive MBA students can customize their education to meet their professional interests and goals. To enhance their learning, EMBA students are required to participate in one of four Global Business Week experiences; a required one-week international trip. Students in the Global Cohort also attend two required Global Modular Courses (optional for Philadelphia and San Francisco students) led by Wharton faculty around the world.
High Admission Standards
|ADMITTED STUDENTS||MBA PROGRAM||MBA PROGRAM FOR EXECUTIVES|
|Entering Class Size||864||300 (Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Global total)|
|Middle 80% GMAT Range||570-760||680-750|
|Average Work Experience||4 years||12 years|
Differences in Requirements
Wharton’s full-time MBA and EMBA programs share the same high standards for admission. Both programs require applicants to submit results of a Graduate Management Test (GMAT) or a Graduate Record Examination (GRE), however the EMBA program also accepts results of the Executive Assessment (EA) for applicants with at least 8 years of full-time work experience. Accepted students in the full-time program bring an average of four years of work experience, while students in the EMBA program have an average of 12 years of work experience.
Convenient Schedule for Working Professionals
|SCHEDULE||MBA PROGRAM||MBA PROGRAM FOR EXECUTIVES (Philadelphia & San Francisco)||MBA Program for Executives (Global)|
|Length||20 months, including a 3.5 month summer internship (recommended)||24 months||22 months|
|Class Session Length||Year 1: August – May||Year 1: May – May||Year 1: May – May|
|Year 2: September – May||Year 2: June – May||Year 2: June – March|
|Weekly Schedule||Monday – Thursday||Alternate Friday/Saturday weekends with several extended sessions, plus a one-week orientation in Philadelphia, a one-week international trip (Global Business Week) and a one-week marketing course in San Francisco.||Alternate weekend virtual class sessions with several required in-person class sessions including a one-week orientation in Philadelphia, Global Business Week, and two Global Modular Courses.|
Differences in Program Format
The 20-month full-time MBA Program runs Monday through Thursday, with the summer off between the first and second year for internships. The Executive MBA Program is designed for working professionals with options in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and via a Global format. For students in the San Francisco and Philadelphia cohort, the program runs in San Francisco and Philadelphia on alternate Friday/Saturday weekends over 24 months, with several extended sessions, including a one-week orientation class session in Philadelphia, a one-week international trip (Global Business Week) and a one-week marketing course in San Francisco. For students in the Global cohort, the program runs on alternate weekends over 22 months through virtual class sessions, supplemented by several required in-person class sessions including a one-week orientation class session in Philadelphia, a one-week international trip (Global Business Week), and two required Global Modular Courses.
Program Logistics: Philadelphia and San Francisco
|LOGISTICS||MBA PROGRAM||MBA PROGRAM FOR EXECUTIVES|
|Tuition and Budget||$169,748— tuition only ($237,136— estimated total budget for two years)||$223,500 for two years|
|Housing and Meals||Housing and meals are not included in the tuition.||Tuition includes fees, most materials, and program-related housing and meals. Transportation, airfare for Global Business Week, and parking are not included.|
|Career Advancement||Students have access to on-campus recruiting services for summer internships and permanent positions. They also have access to MBA Career Management.||Students have access to career coaching, workshops, and resources through the dedicated MBA Executive Career Advancement Team. Internships are not permitted and only eligible students are permitted to participate in MBA on-campus recruiting.|
|Company Support/Sponsorship||There are no requirements or formal programs for sponsorship, although some companies do sponsor students.||An endorsement from students’ employers is required for time away from work. Financial support from the employer is required for Fellows applicants.|
|Campus Locations||Philadelphia, with one semester available in San Francisco by application||Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Global|
Differences in Cost
The cost of the two-year Wharton EMBA Program is $223,500 (for the class entering in 2023). This includes tuition, student fees, course materials, housing and meals on class weekends, a case study room, and housing and ground transportation for Global Business Week and the required Global Modular Courses. As this program is designed for working professionals, the program handles most of the logistics, such as hotel reservations and the provision of meals and course materials. Room and board for all required class days is provided at the Steinberg Conference Center or the Inn at Penn in Philadelphia, the Le Meridien Hotel in San Francisco, and comparable facilities in other locations around the globe. For the EMBA Program’s residential components, students are required to stay at the hotel and fully immerse themselves in the experience, regardless of where they live.
The full-time Wharton MBA Program costs $167,748 for two years. Housing and meals are not included in tuition. The estimated total budget is $237,136, including room and board, books and supplies, and other expenses. Students are responsible for their own housing, meals, and course materials.
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Choose Your Executive MBA Journey
Earn the same Wharton MBA degree as full-time students while you work. Talented professionals may join our Philadelphia, San Francisco, or our new Global cohort.
Embrace the classic Ivy League experience when you travel to the University of Pennsylvania’s iconic campus.
Travel to Wharton’s West Coast campus, strategically located in San Francisco's Embarcadero neighborhood
Designed for remote study using state-of-the-art technology that allows you to learn, thrive, and build community regardless of where you’re based.
Same MBA Degree, Same Global Network
Compare the MBA Program for Executives to the Full-time MBA
Same MBA Degree, Same Global Network
Compare the MBA Program for Executives to the Full-time MBA
For Applying Students
We’ve gathered everything you need for a seamless application process, including:
Application Deadlines and Timeline
What You Need to Apply
Managing the Application Process
Apply or Check Your Application Status
A Survival Guide For Your First Term in Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives
For California Students
Please read information from the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE)
Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to all of your questions for an Executive MBA at Wharton.
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