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How does an Executive MBA differ from a traditional MBA?

Executive MBA program participants are typically older and have more extensive business experience than students in a traditional, full-time MBA program. The program presumes a certain depth of business knowledge. As a result, Executive MBA students are able to complete their degrees with less classroom time than those in full-time programs.

Another key difference is that Executive MBA students continue their careers while they study, seeking to enrich their learning and accelerate their career path while remaining in their organization. By contrast, full-time MBA students are most often looking to re-orient their career by making geographic, industry and/or functional job changes and will interrupt their working-life for one or two years in order to obtain their degree and refocus their careers.

How should I decide whether to apply for IMD's Executive MBA or full-time MBA program?

Where you are in your career is the key to deciding whether the Executive MBA or the full-time MBA best suits your needs. The IMD Executive MBA is for more experienced professionals with a minimum of 10 years of solid business experience who seek to accelerate their career to senior management levels. If you are looking to combine study with your career, and you have substantial business experience and the support of your organization, the Executive MBA is for you. If you are interested in a career change, have a minimum of three years' work experience and see an MBA as a step towards making that change, the full-time program is the more appropriate choice.

How does a weekend Executive MBA differ from a modular Executive MBA?

Many Executive MBA programs run "weekend programs," where classes are held on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Some programs run every Friday/Saturday, some run every other weekend. These weekend Executive MBAs demand frequent attendance and as a result, close proximity to the learning institution. The modular approach offers an alternative where the program is delivered in blocks of time with extensive distance learning modules interspersed between face-to-face learning experiences. For example, the IMD Executive MBA brings students together for a total of nine weeks over the course of the program. Weekend programs tend to attract those who live near the institution offering the program since they are most able to meet the obligation of attending classes every week. It is difficult to attract an international class because weekly travel time and costs can be prohibitive. The design of IMD's Executive MBA program, on the other hand, draws together a globally diverse group of experienced managers. It limits travel costs and time by concentrating class sessions into blocks of time.

How does an Executive MBA differ from a part-time MBA?

The key difference is in the word "Executive." IMD's Executive MBA program really is targeted to executives: proven managers with substantial work experience. Part-time programs may have a profile closer to that of the full-time MBA student - younger and with less work experience


What is the emphasis of the IMD Executive MBA program?

The five major topics of the IMD Executive MBA program are: business fundamentals, globalization, leadership, innovation and execution. The practice-oriented program is not structured around traditional courses but instead on specific themes that are important for business and management - now and in the coming years. It aims to broaden your perspective in three ways:

  • To give you a more integrated view of the overall business system
  • To give you a view across countries and cultures
  • To develop you learning capabilities

The IMD Executive MBA program takes a general management perspective and prepares you to take on broader and more challenging leadership positions.

The program also focuses on the process of learning itself. The ability to continually access, develop and renew your own knowledge and hence your company's, is more important than ever. The ability to investigate, discover and evaluate new ideas and trends will differentiate the best from the rest in a world where borders are blurring and change is accelerating. The IMD Executive MBA focuses on developing these skills. The program seeks to create value for you and your company from day one. The practice-orientation means what you learn will be useable right away. And company-related assignments ensure immediate payback from the program for you and your sponsoring company.

As a past participant explained: "At other schools you get five good books to read, but at IMD you get five great ideas to use Monday morning."

Does the IMD Executive MBA use the case-study method for learning?

Your skills and knowledge will be expanded through a large palette of learning methods: classes with IMD's world class faculty; case studies; guest presentations featuring real-life challenges; exercises and role-play in negotiation, problem solving and conflict resolution; management simulations; collaborative teamwork and personal coaching. You will be challenged by the work, by the professors and by your peers - a dynamic group of highly motivated, experienced managers from around the world.

What is the curriculum of the IMD Executive MBA program?

The IMD Executive MBA is a modular program consisting of two stages: the Foundation Stage and the Mastery Stage. The curriculum of the different modules is outlined in more detail below.

The Foundation Stage : Building Business Fundamentals

The Foundation Stage has two components: (1) a 20 day, on-campus module called Foundations for Business Leadership and a (2) five-week Advanced Management Concepts distance-learning module. Together, these two rigorous modules provide the necessary knowledge base to launch into your EMBA Mastery Stage work.

