Wharton’s Impressive New West Coast Digs

by John A. Byrne on

Wharton's new West Coast campus is no longer in stealth mode but has prominent signage on the Embarcadero in San Francisco

But it is the Executive MBA classes that remain the flagship program of the West Coast campus. Although there are no immediate plans to double the number of EMBA students here, roughly 70% of the applicants to the program are considered fully qualified to attend. Yet, Wharton’s EMBA acceptance rate is about 44%, making the program one of the most selective in the world. At a cost of $173,940, it’s also the most expensive MBA program in the world.

Because Harvard and Stanford do not offer an Executive MBA, however, Wharton has pretty much become the gold standard in the business. Unlike many executive programs, it’s as close to a full-time MBA program as possible, with 51 program weekends over a span of 24 months. The actual number of contact hours comes to 700, a third more than most other rival EMBA programs and more than double the new University of Michigan EMBA program in Los Angeles. The Wharton program allows students to pick among 35 electives as well when most rival programs offer little more than four to six. The GMAT test is required for application and the average GMAT score is 700, highest of any EMBA program in the world.

The $173,940 price tag includes meals in the dining room operated by Guckenheimer Enterprises, which serves food locally sourced within a 100-mile radius of San Francisco. The price also includes Friday night stays at the nearby Meridian Hotel, about eight blocks away from the new campus, for EMBA students who attend class every other Friday and Saturday. Currently, some students are commuting from Hawaii, Texas, Arizona, and Washington. Typically, faculty fly in from Philadelphia late Thursday night and stay at the same hotel as students through Sunday morning.

If anything, Wharton’s students here couldn’t be happier with their new digs. “My first reaction when I came here is that alright, this is legit,” says Suncheth Bhat, a second-year EMBA student who works at PG&E as chief of staff to the chief financial officer.  “For ten years, Wharton has been a bit under the radar out here. They’ve talked about having a bigger presence and becoming better known. This has surpassed all my expectations.”

Even though Bhat, 29, was at the ideal age for a full-time MBA program, he decided on the EMBA route because he didn’t want to quit his job, which at the time was in renewable energy for PG&E. “I had just started the position and it was a space I was interested in and passionate about,” says Bhat, who got his undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA. “I was hesitant about removing myself for two years from a business that was growing and changing so fast. Being in this program allowed me the best of two worlds.”

Among other things, Bhat helped to organize a global immersion trip to Brazil for his EMBA class. The weeklong excursion to San Paulo and Rio last September led to visits with some two dozen companies in the country. But before the class went, Bhat had to sell the idea to his classmates who also voted on whether to go to China or Turkey.

“The program has been very challenging,” he says. “Wharton does a good job advertising how rigorous it is, but you don’t fully comprehend it until you actually go through it.”

As part of an elective global consulting practicum, Bhat worked with a team of MBA students from IE Business School in Spain. He helped two solar companies in Spain craft a strategy for entering the U.S. market. The project allowed him to spend a week in Spain and required a presentation to executives in San Francisco.

Like Bhat, Joanne Medvitz is another second-year EMBA student here who could just as easily have been in a full-time program as well. But Medvitz, 30, had just launched a startup company called Pop Outerwear with her husband while still holding down a full-time job at PG&E. “To step away from those two things for two years didn’t make a lot of sense in terms of the opportunity costs,” she says. “But one thing I didn’t want to sacrifice was class camaraderie. When I came to Wharton, the students were so close-knit and really got along with each other.”

Medvitz, who has undergraduate and master’s degrees in material science from UCLA, says the program has more than met her expectations. “It has been two of the best years of my life,” she says. Medvitz has been able to immediately apply financial and marketing knowledge learned in class to their business and believes the MBA will serve her well in the future. “I won’t always run our financial statements, but I will always be able to understand them because of the solid foundation in finance I’ve gotten here. And if we get big enough to do acquisitions, I can go to the table in a more informed way.”

DON’T MISS: WHARTON TOPS OUR 2012 RANKING OF THE TOP EMBA PROGRAMS or WHARTON PLANS MORE EXEC ED IN SAN FRANCISCO

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  • srini

    I think this is the future of the MBA degree. The EMBA and the one-year MBA are going to dominate in the future. The two year MBA’s demand will keep decreasing due to a number of factors such as opportunity cost, length, relevance and globalization. Wharton is leading the way with its EMBA. Kellogg is leading the way with a major push in its one year MBA program. Stanford, Harvard and others better be taking some notes…

  • Somer

    HBS has the PLD this is their EMBA: http://www.exed.hbs.edu/landing/Pages/executivemba.aspx
    It’s an elite program

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/jbyrne/ John A. Byrne

    Somer,

    While HBS is presenting this as its alternative to an EMBA program, it’s not really an Executive MBA program.

  • Somer

    HBS has the PLD this is their EMBA: http://www.exed.hbs.edu/landing/Pages/executivemba.aspx
    It’s an elite program even more progressive than traditional EMBAs

  • Somer

    Apologies for duplicate copy: Admissions acceptance rate approx 20% doesn’t matter it’s not branded EMBA we all know HBS is leader in innovation just as they innovated the MBA in 1908

  • ramon

    @ Somer

    Thanks for pointing out this amazing program. Among the brains behind the PLD are Clay Christensen http://poetsandquants.com/2012/02/10/worlds-best-b-school-professors-clayton-christensen/ and some top HBS professors. This program is aimed at disrupting the entire market leveraging its MBA traditional brand to drive up applications for it and potentially drive the admission rate from 20% as mentioned above to a much lower rate by simultaneous controlling its enrollment class. Let me put it this way, it will be the elite program of HBS.

