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MBA Vs EMBA: Essential criteria to consider


You want to get a business degree, but you aren’t sure whether the Full-Time MBA or Executive MBA is right for you.

Brian O’Connell, of TheStreet, recently discussed the differences between the two degrees and how prospective applicants can decide which is right from them.


For O’Connell, the Full-Time MBA is a flexible degree that can be applied to a variety of industries.

“While an MBA’s core disciplines are in the business arena, an MBA can also prove useful in a number of other professional categories, including law, public policy, urban planning, marketing, sales and a myriad of careers,” O’Connell writes.

Yet, as flexible as the degree is, it comes with a few pre-requisites.

“The MBA student needs to pass and complete a core academic series of subjects, including finance and economics, accounting, operations and logistics, and marketing classes,” O’Connell writes. “More recently, many colleges and universities require a technology element as well, such as financial/technology (fin-tech), logistics, data analysis and statistics, and technology product development.”

The GMAT is, traditionally, the standardized exam you’ll need to take to get into an MBA program. However, more schools are now accepting the GRE as well.

“The GMAT is considered tougher in the math department due to its data sufficiency questions, while the GRE Verbal section’s emphasis on vocabulary can make it tougher for non-native speakers and those who don’t regularly read complex literature,” according to The Economist.


The Executive MBA (EMBA) has similarities to the MBA. However, the degree is catered more to applicants who are well-established in their professional sectors.

“By and large, EMBA students have already worked in the real world, usually as a manager, executive, analyst, or other high-level position at a company, organization or government agency,” O’Connell writes. “While they’re at graduate school, EMBA candidates usually keep their full-time jobs and study in their spare hours.”

To that extent, EMBA candidates tend to be older.

“More or less, the average EMBA student is 28-years-of-age or older while the average MBA student is in the 22 to 25 age range,” O’Connell writes.

Additionally, the EMBA curriculum tends to not require electives, unlike the MBA.

“In bypassing elective courses, EMBA students can better focus on the core curriculum schools require to graduate,” O’Connell writes.


O’Connell says it’s important for applicants to consider their personal situation when deciding between the two degrees.

“If you’re already in the professional sector for five or 10 years (or more) and have made progress as a manager or executive, you’ve likely bypassed the need for an MBA and can move right on to an EMBA program,” he writes. “MBA program applicants may do better if they have no or low professional work experience and are looking to add some luster to their academic record so they can land a better job in their chosen vocation.”

Sources: TheStreet, Economist

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