We get it, the EMBA is not the preferred format for many applicants interested in bschool.
But guess what? The EMBA is a pretty darned good alternative and many excellent schools have incredible offerings!!
As our recent Post-MBA Perspective series from a former BSer has pointed out, it’s a very individual decision and sometimes people don’t come to it easily.
It’s important to counter the fallacy that you can be “too old” for a regular full-time MBA program — though there is some truth in it, as there always is in the best lies propagated on the internet. Acceptance to bschool is never predicated on age. We have seen plenty (plenty!!) of BSers in their 30s who make it into all the schools in the world. At the same time, there is a standard age range for the cohort in any given program, and the adcoms need to be specifically impressed with someone who brings more years of professional experience with them on their application, in order to make an offer if they’re significantly outside the norm. There are always a lot of moving parts to any MBA application, and to someone who has more than ten years of experience then those moving parts need to be handled carefully in how the presentation to the adcom is made.
And, sometimes it just doesn’t work out, either aiming too high for the profile, or not pitching effectively. And for a BSer who really has decided that yes, business school would be an awesome opportunity and an advantage in furthering his or her career, then sometimes it makes sense to look at other options available.
Do you know how many Executive MBA programs there are? Quite a few! At many of the very best schools.
Here’s a quick lay-of-the-land to get you acquainted with what we would nominate as “the best” EMBA programs in the U.S. for you to consider:
EssaySnark’s Loosely Organized List of Notable Executive MBA Programs
(Basically, any top school that offers an EMBA is going to be on this list; it’s roughly organized by level of selectivity.)
- Wharton EMBA SF and Philly – probably the most selective EMBA programs around. Really tough to get into! And worth it if you do.
- Columbia EMBA NY – various formats including Friday/Saturday, weekends-only, and partnered EMBA with LBS, etc. More EMBA options than perhaps any other school. Also quite flexible on who they’ll accept; need not be a senior exec to demonstrate fit to a CBS program.
- MIT Sloan EMBA – they go for specifically more senior professionals in this track; they also have a shorter format one-year Sloan Fellows MBA for those with more experience than would be a fit for their regular two-year program.
- Chicago Booth EMBA Chicago, London or Hong Kong (and part-time MBA programs in Chicago too) – also more flexible on admissions, and currently catering to larger geographies including folks commuting from places like NYC (presumably who didn’t get into Columbia?? commuting for school is really a drag, though more and more students are doing it, to more and more places, especially up and down the West Coast)
- Kellogg EMBA Evanston (Chicago) or Miami – where a GMAT isn’t even required! Their Miami option caters to Latin America business, though not exclusively.
- NYU Stern with a variety of EMBA and part-time tracks on offer, including a recently launched Washington DC EMBA program, and their very exclusive TRIUM for senior execs
- Berkeley Haas EMBA which oddly we don’t hear many BSers being interested in, possibly because Haas has a part-time format which is a very strong draw for those in the Bay Area who want to stay working while pursuing their degree
- Michigan Ross EMBA including Global EMBA that had traditionally catered to an international student body interested especially in supply chain and overseas business, though this has changed in recent years
- UVA Darden which has had a Global EMBA for some time and has for several years also been expanding into the Washington DC area (Darden went to DC before NYU did, and of course Georgetown McDonough is also in DC)
- Yale EMBA which is one of the longer programs (22 months) and which, like Berkeley, we just don’t get that many people saying they’re interested in, but it’s well respected and a high-quality offering
- UCLA Anderson EMBA with different cohorts in LA and also through a joint program at National University Singapore
- Cornell EMBA with a new-ish NYC option along with a long-running joint program cohosted in Ithaca and at Queen’s University in Canada
Phew! That’s quite a list!
So who’s missing? Well, Stanford GSB has a non-EMBA EMBA — meaning, they have a unique offering that is targeted to the same type of more senior professional as other Executive programs, yet its got a totally different format (full-time residential, much closer to a standard full-time MBA) and a different degree (a Master’s, instead of the coveted little letters of “M-B-A”). It’s nearly identical to the Sloan Fellows program noted above (it was founded through a grant from Alfred Sloan, way back when, just like the MIT version was, and then renamed in the last ten years; LBS has a Sloan format too). The Stanford MSx is an awesome opportunity but we’re carving it out separate since it’s not technically an EMBA. But, it may as well be, in terms of the education offered, and, well, it’s Stanford. Not easy to get in!! At least as competitive as Wharton EMBA. But definitely a valuable option to consider if you’re in the market for a top-notch business education.
Where can you NOT go for an EMBA? There’s actually a handful of schools that don’t offer any formal MBA degree to this cohort, notably Harvard Business School and Dartmouth Tuck.
Some of the EMBA programs listed above are quite accommodating in terms of who they will consider for their programs based on age and career trajectory to date and overall levels of experience (Ross, Columbia, Darden); others (notably NYU, Berkeley, some of MIT’s tracks, etc.) are much more restrictive. Plus, the programs themselves vary widely. Some include travel to different locations with your cohort every semester; others only meet at your university’s campus. Most will require nearly as much group work as a full-time program does with your fellow students, though obviously the manner in which those projects are completed will differ greatly based on the distributed population. So the experience of going to class and meeting with teammates will not be the same. But, if you have diverse responsibilities already based on where your career is at and/or family obligations, then having a more flexible format might actually end up as ideal.
So today’s post is just to help you keep an open mind, and consider your options.