  • Mario

    @Somer

    absolutely HBS is leader is business education..but bear in mind that competition from another innovative programs is really taking place..JEEP innovated 4×4 SUV, yet, they aren’t best producers of that type any more, similar thing to MBAs..HBS just changed its curriculum and added FIELD which many other top schools were already doing for years..I believe Stanford in entrepreneurship is better than HBS, INSEAD for global business is better than HBS..for top management preparation HBS is better..and so on..

  • Birchtree

    @Somer

    As a Boston area resident, who has recently investigated and applied to a number of Executive MBA Programs, I agree that this is an outstanding offering for prospective EMBA candidates, but importantly, it is not an MBA Program. Upon completion, one receives a Certificate from HBS. While for many, this may be perfectly fine, as it is a matter of individual preference, for some including myself personally, I strongly preferred the idea of receiving an actual MBA Degree for the time, effort, and money to be invested. Again, I realize it is a personal matter/point for individuals, but having the MBA Degree credential is a potentially significant distinction between the HBS PLD program and other powerhouse Business Schools that offer EMBA programs and grant the same MBA Degree to their EMBA graduates as to their two year program grads. Having said all of this, I have heard terrific things about the HBS PLD Program and their AMP and GMP Certificate programs as well.

  • ramon

    @ Somer,Mario, Birchtree

    Mario, no University is better than HBS at any subject. The only Uni which I could argue, if at all, on some areas, may be Stanford. But the reputation of HBS is unparalleled.

    Birchtree, the incremental boost of an MBA degree at age of lets say 22-28 in insane. If you miss this age opportunity it doesn’t matter anymore and you will not get much more of an incremental boost from an EMBA at age of 35-40+ lets face it. HBS has realized that and has foreseen the market. The tag MBA or EMBA will not help you after a certain age with 10-15+ years of experience behind your back. It will only help you Psychological to tackle, let me put it this way, people’s inferiority issue of “I deserve to go to a top B-School to get a top EMBA”. So much work experience will absolutely not change your trajectory which you had already build over the past decade(s). Moreover, the average top EMBA has an acceptance rate of 40+ % in contrast to the PLD which is much more rigorous in terms of selectivity. HBS has realized that the 150k+ tag is of no value..Either you make it early or forget about it- its only networking that matters and HBS will give you the networks, top class education and value for money. That’s the bitter reality.

  • gerthway

    @ramon

    Ramon, I completely agree with you. EMBAs are money making machines. Either you make it early or just spend your money to deal with your psychological issues… Harvard has definitely realized where the market is going…

  • nick

    Guys,

    I tend to agree with Ramon. In addition, EMBAs are NOT MBAs, people need to keep this in mind.

  • Birchtree

    @ramon

    Nice points made and I understand and appreciate your perspective, but let’s agree to disagree on this one. My take is completely different. The MBA credential itself has significant value in my view generally and specifically at my company even at 40 yrs +/- of age. It is preferred for internal promotions as well as for those looking at starting something new on their own. I also believe that it can serve as a valuable insurance policy in an uncertain economic world where nothing is certain. It is a universally accepted credential that can be a real point of distinction all other things being equal among job candidates. Additionally, MBAs, whatever their format, executive or otherwise, follow a similarly vetted curriculum that has attained widespread acceptance for it’s rigor and practicality. A six month Certificate program, even though at HBS, cannot replace the coursework and perspectives gained over 16-24 month executive MBA programs at Boston area accessible programs such as MIT, Cornell-Queen’s, or Boston University in my opinion anyway. Again, I agree it is fantastic option but it is not truly comparable and it will always need to be explained to folks who do not understand what it means to have a Certificate versus an MBA degree. Lastly, in the PLD program you are not considered an alumni of HBS upon completion, which I think is a major disadvantage in terms of taking advantage of current and future networking possibilities. A great choice and a wonderful program but not fully comparable even with the peerless name of HBS.

  • nick

    Birchtree,

    PLD you need additional coursework and you get alumni status. Moreover, the PLD does not focus on issues one should already know as accounting 101 and finance 101, 202, etc. You say much of EMBA curicculum is like MBA. But this is exactly the problem: the EMBA curriculum you spend a substantial amount of time to go over the basics and bring everyone at the same level and therefore the longer duration and also the higher cost as well. I agree it helps people getting easily promoted and ring fence you in a downturn but you do not need to spend 150+k for something which you can achieve exactly the same purpose through PLD with targeted coursework and elite professors at HBS. Again the EMBA is not an MBA. MBA helps you move to another job and get significant incremental boost- there are unprecedented career resources available to MBA graduates. The EMBA is not targeted to this audience, its mostly targeted to people who seek internal promotions etc. If one seeks to move around with an EMBA you will get disappointed, as I have seen many MIT Sloan Fellow, Duke EMBA, Chicago EMBA students telling me. While one may “hope” that it may give a boost in terms of career change, the truth is that it does not, as unfortunately you are overshadowed by 10-15+ years of experience. If again you need it for your start-up, you can achieve exactly the same objective with the HBS program. Just to spend 150k+ to have the EMBA tag on CV (which is not even an MBA) I pass. HBS has an unparalleled brand name and would rather pursue its offerings.

  • Birchtree

    @Nick

    My upcoming eMBA Program is through the Johnson School at Cornell University and like all Schools I looked into, they grant the same MBA degree to all of their graduates whether in the executive or full time or 1 yr full time format. No such thing as an executive MBA degree…it i just the format for learning. I would not fit well with folks 2 to 5 years out of undergrad and vice versa…as I am much further along my career path and up the corporate ladder.

