If you're keen on becoming a successful business person, you're probably already considering studying at top-quality business schools abroad. An MBA degree is the obvious choice, but would an EMBA be a better option?
To make up your mind, you should first learn the differences between the two prestigious business degrees. Of course, you will also need to figure out if you meet the necessary requirements to be admitted for the degree, and if you can afford the tuition fee. We'll cover all this and more, to make your choice easier.
MBA vs EMBA - What's the difference?
Masters of Business Administration or MBAs are some of the most popular Business degrees from the last ten years that continue to attract a large number of international students, despite the high competition and pricey tuition rates.
First introduced at universities and colleges in the United States, now you can choose from over 2,500 MBA programmes from all over the world, most of them English-taught.
On the other hand, EMBAs or Executive MBAs are considered the best investments you can make for your future. International business schools and universities introduced EMBA programmes to answer the learning needs of working executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and other business leaders.
Here are a few universities we recommend for an MBA or EMBA degree:
- Northeastern University, the US
- Hult International Business School, the UK
- Robert Kennedy College, Switzerland
- BI Norwegian Business School, Norway
- Maastricht University, the Netherlands
But what really sets apart EMBAs from their more traditional counterpart? Check out how MBAs and EMBAs are different in terms of study schedule, admission requirements, curriculum and costs:
What type of students are MBAs and EMBAs for?
An EMBA (Executive Master of Business Administration) is similar to a common MBA, except for the fact that they are designed for experienced working professionals, particularly chief officers, managers or business owners. Because they are working individuals, EMBA students can attend evening or weekend classes, enabling them to finish the Master’s degree within two years or less.
Most EMBA students are between 32 and 38 years old, while the average age for MBA students ranges between 24 and 30 years old.
Class schedule and study duration
The class schedules for a traditional MBA degree are less flexible. Most MBAs are full-time, students have intensive schedules, which doesn’t usually allow them to combine the MBA with a regular job. An MBA usually takes two years to complete, but it can be extended to three or four years if you choose to study part-time.
Other differences relate to the special services offered to EMBA students, which MBA students don’t benefit from. EMBA students are offered registration assistance, meal delivery, textbooks, and other helpful tools.
They also have the same colleagues throughout the entire duration of their course, compared to MBA students who usually have different classmates from one year to the other. In terms of networking, meeting new people each year is an unbeatable advantage for MBA students.
MBA degree application requirements
- Bachelor's degree in any field
- Transcript of records
- At least 3 years of professional work experience
- Experience in a supervisor role not mandatory, but it is preferred
- GMAT exam score
- GRE exam score
- Minimum English language scores: IELTS Academic 6.0, TOEFL iBT 70, PTE Academic 60
- Letters of recommendation
- Minimum age limit (only at some universities)
EMBA degree application requirements
- Bachelor's degree in any field
- Transcript of records
- A minimum of 3-5 years of work experience (although over 10 years of work experience is more common among most EMBA students)
- Management or supervisory experience preferred (some schools require at least three years of leadership experience)
- GMAT or GRE test scores
- Minimum English language test scores: IELTS Academic 6.5, TOEFL iBT (80), or PTE Academic (60)
- Letter of motivation
- Letters of reference
Keep in mind that the admission requirements for MBAs and EMBAs listed above are general. Many universities might have additional criteria or they can require higher English language or GMAT/GRE test scores. Always check the programme study page or the university website for the official requirements.
Check the GMAT score required at some of the best business schools in the U.S.
Top business schools offering great MBA and EMBA degrees
According to the QS Rankings, these are some of the top business schools worldwide where you can study an MBA/EMBA programme:
- Harvard University, the US
- INSEAD, France
- London Business School, the UK
- SDA Bocconi School of Management, Italy
- National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore
- Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
- Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands
- Ramon Llull University, Spain
- The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong SAR
- The University of Melbourne, Australia
MBA vs EMBA course curriculum
Most MBA programmes include a basic curriculum of subject areas, such as accounting, economics, marketing, and business operations, as well as elective courses that allow participants to acquire more knowledge about fields of study according to their own personal or professional interests. Within some business schools, MBA candidates can complete an internship at a company or organization, which can lead to possible job opportunities after completing their MBA.
Students can also specialise in fields like Health Care, Sports Management, Hospitality, and Supply Chain. In addition, most times, MBA students can choose when to take a class and they can select from a wide range of electives.
The curriculum for an EMBA is similar to that of a regular MBA, with the only distinction that classes are more fast-paced. Some of the more general courses including studies in entrepreneurship, finance, management, marketing, and strategic management.
Tuition costs of MBAs and EMBAs
The cost of an Executive MBA programme is variable depending on the school you attend, but it is usually higher than the tuition of a traditional MBA programme. There are ways to fund your Business degree and you might even cover at least part of your tuition through a benefits package provided by your own employer.
Between 80-90% of companies pay their employees’ tuition for an Executive MBA and some of the major Fortune 100 corporations will assume partial or the entire cost of an MBA course.
A useful tip for saving costs of an MBA would be to apply for a one-year MBA programme (instead of a two-year study course).
Average MBA degree costs
- In the U.S.: around 50,000 USD
To this amount, you would have to add another 20,000 USD for boarding and book expenses, depending on your location.
- In the UK: around 15,000 GBP
- In the rest of Europe: between 36,000 and 65,000 USD
However, you can find business schools or MBA programmes within universities in Europe that cost between 15,000 and 36,000 USD.
Average EMBA degree costs
- In the U.S.: 160,000 USD
However, you can also find EMBA programmes that cost 50,000 USD.
- In the UK: 18,000 GBP
- The rest of Europe: between 21,000 and 29,000 EUR
Since the cost for these study opportunities is very high, all MBA students think about ROI (return of investment). It seems the average tuition payback time is between four and seven years.
How to choose between an MBA and an EMBA?
The basic things that you need to remember and that might help you decide are:
- MBA classes usually have a fixed schedule, compared to EMBAs, where students attend classes in the evenings and on weekends.
- Due to the class flexibility, EMBA students can easily combine study with a job.
- MBA students have a broader option of elective courses, compared to EMBA students.
- Because EMBA students usually have o electives, you can finish an EMBA in the same amount of time as an MBA.
Both study options offer you unique credibility in the business environment, allowing you to find career opportunities in a wide range of industries. MBAs and Executive MBAs are recognised everywhere, so you aren’t limited to finding a job in your home country. An MBA or EMBA graduate usually earns a higher salary, ranging from 90,000 to 150,000 EUR per year on average.