If you have decided to pursue an Executive MBA, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed by the choices available. Especially if you are open to commuting long distances or even going overseas for your EMBA, you may quite literally have a world of options before you.
Not only are there many EMBA programs available, but you may wonder if there are substantial differences between them. While many EMBA programs look similar at first glance, there are often significant considerations that set them apart.
Here are four tips to help you decide which EMBA program is likely to be the best fit for you.
1. Find an EMBA program that has a schedule that works for you
EMBAs are scheduled to reflect the fact that students often work full time. However, that does not mean all EMBA programs offer the same class schedule. Some programs schedule their classes in the evenings, while others offer full-day classes on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays, often on alternating weeks or once a month. Some also offer more online courses than others, which are useful if getting time off work is difficult.
Keep in mind any residency or overseas visits that are part of the program, which may require that you take off a week or more at a time. You will probably need to discuss this with your employer to secure time off, so knowing what the schedule is beforehand can help you better prepare for that conversation.
2. Examine the admissions process and Executive MBA test required
Most EMBA programs will require an Executive MBA test in some form as part of the admissions process. Some schools utilize their own tests, while many others use the same standardized tests as other MBA programs. It is up to each school to decide which test results they accept as part of their admissions requirements.
While the admissions process might not be at the forefront of your mind, it is useful to consider this aspect. Why? Because a lengthy admissions process will take up valuable time and resources before you even begin your program. For some, this might not be a significant concern. But if time is something you’re particularly worried about, and you’re trying to narrow down your list of programs to apply to, this factor could help you make a final choice.
Want to learn more about studying for the Executive Assessment? Check out 3 Tips for Preparing for the Executive Assessment test.
3. Consider how the EMBA aligns with your own career goals
Individual business schools have strengths in different areas. For example, some business schools may be strong in helping you as an executive business masters candidate transition to a career in the healthcare sector, while others may have a stronger focus on entrepreneurship. Our own research shows that for 45 percent of EMBA candidates, their first consideration is narrowing down the specific schools they want to apply to.
There are several ways you can determine what a school’s strengths are. You can check the faculty page on the school’s website to see whether their professors specialize in subjects that interest you. Many schools may have a strong reputation in certain areas compared to others. Ask colleagues, including those who have already completed a similar program, what they think of your top choices.
4. Find a location that will benefit you
Location matters when it comes to business school. For 15 percent of EMBA candidates, regional location is their first consideration when choosing a program. A school’s location is important for many reasons. One is convenience. A school located close to where you live and work will be easier to commute to.
However, long-distance commuting is also common among EMBA students. By commuting long-distance, you can take advantage of a school’s ties to local industries and sectors, including those not commonly found where you live. A business school in Silicon Valley, for example, is more likely to have connections with leading technology firms, whereas a school in New York City or London may have a stronger financial or investment focus. Many EMBA programs, particularly joint programs, include overseas components, such as classes and company visits, in different countries and regions. These components expose you to global perspectives and business practices, which you can then use to boost your own career. By taking these factors into consideration, you can narrow your list of programs and ultimately choose the one that fits your needs best.
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