  • nick

    Birchtree,

    Great program the Cornell one I know it. Are you doing the accelerated one?

  • ruben

    Friends,

    Very constructive discussions. I would like to add the following: does anyone knows what the concept of “disruptive innovation” is (Clayton Christensen). I can tell you something certain my friends- many people wonder HBS doesn’t launch an EMBA. I can assure you that the PLD program is running at “stealth” mode now there will come a point that it will totally reset the entire market. this will be the education of the future. Look what HBS is doing: http://www.hbs.edu/construction/tata-hall.html a substantial part of his investment will also be targeted to double the capacity of its PLD program- so substantially is its demand increasing. So, while the entire market is pre-occupied with the “EMBA” tag, HBS will pop up from stealth mode and reset the market and that will be it- precisely the principle of disruptive innovation: “Disruptive innovation, on the other hand, will often have characteristics that traditional customer segments may not want, at least initially. Such innovations will appear as cheaper, simpler and even with inferior quality if compared to existing products, but some marginal or new segment will value it.” found here http://innovationzen.com/blog/2006/10/04/disruptive-innovation/

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/jbyrne/ John A. Byrne

    In regards to the ongoing discussion on Harvard’s positioning an executive education program as an “alternative” to an EMBA, it may be helpful to understand why Harvard, Stanford and Dartmouth doesn’t actually have Executive MBA programs. We ran a story on this on our sister site, PoetsandQuantsforExecs.com, last year. Here it is:

    Why HBS, Stanford & Dartmouth Shun the EMBA

  • nick

    @ ruben

    This is a great analogy. Though definitely I would not call the HBS program of inferior quality, it appears though that it may appear to be inferior- but this is obviously not the case. Completely agree on the stealth mode. The entire planet is preoccupied with the “EMBA”. Historically, this is how disruptive products ended up crashing existing ones- existing players were ignorant of their existence…

  • nick

    John,

    Thank you for the link. I totally agree HBS doesn’t want to kill its MBA brand. There certainly is an element of cannibalization with EMBAs. These guys know exactly what they are doing and as was said earlier, they run into “stealth” mode until the time of reset.

  • Birchtree

    @Nick

    Thanks for all of the interesting commentary and from all others as well-very interesting and informative. At the advice of several members of my firm’s Senior Management team, I have enrolled and will be starting in one Cornell’s EMBA Programs and am very excited by the prospects. As further background, I have been at the same publicly traded company for just over thirteen years (worked professionally for just over 15 years) and have thoroughly enjoyed my career thus far. I have a liberal arts undergrad degree and received a Master of Arts in International Affairs. I for one have worked in banking/finance my entire career without once taking accounting 101 or finance 101. I learned on my own and progressed on my own. Upon learning of my enrollment in the Cornell Program, and prior to commencing classes, my firm promoted me to our Chief Investment Officer-to show their support and enthusiasm. So, while I understand your points and appreciate them as being very relevant and correct for many, there are also many like me, who have a need for building an academic/technical foundation in key and core business disciplines that we have never had any formal training in in addition to the “soft” coursework or seminars in leadership etc. So while I have no doubt that HBS will pioneer and blaze greatness in it’s PLD Program, like all business studies -there are platforms and formats that work best for all consumers of such educational products. Finding the best fit for each individual is best…there is never one that is the best or will triumph all others even when the name is HBS.

  • virgil

    I have been looking into all these programs extensively. I have recently applied to the HBS PLD program and was rejected due to the enormous amount of very high caliber applicants. I was nevertheless encouraged to reapply in the future. I have a BSc from Princeton. I have also been looking at other programs and found this fascinating: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/programs-admissions/global-degrees/ms-risk-management-executives/index.htm I have researched linkedin and identified many HBS MBAs, Booth MBAs with this degree: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=829006&authType=NAME_SEARCH&authToken=xscf&goback=%2Epop_1_true_false_*1_*1&trk=subpro_viewprof_mng and http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=14844593&authType=OUT_OF_NETWORK&authToken=stW7&goback=%2Eanp_1882232_1329577537907_1&trk=anetppl_profile for example. This appears also to be a great alternative and not too onerous for highly successful busy executives.

  • nick

    @ Birchtree

    Yes I totally understand. There are certain exams you need to take in order to proceed with the PLD such as corporate finance, accounting and quantitative methods. I agree the name “leadership” may sound soft, however, the curriculum encompasses many of the aspects needed for decision making by leaders including quantitative skills, negotiations and strategy. To give you an example, in their Negotiations class, they have a case study around a privatization bid and team members need to analyze the different options either through real option quantitative techniques , monte carlo simulation, and other qualitative contractual aspects in order to reach a decision. Leadership is really what HBS is top at and while it may sound a soft skill, it is by far the hardest and most scarce skill for executives, encompassing the interaction and understanding all aspects of business and decision making- qualitative and quantitative.

  • Birchtree

    @Nick

    Agreed and understood. I was not trying to minimize the importance of leadership learning at all-merely to distinguish between the more traditional business core and other areas of learning…but I see how using the word “soft” may have implied just that. And I agree that those other areas, as I call them, are often just as or even more important in executive education. Thanks again for the productive dialogue.

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/rsupreme/ Ruler Supreme

    Will be very surprised if HBS, Stanford, and Tuck do not eventually give up the doublespeak and offer a straight up executive format MBA program in the future. They all fall in line with the crowd eventually. Just look at MIT for an example… The only one I could see not doing it is Tuck, because who wants to commute to Hanover, NH every other weekend? If they do offer it, they’d have to follow Cornell’s lead and offer it in Boston, the nearest major city. Alternatively, they could follow Wharton and Michigan’s lead and offer it in some faraway major city. Perhaps DC, since it’s a relatively untapped market business school-wise?