Foundations for Business Leadership (FBL) focuses on refining your cross-functional skills and capabilities needed to move into business leadership positions, while Advanced Management Concepts ensures that your understanding of business fundamentals has reached the level required for the Mastery Stage.

There is an assessment at the end of Advanced Management Concepts; successful completion is a requirement for entry to the Mastery Stage of the program. For more information on Foundations for Business Leadership, click here.

During the Foundation Stage, you will learn to:

  • Strengthen your knowledge and understanding of key business functions
  • Become aware of how value is created by integrating functions
  • Master the application of these new and enhanced capabilities to complex business issues
  • Gain a deeper understanding of strategy implementation challenges
  • Understand business fundamentals and your effectiveness as a team member

The Mastery Stage - Mastering Your Learning

The Mastery Stage is comprised of three on-campus core modules, plus three off-campus Discovery Expedition modules; the balance of the year (50+ weeks) is focused on continuous learning through five e-learning modules. The eleven modules that form the Mastery Stage will address a series of themes that will be important for business and management in the coming years:

  • Nurturing and managing innovation
  • Managing in knowledge economies
  • Managing high-risk ventures
  • Managing flexible enterprises
  • Managing in transitional economies
  • Managing creative people and processes
  • Nurturing and managing entrepreneurship Integrating cultural, business and personal style

What is a Discovery Expedition?

A Discovery Expedition is an opportunity to explore your learnings in the global context. The objective is to allow you to master skills in the areas of innovation, foreign direct investment and new market opportunities. We will explore these themes through Discovery Expeditions to centers of economic activity around the world. Participants will select three destinations among these possibilities: Mumbai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Silicon Valley and Brazil. By visiting companies, executives and experts in these locations, we will investigate their approaches to key business issues and learn from those we meet.

What is distance learning?

The work you carry out during the onsite modules is supplemented by five distance learning e-modules. During these e-modules, you will do company-based assignments where you will look in-depth at your particular business in a way that is valuable for your company and also for you and your career. Based in your office, you will work with your classmates and with IMD where ideas, examples, forums are exchanged across time and geographies. Videos, readings, virtual office-hours with Faculty and virtual study forums will provide you with the necessary support during these modules. We provide the context, frameworks and expectations for the assignments and you decide how to best position them for maximum impact within your organization. On average, participants spend between 12 - 15 hours a week on e-modules.

Assignments are geared to provide insights to:

  • Gather knowledge from customers, bringing new insights into your organization
  • Build financial analysis skills, interpreting how strategy impacts financial health
  • Design interfaces to integrate units with different organizational designs into a cohesive whole
  • Scan the competitive landscape and create a strategy for leapfrogging the competition
  • Create new organizational capabilities by improving HR practices and capabilities
  • Evaluate execution capabilities and develop an implementation plan

Advanced Management Concepts

What is the Advanced Management Concepts distance learning module?

Advanced Management Concepts (AMC) is the distance learning component of the Foundation Stage of the IMD Executive MBA, comprised of four streams:, Strategy, Finance, Decision Analysis and Marketing. Successful completion of the Advanced Management Concepts module is required for admission to the Mastery Stage of the EMBA.

What is the learning objective of the Advanced Management Concepts module?

To make sure that your knowledge is up-to-date in four central streams of management fundamentals: Strategy, Finance, Decision Analysis and Marketing. We want to ensure that you have mastered the concepts required to perform successfully on the Mastery Stage and to be able to effectively communicate this in written English. The AMC distance learning module also helps us to assess how well you are able to manage your time to complete the work required. Finally, AMC allows you to develop a successful strategy for distance learning, which will serve you well during the Mastery Stage which also includes considerable distance-work throughout the year.

How often does the Advanced Management Concepts module run?

AMC is offered three times per year. It is a synchronous module, meaning that we open a dedicated program website on a specific date, have Office hours on specific dates and times, and exams on a pre-determined date and time. All the content is loaded onto the program website; we provide you with a suggested work plan to guide you through the streams and workload, although this is ultimately up to you to work through the module in the way that suits your learning style and schedule.

