Which is the right choice to boost your business management career, an MBA or EMBA?

Which is the right choice to boost your business management career: an MBA (Master in Business Administration) or EMBA (Executive Master in Business Administration)? When delivered by highly-ranked accredited business schools, both programs open doors to new opportunities and career successes. They offer similar learning to create real value for business executives, such as high-level management skills, strategic analytical skills and leadership skills. The practical differences rest with who they are meant for, and how and when they are taught. So the answer comes down to who you are and how your life and career fit with an MBA or EMBA program.

Here’s an overview by IMD Business School to help guide your reflections. IMD is a world-leading business school based in Lausanne, Switzerland and in Singapore. Both our MBA and EMBA programs consistently rank among the best in the world.

The 4 parameters we looked at are:



What is the typical profile of a participant in an MBA or EMBA?

Some people take an MBA after working only a couple of years or even directly after their undergraduate studies. They could be as young as in their mid-20s, with little or no management career experience. For them, the MBA is seen as boot-camp preparation for a selected career goal. However, we recommend getting at least 5-7 years’ professional experience under your belt. Everything you learn will be more relevant. You’ll be able to consider your learning through the lens of your experience, and reflect back on your prior interactions with new insights from your MBA learning.

How much time do you invest in an MBA or EMBA?

When you think about the time you spend on an MBA or an EMBA, you are in many ways hitting on the biggest difference between the two programs. But not for the reasons you may think. It’s not how long it takes to get your degree that matters, but rather how you spend the time getting your degree.

What do you learn in an MBA or EMBA program – and what are the benefits beyond the classes?

“MBA programs must deliver the technical competence that allows executives to assess the state of a business and devise an adequate response,” says Ralf Boscheck, IMD Professor of Economics and former Director of IMD’s MBA program. “These skills and context knowledge must be based on sound theoretical foundations, empirically tested across diverse industrial and cultural settings, and be integrated and ready to meet the requirements of everyday business practice.” 

What are the typical employment and salary prospects for MBA or EMBA graduates?

MBAs and Executive MBAs are both degrees that will have a positive impact on your career trajectory. They’re game-changers.

IMD business school rankings

Our executive education programs are ranked highly by the world's most influential business publications.

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