  • Alois de Novo

    Wharton is flooding the market with MBAs. HBS and Stanford preserve the scarcity value of their degrees (less so in the case of HBS) by not offering an exec MBA. Stanford cheats a bit with the Sloan MS, which is one ‘effin expensive degree program.

  • nick

    HBS will never do it- never. As discussed above, if you do not make it at age 22-28 that’s it. After that, an Executive MBA and the HBS PLD will have exactly the same results- internal promotion to top level, networking opps, etc As linked above, HBS is building Tata hall, a multi-million $ project to boost among other programs its PLD program. Honestly, HBS does not care because they see no value in the EMBA. They have held extensive sttategy discussions and meetings about this issue and their EMBA equivalent is their PLD that’s it. Whoever wants the EMBA tag they can go across the river to MIT..

  • Maria

    I am in the same situation. I am also considering the HBS program against other EMBAs. I have been talking to many people. Some have told me that a combination of programs may be far better than a stand alone one. For instance, an HBS PLD and an NYU Stern MSc in Risk Management (which is modular, not too onerous to executives and can be completed in 1 year rotating around NY, Europe and Hong Kong, a very popular topic, and you get 50% exception from the PRM charter-holder exams) may be far more powerful than a single EMBA from 1 school. So, I am also looking into this direction as well (I am a Brown graduate).

  • jeronimo

    @ Virgil

    Virgil, in fact what you suggest is an excellent idea. Thank you!

  • Birchtree

    @Nick

    Clearly you are the authority on this matter. It just must be an incredible coincidence that I have observed such different things from my 35-40 yr old peers who have achieved so much with plain old fashioned boring Executive MBAs. I take it you may have either applied to PLD or may be getting ready to start or perhaps are already enrolled, in which case congrats and i can appreciate your enthusiasm for the Program. But do not gloss over the countless executives who have chosen very different paths who could have considered the PLD program – strange that they did not – wonder why so many companies value and fund their talented managers to go to other top schools and to earn a MBA Degree through the executive format instead of a certificate. There is no dispute that this HBS Program is excellent but try and also appreciate the choices of others and the excellence of others because there are many.

  • Maria

    If the company sponsors the EMBA of course go and do it. If it doesn’t its an absolute waste of time and money.

  • Somer

    @ Maria

    I agree with you. Don’t expect that anything magic will happen to you after an insanely expensive EMBA. The question is: does the company pay for it? If not do not dream. I would only think of pursuing HBS and at the very max the Stanford Sloan Fellows which, even if they do not have the EMBA tag, the brand name, knowledge and network you get is unparalleled. These 2 schools are the only ones I would at the very max pay for if I am not sponsored. If you missed the train at age of 22-30 then do not dream at age of 35-40 with 15+ years of work experience on you overweighting other aspects by a million times. I have met many people who had spent a fortune and were totally dissapointed because their expectations were sky high…

  • Somer

    @ Birchtree

    It doesn’t matter what it is. It’s the selectivity and school brand names that matters. And of course the quality of education. HBS PLD is far more selective than most (possibly all) EMBA programs. Also, CFA, PRM, FRM are certificates – extremelly rigorous and highly regarded. The question is: does the company pay? I am reading all over that company sponsorships are continuously going down.. If company doesn’t pay, an EMBA path is not a solution. If one is so desperate getting the “Masters” tag go do an MSc from a top school and get a CFA, PRM or FRM, CPA ot top – far more marketable than an EMBA alone and miles cheaper. There are some MS degrees that give you 50% exam exemption for such top notch certificates. One example is LBS another is NYU Stern. Go check websites make more research.

  • Birchtree

    @ Somer, Maria, and Nick,

    I hear all the points and I am sure there is validity in them for many specific cases but I am also am certain that EMBAs serve as a very valuable and coveted experience for many and yields very positive results. I merely disagree with the absolute certainty of the points – ie that if you are not sponsored than an EMBA is not worthwhile. Or that if you missed the train at 22-30 it’s game over? At 22, i was an associate/analyst…who isn’t? At 30′ I had probably just become a VP of our company or was about to be. Now at approx 40, I have just been promoted to our Chief Investment Officer position and an EVP. My experience is not unique and I am not trying to portray it as such, merely to highlight that one’s career and educational needs vary over a lifetime. For me, the structured and general management coursework of an EMBA is valuable, as I move from a narrow functional area (acquisitions) to the broad investment strategy of my company.
    I will end my repetitive commentary with this post by just asking that folks keep an open mind that different formats work best or different people at different point and that blanket characterizations can often be inaccurate. Thanks again for the perspectives – I appreciate it.

  • Maria

    @ Birchtree

    You already have the CIO position? Why don’t you get your CFA instead. An EMBA will not make you a hardcore CIO the CFA will, trust me. CFA= Skills far more rigorous than EMBA. And put on top the HBS brand and you will be perfect.

  • Birchtree

    @Maria
    Thanks for the advice. My firm has preferred and supported the EMBA path and so I will follow that path. But I appreciate your counsel. Thanks

  • Maria

    Birchtree,

    That’s what I have been talking about. If the firm pays for you then it is perfect and among the few lucky ones 😉

  • Nick

    @ Birtchtree

    Congratulations for the sponsorship and also for the CIO position. If you get sponsored its a no brainer. My concern is directed to those who don’t get sponsored. Also, I would recommend to other readers to explore a combination of opportunities vs a single EMBA.