How do I interact with faculty and other participants?

The program website will contain all of the program materials, as well as discussion forums for each stream. Here you can post questions to faculty as well as share your assignments for feedback and make comments on fellow participants' assignments. Faculty will respond to your questions during weekly online office hours that are easily accessed through the program website.

Could you send me the course syllabus before the portal launch?

No, this is not possible for two reasons: (1) we make revisions to the syllabus up until the weeks preceding the portal launch and (2) to maintain equity across participants, we share this information with everyone to ensure the same version of the syllabus is available at the same time.

Are there assignments to complete during Advanced Management Concepts module?

Yes, there are assignments to complete for most of the streams - generally, these consist either of posting in discussion forums or completing problem-sets that you need to submit. These assignments are not graded; rather, they are designed to help you assess how well you are mastering the material covered during the module.

How do "office hours" work?

Office hours are scheduled for each of the streams with the relevant faculty member, usually once per week for one hour, via Adobe Connect. During this time, you will be able to ask faculty any questions you may have via the online chat, as well as see other questions that fellow participants may have. If, for some reason, you are unable to make the scheduled office hour, the session will be recorded and the link available on the Program website.

When will I receive the books for the Advanced Management Concepts module?

You will receive the required books one month before the program website launch (or upon enrollment if within a month of the module start). Please note that you will not be asked to read entire books but rather selected chapters. To remain at the leading edge of publications, we are constantly updating our book list and changing editions hence it is not possible for us to make the book list available further ahead of time. To avoid any delivery problems, it is advisable to confirm to the EMBA Office to which address you would like your reading materials sent.

I did PED 1 and PED 2; can I do the GMAT instead of the Advanced Management Concepts distance learning module?

No, we now require all EMBA participants to complete the AMC module; however, if you have completed PED 1 and 2, the fee for AMC will be adjusted accordingly. It is our experience that the AMC is a better indicator of participant performance on the Mastery Stage, as well as more appropriate preparation in terms of content.

How many exams do I need to take in the Advanced Management Concepts module?

There are four exams, and you need to submit all four exams and by the specified deadline. You need to successfully pass three out of the four exams to qualify for admission to the Mastery Stage of the EMBA. If you fail an exam, you need to complete remedial work in the failed subject stream to a satisfactory standard. If you fail more than one exam, you are required to take the complete Advanced Management Concepts module again. If you fail more than one exam on a second occasion, you will be disqualified from entry to the Mastery Stage.

What is the format of the exams?

On Monday of the fifth week of the Advanced Management Concepts module, you will be sent the reading/preparation material for each of the stream exams. Friday of the same week, you will be sent the exam questions which you will need to submit no later than a specific, pre-communicated, time on Monday of the following week. You will have three full days to complete the exams.

How soon will I know if I have passed or failed the exams?

You will know within 8 days, after submitting your exams, if you have passed or failed your exams.

Will I receive more detailed feedback on my exams?

We will provide you with more detailed feedback on your individual performance within two weeks after submitting your exams.

What is covered in the exams?

The exams will test your knowledge of the material covered during the Advanced Management Concepts module.

How long does it take to do the exams?

The time it takes to complete the exams depends upon your mastery of the subject matter covered in the given stream, as well as your command of written English. In our estimation, two full days should be enough time to complete the four exams. However, you may choose to take the Friday off from work to give yourself an extra cushion of time. This is entirely your decision.

Can you send me a copy of a past exam paper?

No, we do not circulate past exam papers.

What are your tips for success on the exams?

What format will the exams take - multiple choice, essay questions? The format of the exams will vary depending on the stream covered. In general, you can expect that the format of the exams will be similar to the assignments given during the module.


How much time will I spend away from the office?

With the modularity of the IMD Executive MBA program, a total of nine weeks out of the office can be spread over a period of time that best adapts to your schedule and business demands. The program may be completed in as little as 15 months or spread over a few years. The initial module of the EMBA Foundation Stage, Foundations for Business Leadership, requires 20 days out of the office. The Advanced Management Concepts module can be completed at a distance and does not require any absence from the office.

