Differences between a Traditional MBA and an Executive MBA Program

Individuals looking to advance their careers and seek increased opportunities in leadership capacities often look to pursue a Masters in Business Administration. Today’s MBA programs are very flexible, and students have a multitude of ways they can earn this advanced business degree.

As flexibility has evolved to become an important attribute in modern higher education, the MBA is no exception. Today’s students can earn an MBA full-time, part-time, online, evenings and weekends or through accelerated programs.

Additionally, for those individuals already working in leadership capacities, but without the advanced degree, there is the executive MBA program to consider. While a traditional MBA and an executive MBA share similar attributes, there are a couple of notable distinctions, primarily related to demographics.

Jeff Greer writes in U.S. News,  “The main differences between a more traditional M.B.A.—be it a full-time, one- or two-year program or a part-time M.B.A.—and an executive M.B.A. are job status and program structure.”

• Traditional MBA program

Many individuals who have earned their undergraduate degree go on to pursue MBA degrees as this type of degree possesses a lot of versatility. An MBA can open the doors to many career opportunities for anyone from a medical doctor to the small business owner and everything else in between.

This is because the foundational and well-rounded knowledge gleaned in an MBA program can be applied in most any field.  Students in MBA programs may come from a business background, or may have a different kind of experience.

Most students are required to take the GMAT exam as a part of the admissions process, although some schools may defer this requirement if the student’s undergrad GPA is strong. Average age of an MBA student is about 28 years old and has a few years of work experience.

Many MBA students are looking to make career changes.

• Executive MBA program

Commonly referred to as an EMBA, this form of MBA program is a great option for individuals planning to stay with the career track they are already on. The schedules for classes are designed to be compatible with work schedules.

While the information learned is similar, the demographics differ for the executive MBA student. Most EMBA students are in their mid-thirties, and have over a decade of work experience under their belts. Often students do not need to take the GMAT exam as a requirement to be accepted into the program.

From an academic perspective, there is not a lot of difference in what is taught in the classroom, be it traditional or virtual. The primary differences between the MBA and the EMBA are demographic in nature and relate to how the information is delivered to the student.