The Executive MBA

If you’re thinking about not stepping away from your career to get an MBA, your options have expanded over the years into roughly three options, the part-time MBA, the online MBA, and the executive MBA.  The latter is the pickiest from an admissions standpoint, but might be the ideal option for the right person.

Executive MBA programs are designed for busy career professionals who have solid management experience and have logged a fair number of years in the marketplace.  Like full-time programs, there are no set rules for application, with standards varying from program to program.  While conventional wisdom points towards having ten years or more of progressively responsible work experience, most top-level EMBA programs look at the quality of overall experience over the quantity.  Full time programs can better use number of years as a measure of potential value in the classroom, but when you get beyond the five-year mark, your impact in the marketplace varies widely. 

It’s impact that impresses the EMBA admissions team.

The key question to ask yourself if you are trying to decide if you are worthy of EMBA consideration, therefore, is would your experience be valuable to other high-level managers?  This question requires careful consideration because even people who have made significant impact in their careers, it might not have been translatable and therefore, may not be interesting or of use to other markets or industries.  The higher up you move on the career ladder, the more generally your leadership can be applied.  Lower-level jobs and even mid-level management jobs can often be job-specific and niche.  It’s that next level of management that becomes more broadly applicable and subsequently, more useful in the discussions taking place in an EMBA class. 

If you’re still vexing over your qualifications, you may want to reach out to your network and ask what others think. 

We can also give you an opinion of your profile on whether it would be attractive to an EMBA adcom.  But qualifications are only half the story.  Paying for the program is also an important consideration, and programs will require evidence of your ability to afford the high tuition.  Fewer companies are sponsoring employees these days, and fellowship/scholarship offers for EMBA students are few and far between.  One final consideration is whether or not you can receive the blessing of your company to attend a program. 

Even though EBMA programs are considered part-time, they often require Friday participation and in the end, take up considerable amounts of “off” time that many high level executives would otherwise be putting into their companies even if it’s outside of the traditional work week.  Many programs require a letter from your boss or company to certify their support of your undertaking the program.  EMBA programs will not allow you to skip classes or wane at all in your participation—it’s all-in, or no-go, so make sure your employer is on board before you waste time applying.

To find out more about your options and how we can guide your business school application process, email us at or contact us via