  • Birchtree

    @ Maria and Nick

    Thanks and I hear what your saying! I still disagree however that it is not worth it to do an EMBA without sponsorship. Most EMBAs that I know have had either partial or no company financial assistance but went anyway and have accomplished much and tout the benefits to those who ask as transformational in their lives. The expense of an HBS certificate program (PLD, AMP, or GMP) are also very costly, albeit not as much as a top EMBA. But they are probably as expensive or more if you divide into the shorter duration of those programs. If one does not get full sponsorship is the argument the same – waste of time, either you’ve made it or not? Average work experience in my cohort of my program is approx 15 years and at HBS PLD it is roughly 10 years on the website…are we talking about the same level folks? I appreciate the positions of you all but I do think we all have valid cases to make depending on facts and circumstances. Thanks again

  • Nick

    No because you get HBS alumni. It has the best alumni resources and support among all business schools. The bottom line point here is that without sponsorship you better get into the very top business schools- HBS or Stanford (my opinion though). In terms of $/time spend I agree the programs are expensive but then what do you expect its HBS- (however, the absolute $ sum is lower) another factor to count: on campus intensity is insane 18hr+ days and this should be counted into the equation because in terms of calendar months you may get longer in EMBA but there is a balancing factor of class intensity that’s should be considered. By the way @ Virgil if you scroll up he raises some excellent points.

  • Nick

    Some math here: the average increase in salary post EMBA was 16.3% in 2011 through promotions. However, only 37% received promotions. The IRR given the implicit front end cost of an EMBA only gets to 0.78% after 7 years have passed, 3.8% on the 8th year after graduation and 6.05% on the 9th. Are these satisfactory time adjusted returns? It depends on each individual’s preference…

  • Birchtree

    @Nock

    These are averages of ALL EMBAs not a specific top ranked EMBA. Not all EMBAs are the same nor all certificate programs. Also what are the stats on the HBS Program for ROI? I appreciate aggregated stats but given this article about the top ranked Wharton EMBA and our discussion about the Harvard PLD certificate program, I think we can safely say we are not discussing average programs. Points taken though again.

  • Birchtree

    I meant Nick…sorry!

  • john

    Gentlemen,

    Very interesting discussions here but why all this discussion, calculations, etc etc, etc. It is all a matter of preference and what maximizes the individual’s personal happiness. Personally, I would chose Harvard whatever the name of the program is because I think this University is a league by itself. I don’t think I would spend much time thinking of this.

  • Nick

    Hi Birchtree

    Yes its captures the average EMBA but this is a good indication isn’t it? Also, I would assume that someone who had gone to a Wharton EMBA already had a very high salary prior to this versus another person with an EMBA from another school. Therefore, I would assume that this has a counterbalancing effect. ie. An Average EMBA with 100k prior and 116.3 post EMBA vs a Wharton EMBA with 200k prior and 232k after. The higher the salary you have pre EMBA the harder it is to get a higher incremental increase (at least in theory). I agree there should be a distribution of returns and some students get much higher than 16.3% but some lower as well (We can’t know this so we rely on average numbers). Some, 63% of them get nothing… Check this comparison, you may find it interesting: http://www.naggesh.com/2009/09/08/executive-mba/

  • Birchtree

    @ Nick

    Thanks for all of the great information. I had seen that article last night in a web search and it is a great piece.

    I have learned much from this discussion and appreciate the back and forth.

    The PLD Program does sound terrific in many respects and whether you’re enrolled, hope to be, soon will be, or have already completed it, I offer my congratulations on a great choice!

    The negatives I see are;

    1-the lack of HBS alumni status-which I know you can attain with additional coursework but that can be tough depending on career and geography, to go back and complete more weeks of work. Though, you still obviously will have the network you created while there which presumably would be very valuable. I hope that is something HBS revisits, as it sounds like an intense program and they grant alumni status after the AMP and GMP programs? Is it just that those cat more or are longer or both? Or are they considered superior?

    2- broad recognition. Not of HBS of course or it’s excellence. But more in terms of having it be widely accepted as an alternative to an EMBA. In all my studies over the past couple of years, and in all my time longed onto P&Q for Executives, and on Businessweek Forums, this is the first time that Harvard PLD has come up strongly, if at all? I am aware of it being from the Boston area. My firm is aware of AMP and GMP but not yet PLD. I realize that in 3-5 years everyone may be saying wow…those folks were really ahead of the curve to do PLD but in my world now and on P&Q for execs and regular site, it rarely to never had come up. Why? Not because it is not excellent. Of course not. But because it is not “yet” recognized as an accepted alternative to getting a top tier EMBA.

    This is only my opinion. As I have well heard your opinion, and those of the others on this thread. In time, that may well change and I will not be afraid to acknowledge my potential lack of vision of the “stealth” rising of the PLD to take offer the format of executive education but it is not there yet, at least among corporate perception.

    Many people have talked about the psychology of those pursuing top EMBAs as wanting the satisfaction of having gone to a top school/program. Is it not the same with Harvard Business School and it’s Certificate programs? I am certain it is. Wow…you get to study at Harvard! That may be a part of it, but I argue the real reason in both cases (EMBAs and Certificates) is that people wish to learn and acquire skills, tools, and knowledge that are cutting edge.

    Again, I do not think one is better than the other and i mean that. I think one or the other may be better for the individual in question. For me and my company, the MBA Degree and Alumni status had the most value – for others the opposite may be true…to each their own.

