EMBA vs MBA : How to choose what is best for you? What are the differences between MBA and EMBA?

This is not an easy decision especially when you are about to begin a new chapter in your career development. Many professionals find it difficult to go back to school, so they procrastinate looking for further encouragement. When it is the right time to enter an EMBA or MBA program, you will know!

What are the disguising characteristics between an EMBA and an MBA?


  • Experience and Age

Most applicants of MBA programs are aged between 24-30 whereas the typical age range for EMBA applicants is 32-42. EMBA applicants have at least 7-8 years of work experience and look for comparable experience from their classmates. MBA students have significantly fewer years of work experience.

  • Networking Opportunities

EMBA participants mention networking as the leading reason in choosing a program. Experienced professionals derive different advantages from their networks than MBA students. They are keenly interested in developing future job opportunities in a tightly knit environment. MBAs on the other hand, look for that exceptional big jump!

  • Return of Investment

EMBA literally pays for itself because it is part-time, so the participant does not incur loss of income during studies. The average post-EMBA pay raise is at least 50%.

  • Financing the Tuition Fee

About 53% of the EMBA students pay for their own education because they keep on earning income during their studies and many have accumulated savings. Some companies fund EMBA students when the latter use in-house data and when their research is relevant. Most MBA students pay their own way.

There are three critical components that weigh heavily on an experienced manager’s decision to enrol in an EMBA program. These are (A) CAREER EFFECT after graduation; (B) EXPERIENCES during the program and (C) the business school’s CULTURE.

Career Effect

The primary reason for executives to enrol in an EMBA program is the after effect on their career. They expect completion to significantly enhance their chances of either climbing up in the current work organization or to find a higher-placed job in another company. In either case, there is a strong expectation of increasing one’s salary!

The size and the quality of the School’s alumni network becomes extremely important in this context. It is necessary but not sufficient that the School’s admissions process is selective, which ensures that the participant will rub shoulders with those who are bright and who have excellent career prospects. The alumni network’s size and diversity, in terms of globality, gender and business backgrounds, make or break the choice on an EMBA program today.

Experiences During the Program

Will I be able to apply what I learn during the program? How intense will the interaction be among the participants? Will this be oriented towards generating innovative and creative solutions? What are the chances that I will interact with someone from an entirely different cultural or business background? How does the program manage team learning online? During the program I should have time for self-reflection. Will I be coached? The location of the EMBA program is also important. Does it reflect a modern working environment in a metropolitan city or is it on a secluded campus? Does it have access to local executives?

When I graduate, I expect to leave with (1) better leadership capability in managing mixed-gender teams, (2) more refined understanding of change management, (3) boosted self-confidence, (4) improved ability to speak and understand board-room level business language, and (5) improved ability to excite and motivate others in seeking innovative solutions.


Business schools survive and thrive on the diversity and the richness of their culture. They are not geographically constrained, they admit participants with diverse backgrounds, at least one-fifth of their intake is female, and their faculty match the diversity characteristics of their students and alumni. They are business laboratories in their society and ethics comes first. No single organization dominates their recruitment.
All of this will increase my value at work because I will have the ability to pass on my skills and knowledge to others. This is far more important than the ROI I can generate on my employer’s investments!