The Mastery Stage requires six weeks out of the office for face-to-face modules. Three weeks will take place on-campus at IMD while the remaining three weeks will be spent on three separate Discovery Expeditions of one week, in different locations across the globe. Visit for further details on module dates and content.

Will there be work between the EMBA Modules?

Yes, through five distance-learning e-modules. The first begins before you join us on campus for Core Module 1 with "gearing up" exercises. Between each of the subsequent face-to-face modules, you will stay in touch regularly with your classmates and IMD's faculty, completing a series of assignments.

We estimate that you will spend 12 to 15 hours per week on Executive MBA work while you are back at the office. Whether you are in the classroom or not, the IMD Executive MBA program will be part of your daily life for the duration of the program.

The work undertaken during the e-modules is crucial to the program and provides you with the opportunity to apply what you have learned at IMD directly in your own organization - meaning both you and your company benefit, even before you graduate. What style of teaching will the program use? You will work with materials that come from the business world. We will take you through the renowned case approach and add simulations, research, debates, experiential learning, role playing, video-conferencing, discussions with in-the-field managers and investigative trips to centers of action around the world.

Will there be interaction with other groups at IMD?

The Discovery Expeditions will allow members of consecutive Executive MBA classes - those starting in April and November - to meet and share learning experiences in remote global locations. Both classes will be able to select their individual preferences of Discovery Expedition locations from those offered and will have the opportunity to interact, share learning and expand their network. While on campus, we often organize an event to facilitate meeting our full-time MBA program candidates as well.


How large is the class?

The Executive MBA class size ranges between 50 and 60 participants. During the face-to-face modules, much of the work is done in groups of six to eight people.

We believe it is very important to manage class size. Learning is more effective when it takes place in a community where communication is easy and frequent. It allows for close links with Faculty, high interaction between class members and personal attention from the Program Director and administration. The mix of small-group and big-group activities, and a focus on networking, ensures that by the end of the program you will have a lifelong network of interesting, talented and diverse people.

Who attends the Executive MBA program?

Because we know that the knowledge and insights you and your classmates bring to the program are among the most valuable assets of the IMD EMBA, we take care to include participants from a wide range of nationalities, cultures, industries and business experiences. This mix of individuals ensures a rich learning environment, diverse perspectives and a broad global context. All are fast-rising, internationally experienced executives who want to create value for their organizations and who aspire to become more effective, self-confident members of a general management team.

Our class profile, as an average over the last five years, is:

  • Nationalities represented 21
  • Average number of languages spoken 3
  • Industries represented 28
  • Average age 39
  • Average years of business experience 15


What are the admission criteria?

Our admissions policy aims at securing the highest caliber of participants.

There is no "ideal" profile of an Executive MBA candidate since we strive for diversity in the class. The program is designed for individuals with at least 10 years of business experience, strong management experience, consistent career progression and outstanding leadership potential.

  • Professional achievement and career progression, with a preference for global experience and responsibility
  • Proven leadership - drive, initiative, maturity, curiosity and self-confidence
  • Intellectual ability - undergraduate university degree or equivalent
  • International outlook (cultural sensitivity, time spent living or working outside own country, international scope of career and responsibility, knowledge of foreign languages)
  • English language proficiency - English is the language of instruction, and participants must have a strong command of both written and spoken English
  • The commitment of your organization to support your EMBA by providing access to information and key internal stakeholders as well as uninterrupted time away from the office

What is meant by an international outlook, global experience and responsibility?

The Admissions Committee prefers candidates who have worked and/or studied outside their country of origin, or whose positions include international responsibilities, even if these are carried out in their home countries.

Is it possible to be admitted without a university degree?

The formal admissions requirement is a university degree - three to five years of higher education after high school or the national equivalent. Exceptionally, we do consider candidates without a university education. These candidates should display an impressive professional track record.

Are interviews a part of the admissions process?

Candidates may be asked to come to IMD for an interview or to take part in a virtual interview. An interview may not occur for all candidates; however wherever possible, it is our preference to speak with you to discuss your application and establish a personal contact. Following our review of your completed application, we will contact you to set up a mutually convenient time. We encourage those considering IMD to visit us to learn more about the campus and the Executive MBA program. We endeavor to provide campus tours and classroom visits whenever feasible and we will arrange a meeting with either the Program Director or Program Manager.