    Thanks agaib

  • Nick

    @ Birchtree

    @ 1) You indeed have to complete coursework but you got 5 years after graduation to do so. Therefore, may take you from as soon as 7 months to 5 years depending on how fast you wanna do it. I do not find it as an inhibiting factor though

    @ 2) Well I agree that the PLD doesnt have the tag of the EMBA but its HBS though which does offer the broad recognition. PLD is younger than AMP. But it will emerge from stealth mode to compete with EMBA- thats Christensen’s and other HBS gurus vision of this program- disruptive innovation they call it.

    PLD has difinitely shown up check it here at Business Week article: http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/nov2007/bs2007111_310993_page_3.htm

  • Birchtree

    @ Nick

    Thanks for the BW article. Nice piece!

    It is good they give you the 5 years to complete the extra required coursework, as I do believe that is a substantial benefit to achieve. It is unfortunate though they do not grant it up front with all the time, effort, and money expended, especially when the do for GMP and AMP. But the importance of the alumni status may vary depending on the potential student in question.

    Again thank you for all the info and I wish you much success in your endeavors!

  • Birchtree

    @John

    Well said. Individual choice and fit and preference is right at the end of the day. I just enjoy discussing this subject. Thanks

  • Ramses

    I have been following the above conversations with high level of attention. Great value in here. After extensive research and discussions with various people, I am in the following situation: I have been accepted at the MIT’s EMBA program but have been checking other options such as the a) PLD, b) the PLD + CFA, c) PLD + NYU Stern MSc in Risk (Executive) + PRM (50% exam exemption). I know all 4 combinations will offer me great boost but which one is more marketable? I know some people go do both the EMBA + PLD or PLD + EMBA but I find it a very expensive proposition. Combination c) fascinates me because I get alumnus of 2 great schools, I get the strategy and MBA type education from HBS and the hardcore skills from Stern + PRM (therefore, I call all angles). This option doesn’t take longer than an EMBA and costs less but I am still uncertain as to which option to choose. Could you help me on this? Thank you kindly. R

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/jbyrne/ John A. Byrne

    Ramses,

    I think you’ll find it hard to get total agreement on this but I would strongly recommend a world-class EMBA program over a Harvard exec ed program or a combination of these things which would lead some employers to think you’re overdoing it. MIT’s EMBA is world class. So is Wharton’s or Columbia’s. Why go the EMBA route? First off, you’ll be in a two-year, lockstep program with a cohort of highly qualified people who you will get to know very well over those two years. A great EMBA program packs in as much knowledge and bonding–with both students and faculty–that will serve you well over the long haul. Secondly, you’ll have an MBA degree from one of the world’s great schools, not merely a certificate that you have to explain to others, even though it is from Harvard. There’s not getting around it: either you have an MBA qualification or you don’t. A certificate is not a substitute for a degree. And finally, you’ll be able to take advantage of a school’s career management office and be a full member of its alumni network. These are very big and important advances. When a school advertises that an exec ed program gives you entree to its alumni network, all it is doing is selling the program. The real proof of this is how that alumni network views you and how eager it is to help. MBAs do not see exec ed people the way way they do other MBAs.

  • Birchtree

    @ John Byrne

    As usual I think the P&Q site has fostered a great conversation here…so thank you. Also, I agree with your comments above strongly but I do recognize all situations and needs vary.

    Thanks

  • Ramses

    John,

    Thank you for your kind advice. I heard extraordinary things about the PLD that’s why I was wondering. People tell me its more executive-ish than an MBA and more MBA-ish than their executive programs so it falls somewhere in between. I was also thinking about getting hardcore skills from Stern and PRM as well. I will not get sponsorship sadly so I have to see which route is value for money. I was also considering Columbia’s EMBA- is it more reputable than MIT’s?

  • tsiro

    Gentlemen,

    I have an EMBA from a top 3 US School. For 1 year now it has been very hard for me to find a job. I have invested for this myself and have been very dissapointed so far. I would like to make the following observations:

    1) As far as connections are concerned, most of them are busy executives which tend to dissapear after the end of the program. This is because they are very busy, have their families and lifes already. I am not saying all of them do but most of them do so. Post graduation networking is far more robust after an MBA program vs an EMBA one.

    2) I read above that a + IRR is realized only after 7 years. I tend to agree with this – the programs are excessively expensive to justify. If you graduate at age of 40 and you wait 7+ years to get a decent IRR – ie by age of at least 47+ … then you get the point.

    3) This is also very important: Most EMBAs have selection criteria which are 40-50% (we are talking about top programs). What does this say to me? ” If you have the money you get in” thats all. You practically buy the insanelly expensive program to satisfy your needs, ego, etc, instead of earning it, as is the case for a pure MBA degree. Lets face it I agree with some comments above that an EMBA is NOT an MBA. People know the selection criteria, and people know that you had $ and the time to invest.

    4) The story is completely different if you get sponsored for it by your company. This shows that you are aa star and that the company is investing in you. This is a very important distinction.

    After the experience I ve had, if I were to go back and reset my decision I would only consider that MS Sloan at Stanford and possibly the EMBA at Wharton. Everything else I would put in the same basket (this excludes Harvard which has a highly selective executive program and certainly depends if you wish to have an EMBA tag or not on your resume).

  • Birchtree

    @ tsiro

    Thanks for sharing this information. Sorry to hear that your experience has not been positive.

    Do you think that your experience is representative broadly of the EMBA degree experience or as much related to weekend economy?

    One thing I feel strongly about is that EMBA graduates from top programs, which you are, are not likely competing for the same jobs as their traditional MBA counterparts.

