As the name suggests, executive MBA programs are not for everyone. They require a level of experience and accomplishment above and beyond that of most MBA programs. But what makes them so unique, and is there really that much of a difference?
MBA programs all offer a chance to learn more, specialize in a field of interest, and look great on your resume. But in much the same way that full-time, part-time, and online programs all cater to professionals based on where they are in their careers and lives, EMBA programs offer a distinct experience for a very specific audience.
Your learning is broader and deeper
The key, of course, is in the word “executive.” There are several reasons this is important, beginning with the curriculum. A typical MBA curriculum would only scratch the surface for executives with more than a decade of senior-level experience. It’s not simply enough to know how to review a financial spreadsheet or understand the basics of marketing or organizational behavior. For an MBA program to benefit senior leaders, it needs to dive deeper and provide students a greater breadth of knowledge around those topics, uniting them so they inform the decisions these senior leaders make outside the classroom and for their organizations.
Your class is comprised of fellow executives
That deeper, broader curriculum really pays off in a class of similary experienced leaders. However, if the entire class were comprised of accountants or CTOs, that wouldn’t bring enough perspective to what you’re learning. That’s why many schools, including the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, look for a diverse class of executives. By the end of the program, you see how challenges can impact the whole of the organization and how — thanks to the experience of your peers — you can be better-equipped in your own company.
An EMBA program is not just textbook material. It involves case studies and group discussion that leverage decades of experience from the faculty and your classmates, opening your eyes to perspectives you might never see otherwise.
Your leadership on the job can improve dramatically and quickly
Most leaders don’t come in via the mail room and work their way up, gaining a little experience here and there along the way. Most start with an area of specialization, either from a college degree or a previous position, and rise through that unit. Because of the perspectives you gain in an EMBA program, you become much more balanced in your thinking and approach.
Odds are, if you don’t have a quantitative background, you won’t have taken a really deep look at the numbers in years, if not decades. An EMBA program tears down those walls, either providing refreshers in fields you don’t examine all that often or introduce new disciplines to you that you’d never had to consider before. The end result of all of this exposure makes you a stronger, more capable leader and decision-maker, no matter your background or your current level of experience.
Your network will take a big leap forward
Access to other top leaders will obviously pay dividends throughout your career. When they need a new position or just a recommendation or when you need the same spending two years in class with well-positioned executives will give you a long-term professional advantage.
But it goes beyond your classmates: EMBA programs open doors to top companies through site visits, guest speakers, and case studies, helping you make even more crucial connections.
The EMBA experience will set you apart
From the depth of what you learn in class to your new teammates to how you apply what you learn to leading your organization to the impact the program has on your professional network, an Executive MBA program is an excellent choice for senior leaders looking to take their careers — and their company — to the next level.