We discussed the Executive MBA option in considerable depth back in February (first post of that series here: Why is EMBA a four-letter word?).
We also discussed GMAT scores and admissions standards in EMBA programs – including some bschools like Kellogg that don’t even require a GMAT for admission to their Executive MBA. Cornell Johnson has some EMBA options where the GMAT is also not a standard requirement – though they can ask an applicant to submit a test score if they have concerns about that person’s proficiency (we have no idea how often that might happen). Obviously if you’re trying for any of these GMAT-optional programs and you have a GMAT or GRE score already, then go ahead and submit that with your app. But if you don’t, and you have evidence in some other aspect of your profile that you have quant proficiencies such as the analytical nature of your job or some earlier training from college or whatever, then you should be fine.
This GMAT / no GMAT policy thing can give you some insights into the respective schools’ strategies for filling the seats in their EMBA tracks – which, remember, are profit centers (we discussed the profit centers thing a bit along with bschool tuition in another series we did a long time ago about “Is there a bubble in demand for the MBA?” – first part of that series is here).
It’s worth pointing out that the EMBA tends to be more expensive than the respective school’s F/T program (as if that were possible! dang it, getting an MBA is pricey).
However, you also can expect a different student experience to go along with that higher EMBA price tag. Many EMBA programs give their students white-glove service, partly because of the price but also because they’re dealing with a different type of person, usually. Someone who’s, uh, an executive. You know, getting the first class seat on the plane type thing. Students in an EMBA are treated like adults, and in some cases with certain program formats at certain schools, attending class is more like a retreat, where you stay with your cohort at one pre-arranged hotel location and all meals are catered. Most EMBA students do not have to head to the campus bookstore to procure their textbooks (how quaint – a textbook!). If any physical books are assigned for a course, they magically appear for the students when needed – meaning the EMBA program services staff distribute them at the start of the semester.
But of course you pay for this. It’s embedded into that higher rate. The schools can justify that because a) traditionally the cost of an Executive MBA was covered by the employer for most students, and b) the students are older and already well established in their careers, where a six-digit price tag for this exclusive experience is not going to cause quite the same level of sticker shock or be the deterrent that it might be for a younger BSer.
While we think that tuition is way ridiculous for the top business schools out there and we are often shocked at how the schools continually raise the rates – like, every single year, the tuition goes up at pretty much all of the schools, to the tune of 4% or more, which is way higher than inflation these days, it’s extortionist yet everyone has to just go along with it (unless of course there’s a bubble in the demand for this prestigious education which we simply don’t see popping anytime soon, even though it did for law schools – again see that 2014 series on the the MBA bubble and the cost of education here if you’re interested) – so even though the schools are committing highway robbery in fleecing you out of six figures in exchange for three little letters after your name*, even so, we still believe it’s worth it. For most people, the boost to earnings potential you’ll receive by going through an MBA program is significant, and the ROI is justifiable. The tuition canNOT continue to be increased every single year to infinity so at some point there will be a reckoning and a shaking-out, where cost is factored in to more people’s decisions to pursue the MBA in the first place. However these days, it’s pretty rare where we hear someone using cost as a factor in deciding where to apply.
In fact, since we’re mentioning posts from the ‘Snarchive today, here’s one that may put things in perspective, comparing admissions, tuition and placement data between University of Pennsylvania Wharton and Penn State Smeal.
Most people who are able to land a spot in a top MBA program are also able to qualify for the student loans to pay for it. There are more and more funding options coming on board for MBA studies including peer-to-peer lending sites started by grads of Wharton and another out of Stanford. If you’re smart, you don’t take on personal debt lightly, but this is a case where almost always it ends up being very worthwhile.
That being said, the Executive MBA has an even higher price tag than its full-time sister program, so especially if you’re self-funding this endeavor rather than having the generosity of an employer behind you, make sure you’re looking at all the angles and carefully considering what you will get for your money.
*We’ve mentioned this before but… Please don’t put “MBA” after your name on your resume or in your LinkedIn profile. The MBA is a dime a dozen, there’s a gazillion people out there with one, so when we see someone broadcasting it that way, dunno, it comes across – to the ‘Snark at least – as a little bit ridiculous. It’s not like you earned a doctorate or something.