    I would guess you had roughly between 12 and 15 years +/- of management/leadership experience prior to your EMBA program. Whereas, a traditional MBA participant likely has between 2 and 6 years +/- of work experience. Given these facts it is less than likely that the EMBA grad and MBA grad would compete for the same job.

    it is inherently more challenging to find high executive level positions as they are more scarce than the mid level with much upside positions that a newly minted MBA my go after following their respective internships.

    Add to this equation a very challenging economic and hiring environment and I think the picture can look tough.

    I just think the comparison between the traditional MBA and EMBA is really tough aside from the awarding of the same degree.

    Best wishes

  • tsiro

    I think so many people have followed the same EMBA path- so they have been flooding the market. Particularly those who did not get into a top tier 15-20 MBA in their 20s or 30s and who want to get a 2nd chance to put the name on their CV in lates 30s early 40s. This has created oversupply though. On top of it, the environment is very rough, I must say. Being in investment banking you must demonstrate hardcore skills on top off all. So some of suggestions mentioned above including FRM, PRM and CFA, I consider to have enormous value. In this highly competitive work environment I have started seeing people with many qualifications on top of their MBAs. Surprisingly, I have even started seeing HBS MBAs with FRM, PRM and CFA tags after their name. Some top MSc programs facilitate faster track through substantial exemptions, providing an interesting combo (not aware of any EMBA programs that offer that) in addition to their MBA degrees.

  • tsiro

    I would like to add that while you may not have to compete with new MBAs, you have to compete with old MBAs though who have the same yrs of experience as you. The incremental boost post MBA quality and purely $ wise is much more prevalent vs the boost post EMBA. This means that on average, a Wharton MBA has had better career trajectory vs a Wharton EMBA just because the MBA has started very early his/her top notch career. Quality wise, educations is the same, I can even say that probably the EMBA programs may have the very best B-School professors having to tackle with demanding experienced students. But career wise, MBAs had a better career experience than EMBAs from the same school given the same years work experience just because of the initial boost to highly competitive careers.

  • Birchtree

    @ tsiro

    Great information and perspective! I also think that MBAs in general seem to be more of a commodity than in the past, as many have had the desire to pursue them in whatever format best suits their particulars. Whether tradational 2 year or in the executive format, which is why I believe going to the best program one can is so important.

    As for competing with old MBAs, I think your point is well made and well taken, but in my own conversations/research with several firms and hiring professionals, I found a repeated theme – what would potentially contribute more meaninfully to a hiring company; a MBA from a top school from 10-15 years ago or a new EMBA from a top tier school today. On balance the two are likely comparable, but the new EMBA may offer more current and fresh perspectives/theories than the older version, and that “could” be a competitive advantage to work off of…

    Just thoughts…

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/jbyrne/ John A. Byrne

    Tsiro,

    I’d be interested in hearing how helpful or not your school’s career management staff has been in your job search. Most top EMBA programs have at least a dedicated staffer or two and some executive coaches who can offer advice and counsel.

  • PL

    John,

    I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts and analysis on why HBS and Stanford are not creating EMBA degrees. Is it because they have sufficient revenue/endowments or to preserve the “value” of their full-time MBA degrees?

    Also, curious why those two programs are also not eager in expanding their reach into other cities?

  • Paul

    John,

    I would very interested to hear your analysis or speculations on why HBS and Stanford are not so eager in establishing degree awarding EMBA programs.

    Also, do you think campus site expansion is an advantage for Wharton and Booth or does it dilute their focus? When I visited Booth I get the impression that rarely would full-time MBA students want to spend another semester overseas at Singapore/London just because so much is being offered at the Harper Center.

    I am curious about these “strategic directions” as the decisions were supposedly made with the input of the best strategy teachers in business.

    Thanks!

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/jbyrne/ John A. Byrne

    Paul,

    The stated reason is they don’t want to dilute the value of their two-year, full-time programs. For years, they would divert execs into their exec education course catalog, specifically the multi-week general management program (at HBS, this is the AMP for Advanced Management Program). I believe, however, that some schools and their leadership tend to be more commercial than academic and saw that they have a valuable brand that should be extended. So these schools, which include Wharton, Northwestern and Duke, had leaders who wanted to seize market opportunities and thought of their schools less as academic places and more like businesses. If some other brands had similar leadership, you would have seen a lot more EMBA development. For example, Yale should have had an EMBA program in New York City and Dartmouth should have had one in Boston. Why? Because they would have been huges successes in markets where there are a lot of Yale and Dartmouth undergrads.

  • bob

    Referring to Johns question:

    Well from the perspective of the school, in order to be more efficient, you need standardization. A top tier school generally has a lot of homogeneity in its applicant profile : 3-5 yrs work xp; top GMATs; perhaps pre MBA job at GS, MS, same firms, same undergrad profiles, top grades, etc and you can segregate these people’s profiles easily distinguishable groups making it far easier and efficient for business schools to support them career wise. In contrast, in an EMBA, while you have high achievers, the work experience, background, age, etc does not have such homogeneous characteristics compared to a typical MBA group from the same school, therefore making it far less cost effective and harder for the school’s career office to adapt fast to your specific needs/requirements. You need more tailor made “consulting” and assistance. Therefore, while many EMBA schools do have some kind of career officer, the support you get is not close to what one would get in an MBA program, not only because of the aforementioned constraints, but also due to the fact that most of them assume that you are employed already. The support therefore, has more passive characteristics- all schools place emphasis on their MBA students because its their MBA program which drives the school’s reputation and therefore its demand for other programs including the EMBA. At the executive level, I know that the very best career resources can be found at HBS, even when compared to EMBA graduates from other schools, and this applies to the support provided for the PLD, GMP and AMP graduates.

