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Career Advice

The Difference: MBA vs. EMBA

There comes a time in every entrepreneur’s career when the next logical step is pursuing an MBA (master of business administration) degree. However, depending on where exactly you are in your career can play a big role in determining if an MBA or an EMBA (executive master of business administration) is the right degree for you.

Executive Education

Executive education programs are designed for professionals already working at managerial or executive levels. The subject matter covered can range from broad topics such as leadership development and advanced management to more narrow topics geared toward specific industries. These programs can last anywhere from a day or two to several weeks and usually confer a certificate rather than a diploma. While executive education programs are often administered on a business school campus, they are also sometimes offered in locations such as conference centers.

The shorter courses, flexible locations and selection of topics make executive education an attractive option for busy entrepreneurs who are already short on time. However, unlike other executive education courses, EMBA programs do confer a degree and do require a greater investment of both time and money.

An MBA or an EMBA?

When deciding between an MBA and an EMBA, there are several things to take into consideration including what topics and subject matter are covered, how long the degree will take to complete, what the prerequisites are and what benefits will come from obtaining the degree.

In the case of an MBA:

  • An MBA degree begins with a core curriculum that covers broad topics including but not limited to basic business practices, strategy, negotiation, leadership, marketing and finance. After showing proficiency in these basics and passing all required courses, a student can then focus their studies in one of several different areas of specialization. Examples of these areas of focus include economics, accounting and finance, general management and organizational management, marketing, strategy, organizational behavior, negotiation and technology. Some programs also require internships or other forms of work completed in the field.
  • MBA degrees can be obtained in as little as a year but generally take two years of full-time study to complete. One-year programs are concentrated and are considered to be much more intense due to the shortened completion time.
  • The exact prerequisites to begin working towards an MBA degree vary between learning institutions. However, MBA students generally need to first have completed an bachelor’s degree. This degree does not necessarily have to be a business degree but if it is not, some additional coursework may be required. There is also an admissions test requirement. The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is the most commonly required test, though sometimes the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) is accepted in its place. In addition to admission tests and an undergraduate degree, most leading universities and business schools require a minimum grade point average (GPA).
  • The main benefits of the degree begin with the knowledge and skill sets gained over the course of study and continue with fantastic networking opportunities. MBA degree holders enjoy a competitive advantage against those seeking the same positions without the degree and will also enjoy better opportunities for career advancement.

In the case of an EMBA:

  • The curriculum of an EMBA is very similar to that of an MBA. However, EMBA courses are also often advanced because those seeking an EMBA usually already have years of experience in the business world.
  • Like an MBA, most EMBA programs take two years to complete.
  • Unlike an MBA, the prerequisites for almost all EMBA programs include years spent in the workforce rather than previous academic achievements. This is because the EMBA focuses on executives and entrepreneurs who have already established themselves and are now looking to further their education.
  • The benefits of an EMBA are similar to those of an MBA and can help improve a current executive’s managerial and leadership skills and in turn, improve career advancement.

Timing Is Everything

Ultimately, timing is an important factor when choosing between an MBA and EMBA. For new graduates, an MBA makes sense and is a great way to begin a career in the business world. For entrepreneurs who may not have had the opportunity to get an MBA before, an EMBA is the ideal way to complete their education.

About the Author:  Chip Goodspeed is a contributing blogger and second year MBA student. In the next three years Chip would like to head a successful startup in renewable resources.

This is a guest post for TheEmployable


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