MBA or EMBA: Which one suits your best?

MBA or EMBA: After over three years of working at a firm, Shashank raised a question, which almost every working person have thought about. What’s next? For a professional, who wants to expand his opportunities, the most readily available answer is a management course. But wait, there are many factors to consider before jumping to pursue a business programme. One factor that aspirants should keep in mind is their profile and what they want to do in the future. Do they want to pursue an MBA or EMBA because they want to enhance their chances in the sector they are already working or do they want to explore a new field. But, most importantly, they have to figure out if they want to pursue a regular or an executive MBA. The biggest confusion comes from Executive MBA Vs Regular MBA. So, which one is best suited for you? Let’s find out in this article.

Before we go ahead and explain which is better is better in terms of suitability- MBA or EMBA, let’s understand the meaning of both the MBAs.

Regular MBA: This type of MBA is, generally, called just an MBA. Usually, full time, a regular Master’s in Business Administration degree or diploma is offered students  who want to understand the managerial aspects of working at an organisation. Both fresh graduated and people with a few years of experience opt for this programme. This programme is considered the starting point for jumping into the organisational leadership hierarchy.

Executive MBA: An executive MBA is a full time or part time MBA pursued by mid or senior level professionals who want to enhance their leadership skills. The MBA prepares executives to take up heavier responsibilities within the organisation. It is also considered by those who want to expand their networking skills in the industry and explore the global competitive market.

Executive MBA Vs Regular MBA- Major points of differences

The first point to keep in mind is that neither MBA or EMBA is better than the other. It is the suitability that matters. Like mentioned earlier, you should choose the MBA based on your work or academic profile and your future interests. However, is it better to know the differences between the two programmes to understand which one is best suited to you. Here are some of the major differences between a regular MBA and executive MBA.

MBA or EMBA: Differences

Factors Regular MBA Executive MBA
Work experience Can be a fresher or one with experience. Ideally, should not be more than 6-7 years. However, there is no mandate. Should necessarily have work experience. Usually, candidates are required to  have at least 3-5 year of experience. However, class profile suggests professionals with 7-12 years of experience usually pursue the programme.
Suitability Best for entry into the managerial positions in a company Best for enhancing one’s position in the managerial team and hone leadership skills
Duration Programmes are usually conducted full time for 2 years Programmes are usually conducted part time for 1 year or less
Flexible Classes are structured to be held regularly Classes are generally held on weekends to accommodate office goers
Networking Students usually go to be introduced to the corporate and managerial  structure Best to network with industry people both on a local and global basis
Admission CAT/MAT/GMAT/XAT/CMAT are usually necessary for admission Scores of management entrance exams are not mandatory
Fee The cost of pursuing a regular MBA is on the high side The cost of pursuing a regular MBA is on the low side
Placement Most regular MBAs are placement oriented Executive MBAs are not placement oriented. Most of the students are professionals who already have a job


Executive MBA Vs Regular MBA- Which one to choose 

Now that you know the major points of differences between an executive and regular MBA you should know which programme to pursue depending on your profile. Here are some points to consider:

How many years of experience do you have: This is probably the most important point to be considered before taking the big step of deciding MBA or EMBA. If you are someone with more than 7 years of experience you should opt for an executive MBA. Business school usually do not prefer students with many years of experience in their regular mba programmes and might direct you towards their executive MBAs. While the average eligibility in executive MBA programmes is 3-5 years, it has been observed over the years that most of the class profile include professionals with an average of 8-12 years.

Do you have the time to attend regular classes?

If you are a working professional with a few years of experience, it would be difficult for you to find the time to pursue a regular MBA. Executive MBAs are flexible and let students attend them only on weekends. Also, these programmes are 1 year in duration while regular MBAs are two years in duration. Many Executive programmes also function through online programme or could be conducted for 8-10 days a year. So, factor in your work experience when deciding between MBA or EMBA.

What do you want from the programme?

Students usually want to pursue a regular MBA if they want to be introduced to the managerial aspect of their organisation. Most of them usually do not come from a managerial positions and if they have work experience, it would be as team leaders or other such roles. Also, it has been observed that a majority chunk of students pursuing regular MBA’s come from the IT sector. Which means these professionals want to enhance their knowledge of handling the business aspect of their work. In executive MBA, students usually come from previous managerial positions. Their idea is to network with peers and build an international perspective of their sector of work.

Do you have the time to prepare for entrance tests?

It is imperative to appear for management entrance tests if you want to pursue a regular MBA. The usual routes are CAT, GMAT, XAT, CMAT and MAT among others. Admission can be highly competitive as the score requirement go very high. In fact, the score in the entrance exam is a major factor for admission. In that case, students have to             prepare well in advance for the tests. Many students take a break from their studies and opt for coaching or self study during this period. The same is not the case in executive MBAs. While some programmes do ask for scores, it might not be a mandatory aspect for admission. In fact, many programmes just opt for personal interviews. A main point of assessment lies in the candidate’s academic and professional profile. The candidate is evaluated on the basis of their contribution to the organisation, their leadership skills and their knowledge of the sector where they have been working. So, candidates usually do not need to devote extra time to prepare for the exam.

Do you want to invest in a regular MBA or EMBA?

The good news about pursuing an executive MBA is that most organisations fund the tuition fee for the programmes for their employees. Companies believe it is a good investment to ensure that the employee can use his or her skills more effectively. However, not all executive programmes are funded by the organisation. Regular MBAs, on the other hand, have to be funded by students themselves and the cost can be on a higher end. Cost can go up to 20-30 lakhs in some cases. Since, the focus is on the Return on Investment(ROI), candidates have to consider and compare the cost aspect while searching for a programme and institute.

What kind of feedback do you seek?

One of the plus points in a regular MBA is that it allows students to get regular feedbacks on their work. Since, it functions like a normal programme, students have their work evaluated by teachers through classes. While the feedback process still exist, such in depth interference is restricted in an executive MBA. It is assumed that students would already be aware of the many elements involved in the management process. The classes are usually based on peer discussions and assignments, so most of the feedback is peer oriented rather than guidance oriented. If you are comfortable with this kind of feedback, you should go for an executive MBA. However, if you think that you need to develop a fresh perspective to managerial issues through ways of being guided by a mentor, you should opt for a regular mba.

Do you want a job post MBA?

Most students go for big shot business schools for their efficient placement system. The big name of the business schools attracts a host of brands, which definitely catapults the career prospects of the student. Most business schools offering regular MBAs, have a robust system of placements. If your bottomline is to secure a job in the corporate sector, a regular MBA is a best option. However, programmes offering executive MBAs hardly have placement cells except in some cases. What the executives do get is access to a network base which they can use later to enhance their career prospects. In many cases, executives are already employed individuals, hence rendering the entire placement system redundant.

Executive MBA vs regular MBA: Top business schools in India offering both

Business school Regular MBA Executive MBA
Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore PGPM, 2 years EPGP, 1 year
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad PGP, 2 years PGPX, 1 year
Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta PGP, 2 years PGPEX, 1 year
Indian Institute of Management, Indore PGP, 2 years PGP-MX, PGP-HRM, 1 year
Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow PGP, 2 years WMP, 2 years; IPMX, 1 year



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