When is the deadline for applying to the program?

Applications are reviewed by the Admissions Committee as they are received. This means that the classes can fill up some months in advance of the start date. We strongly recommend that you apply early to have the best chance of obtaining a place in the modules that best suit your preferred study-timeline and professional schedule.

Why is company sponsorship mandatory?

The IMD Executive MBA is practice-oriented. The learning comes from discussions and experiences you have while at IMD, combined with your application of the tools and strategies we discuss in the program within your own organization. Back at the office, you will have several assignments, each one assessing or evaluating some aspect of your company or your industry including the results of your analysis and possible recommendations going forward. This interaction between the classroom learning and the "real world" application you develop in your assignments yields value for both you and your company. Your company will be the "laboratory" where you explore and further investigate the concepts and frameworks we uncover while you are at IMD. As a result, it is essential that your company supports your Executive MBA participation by providing access to information, management, time, commitment and uninterrupted time away from the office where you will be free from your professional commitments to join the face-to-face modules.

I work for a small start-up. Is my company suitable as a sponsor?

If you work for a small company or start-up, you will, in most cases, be able to use your company as a laboratory for your distance-learning assignments while bringing real value to the business through your analyses. In some cases, where financial information may be highly restricted or limited, you may need to look at a large public company where financial information over an extended period is more readily available. If you are self-employed or unable to benefit from the broader context of a company-context, it will be important to find a larger company that can be the focus for your distance-learning assignments. Company assignments provide real value, so it is worth exploring sponsorship with suppliers, customers or other companies that you know.

Is company financial sponsorship required?

No, financial sponsorship is a matter to be resolved between you and your company. There is a continuum of support ranging from time off without pay to time off with pay and full payment of tuition and other expenses. Our Sponsor's Guide will help you and your company understand the obligations and benefits of joining our program.


What degree is granted for the IMD Executive MBA?

Successful completion of the IMD Executive MBA program results in the granting of the well-respected IMD MBA degree.

Do I need an iPad?

If you do not have a personal iPad or tablet, IMD make an iPad available for you for all core modules at IMD. This will allow you to have access to the program website including assignments, reading and program updates.

Do I need a computer?

Yes. For the distance-learning modules of the program, you will need access to a personal computer equipped with a CD ROM drive and internet access - the faster the better. You must also have an e-mail account. The latest versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint are highly recommended.

How much is the tuition fee and what does it cover?

The tuition fee for the program is CHF 105,000. Fees include tuition, teaching materials and a three-course lunch served at IMD on weekdays. Travel and living expenses are not included. While at IMD, participants typically stay at a hotel just a few minutes' walking distance from the school.

Tuition covers:

  • Foundations for Business Leadership CHF 25,000
  • Advanced Management Concepts CHF 15,000
  • Mastery Stage CHF 65,000

The costs for the Discovery Expeditions are estimated at approximately CHF 10,000 per person. This estimate is based on current rates and includes travel (from Geneva to three Discovery Expedition locations), accommodation at business hotels and meals for all three trips. Your travel agent should be able to advise you on the most economical flights to reach our Discovery Expedition destinations.

NB: Participants who have already completed the PED I and II or AEDP programs prior to 2014, will be required to complete the Advanced Management Concepts, however fees for this module will be waived.

Does IMD offer any financial aid or scholarships?

IMD's Executive MBA program does not offer any financial aid or scholarships. External institutions for loans, financial aid or grants may be recommended to you based on your region or profile by an IMD Program Advisor.

Additionally, your tuition may be paid via flexible, modular instalments based on the dates of your program.

What career services/placement activities are provided?

There are no career services or placement activities associated with the Executive MBA program. Since all participants have the support of their companies and will continue with their jobs throughout the program, no placement services are deemed necessary.

What type of visa/permit do I need to study at IMD?

Visa requirements vary depending on the country from which you are arriving. Please contact the nearest Swiss Embassy or Consulate for details that apply in your particular situation.

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