MBA vs EMBA Degrees - Deciding Which Business Degree to Study Abroad in 2019

Masters of Business Administration (MBAs) are some of the most popular Business degrees from the last ten years that continue to attract a large number of international students, despite the high competition and pricey tuition rates. First introduced at universities and colleges in the United States, now you can choose from over 2,500 MBA programmes from all over the world, most of them English-taught.

On the other hand, EMBAs (Executive MBAs) are considered one of the best investments you can make for your future; international business schools and universities introduced EMBA programmes to answer the learning needs of working executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and other business leaders.

Here are a few universities where you can apply for an MBA or EMBA right now:

But what really sets apart EMBAs from their more traditional counterpart? Check out how MBAs and EMBAs are different in terms of study schedule, admission requirements, curriculum and costs:

1. Who are MBAs and EMBAs for?

An EMBA (Executive Master of Business Administration) is similar to a common MBA, except for the fact that they are designed for experienced working professionals, particularly chief officers, managers or business owners. Because they are working individuals, EMBA students can attend evening or weekend classes, enabling them to finish the Master’s degree within two years or less.

Most EMBA students are between 32 and 38 years old, while the average age for MBA students ranges between 24 and 30 years old.

Find EMBAs worldwide

2. Class schedule and study duration

The class schedules for a traditional MBA degree are less flexible. Most MBAs are full-time, students have intensive schedules, which doesn’t usually allow them to combine the MBA with a regular job. An MBA usually takes two years to complete, but it can be extended to three or four years if you choose to study part-time.

Other differences relate to the special services offered to EMBA students, which MBA students don’t benefit from; EMBA students are offered registration assistance, meal delivery, textbooks, and other helpful tools. They also have the same colleagues throughout the entire duration of their course, compared to MBA students who usually have different classmates from one year to the other. In terms of networking, meeting new people each year is an unbeatable advantage for MBA students.

3. Application requirements for Business degrees

The following entry requirements are the most common ones you are likely to find in most business schools worldwide.

MBA degree entry requirements

  • at least 3 years of postgraduate professional work experience
  • experience in a supervisor role not mandatory, but it is preferred
  • GMAT (600 or above)
  • IELTS – average minimum score 7.0 or TOEFL minimum 100 internet-based, 600 paper-based

EMBA degree entry requirements

  • a minimum of 6.5 years of work experience (although over 10 years of work experience is more common among most EMBA students)
  • management or supervisory experience preferred (some schools require at least three years of leadership experience)
  • GMAT or GRE (600 - 740)
  • IELTS – average minimum score 7.0 or TOEFL minimum 100 internet-based, 600 paper-based

Additional requirements may include professional recommendations, an in-person interview, and a resume or personal statement.

Check the GMAT score required at some of the best business schools in the U.S.

Business schools offering great MBA degrees

Examples of business schools worldwide that offer both MBA and EMBA programmes and have the entry requirements mentioned above:

4. MBA and EMBA course curriculum

Most MBA programmes include a basic curriculum of subject areas, such as accounting, economics, marketing, and business operations, as well as elective courses that allow participants to acquire more knowledge about fields of study according to their own personal or professional interests. Within some business schools, MBA candidates can complete an internship at a company or organization, which can lead to possible job opportunities after completing their MBA.

Students can also specialise in fields like Health Care, Sports Management, Hospitality, and Supply Chain. In addition, most times, MBA students can choose when to take a class and they can select from a wide range of electives.

The curriculum for an EMBA is similar to that of a regular MBA, with the only distinction that classes are more fast-paced. Some of the more general courses including studies in entrepreneurship, finance, management, marketing, and strategic management.

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5. Tuition costs of MBAs and EMBAs

The cost of an Executive MBA programme is variable depending on the school you attend, but it is usually higher than the tuition of a traditional MBA programme. There are ways to fund your Business degree and you might even cover at least part of your tuition through a benefits package provided by your own employer. 80% to 90% of companies pay their employees’ tuition for an Executive MBA and some of the major Fortune 100 corporations will assume partial or the entire cost of an MBA course.

A useful tip for saving costs of an MBA would be to apply for a one-year MBA programme (instead of a two-year study course).

Compare MBAs worldwide

Average MBA degree costs

  • In the U.S.: around 50,000 USD

To this amount, you would have to add another 20,000 USD for boarding and book expenses, depending on your location.

  • In the UK: around 15,000 GBP
  • In the rest of Europe: between 36,000 and 65,000 USD

However, you can find business schools or MBA programmes within universities in Europe that cost between 15,000 and 36,000 USD.

Average EMBA degree costs

  • In the U.S.: 160,000 USD

However, you can also find EMBA programmes that cost 50,000 USD.

  • In the UK: 18,000 GBP
  • The rest of Europe: between 21,000 and 29,000 EUR

Since the cost for these study opportunities is very high, all MBA students think about ROI (return of investment). It seems the average tuition payback time is between four and seven years.

How to choose between an MBA and an EMBA?

The basic things that you need to remember and that might help you decide are:

  • MBA classes usually have a fixed schedule, compared to EMBAs, where students attend classes in the evenings and on weekends.
  • Due to the class flexibility, EMBA students can easily combine study with a job.
  • MBA students have a broader option of elective courses, compared to EMBA students.
  • Because EMBA students usually have o electives, you can finish an EMBA in the same amount of time as an MBA.

Both study options offer you a unique credibility in the business environment, allowing you to find career opportunities in a wide range of industries. MBAs and Executive MBAs are recognised everywhere, so you aren’t limited to finding a job in your home country. An MBA or EMBA graduate usually earns a higher salary, ranging from 90,000 to 150,000 EUR per year on average.

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Master in Business Administration (MBA)


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