    Birchtree,

    You have a point there in terms of refreshing your education but the 15 yr old MBAs do not sleep at night. How they refresh their knowledge: they get more specialized degrees; they get ( as aptly mentioned above) certifications; they go to top tier executive programs. The difference here is the initial boost. If when you start you have a boost of 10k miles vs 2k miles, then the solid beginning plays a catalytic role in your career trajectory. It is harder to change your trajectory after 15 years of work experience which on average, could be 5, 10, 15% inferior had you started more strong.

  • Birchtree

    @ Bob,

    Great and thoughtful points. And I do very much appreciate the value of specialized designations/certifications (CFA etc) but as you’ve read from my other posts, I disagree that HBS’s Certificate Programs (PLD, AMP, GMP) are automatically a superior proposition to prospective executives than a top tier EMBA. (and I know they are excellent-no dispute). I believe if you already have an MBA from the past than sure, why pursue an EMBA now and have a second MBA. In this case, which is common, than absolutely one the outstanding HBS Certificate Programs would be a great potential choice. However, there are many executives, who never went for an MBA Degree in their early career days potentially for a multitude of reasons, and who have achieved tremendous success and whose fellow peers/colleagues believe they are on track to lead their companies or another company in the future – and to these individuals, I and many others, believe and Executive MBA Degree would be an excellent option to consider in addition to the aforementioned HBS Certificate programs.

    There are no absolutes in this world. There is a reason Wharton, Chicago Columbia, Duke, Northwestern, Cornell and many other great business schools have grown their EMBA offerings and that people are pursuing them – because they have been found to add value. Sure they make money for the schools in question and sure the students that attend the programs have by and large been satisfied with their ROI. It is a product that serves a need.
    HBS began offering the AMP program back in 1945 (I believe). They have continued and expanded Into many many other programs-why? I know-For the same reasons. They have a ready and willing market of participants that they provide a valuable product to-and they also make a lot of money doing and plan on making a lot more with the new building construction.
    I just go back again to my repeated point -there is no one Best executive education option, there are many outstanding choices and folks just need to find and identify the one that works/fits best with them and their companies and/or goals.
    Thanks

  • bob

    Birchtree,

    It appears that you jump to the issue directed to John’s question with regard to career resources in which I could give my opinion, and not to the MBA vs EMBA issue directed to you.

    Anyway, having performed substantial research on the issue (because I believe, we are all on the same basket) I can tell you the market perception on program marketability with high degree of confidence:

    Ranking perception:

    1) MBA from top tier 10-15 US Business Schools >~ 2) EMBA from top 2-3 B-Schools > 3) HBS AMP, GMP, PLDA (PLDA= HBS Alumni) > 4) Top 10 EMBA > 5) all the rest. Note: HBS + CFA or PRM or FRM > Top tier 10 US MBAs (not better than top tier 5 MBAs htough)

  • Birchtree

    @ Bob,

    Thanks for the feedback again! Sorry if I jumped – just find the topic and your insights interesting.

    I (and many others including Many sponsoring firms) have performed similar research and simply come to a different conclusion – again does not mean conclusively one or the other is right – and I like hearing the opinions.

    That is what makes this World more interesting and the demand for all of these choices is strong and their are great options out there. I do not believe and clearly as noted in this forum and others that this is a definitive topic. Everyone is an expert that has looked into it with the effort that you and I might have or our respective firms and all have drawn conclusions that they are highly confident about – including both of us.

    Great points and I appreciate your points.

  • bob

    Birchtree,

    You are absolutely right everyone has his/her own objectives and as you say there are great options out there. The world has become so competitive though that you are always in this race to keep up your competitiveness whether you are an MBA, EMBA, CFA, etc. You cannot imagine how many MBAs, EMBAs and CFAs I ve met who complain and who always look at what they miss vis a vis others instead of being thankful to what they have.

  • Birchtree

    Agreed! Thanks again.

  • bob
  • Paul

    John,

    Thanks for sharing your view and analysis!

  • Birchtree

    @ bob

    Very interesting perspectives on that chain. Thanks!

  • Aiden

    @ Somer

    Where we’re you able to find or determne the admissions acceptance stats for the PLD?

  • Rmagnus

    Paul,

    I know something about Booth’s EMBA program in Singapore as I know more than 10 people who did the program over the past 10 years.  Booth’s EMBA program is one of the easiest programs to get into.  As a result, the quality of participants is kinda questionable. My friends complain of having classmates that cannot hold a serious conversation in English and you can bet not everyone pulls his/her own weight at team assignments becos simply not everyone has the communication skills to do so.  Booth professors are so concerned that EMBA students would fail the exams that they drop less than subtle hints during review sessions, including solving problem sets that somehow find their way into exams.  In the words of one of my slacker friends, Booth EMBA is a great program to compete with losers.  No wonder he topped the class.  How’s that for a pyrrhic victory?  I’m not surprised Booth full-timers don’t want to spend time with their EMBA bozo counterparts. It’s clear that the Booth EMBA programs are diluting Booth’s brand.

  • Heath Benton

    Very true. Plus it depends on the area you want to move into. For example, I have seen many co-workers who had analyst and associate positions at my real estate private equity company (one of the top in the world) get their MSc in Real Estate Finance & Investment from NYU (pay 100% by the firm) and then 1 month post grad they are bumped to Vice President and in some case President. There is more than one solution if you look for it.

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