Are You a Good Candidate for an Executive MBA?

Executives in lounge

If you’re looking for a way to gain the benefits of b-school on a schedule that will work with your busy life, an executive MBA (EMBA) may be your answer.

EMBA programs are designed for seasoned professionals who are looking to boost their career, gain leadership skills, and expand their network—all while remaining employed. Plus, an EMBA isn’t your only option; there are other professional b-school programs, such as executive master’s and online and flexible MBAs, that cater to candidates looking for more flexibility in their advanced degree. Understanding the characteristics of a typical EMBA candidate can help you decide whether this degree is the best fit for you.

You’ve got experience

EMBA programs are built for mid to senior-level career professionals who already have experience in the workforce and are looking to accelerate their career. Ninety-eight percent of EMBA candidates have three or more years of work experience, and 65 percent of candidates considering an EMBA are 31 or older. Prospective students also share similarities in their undergraduate backgrounds, with 45 percent reporting holding a bachelor’s degree in business/economics, humanities/social science, or STEM. Because of this, coursework is designed to capitalize on your institutional knowledge and integrate with your busy schedule; expect to share your acumen while gaining new insights from fellow professionals in your class.

You want to keep your job (and your life!)

One of the main characteristics of EMBAs that prospective students find most attractive is the flexibility to continue their current lifestyle with minimal interruption. Most EMBA students participate in coursework during evenings and weekends, which allows time for work as well as a personal life. The Executive Assessment, the preferred entrance exam for professional b-school programs like the EMBA, makes preparing for b-school approachable with flexible scheduling—and rescheduling—policies, minimal preparation requirements, and an only 90-minute duration. You can rest easy knowing you can continue to support your family, since about half of EMBA candidates are married (52%) and own a home (47%), and 39 percent have children. Keep in mind this may make you more sensitive to programs’ regional location than other MBA candidates, and you may even have specific schools in mind—45 percent of candidates considering EMBAs do.

"The Executive MBA program gave me the opportunity to continue with my career progression while going to school. I'm a working mother and I didn’t have the time to take off."
—Jenn, EMBA Student

You want to accelerate your career

During your EMBA, you can expect to gain invaluable problem-solving, management, communication, and critical-thinking skills. Your curriculum will build on your current experience and help prepare you to take the next step in leadership by equipping you with the tools to be successful in your transition. After all, the value that is most commonly cited by EMBA alumni is preparation for leadership positions. Your degree will also help you increase your earning power. EMBA alumni report a US$10,000 median difference in pre- and post-degree salaries.

Ready to take the next step? In order to be successful, it’s important to have the support of your network. Speak with your employer, family, and friends to develop a plan for incorporating b-school into your life. Then, familiarize yourself with the Executive Assessment, which will evaluate your preparedness for b-school by focusing on your skills and experience.

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