With the economy in stasis, an increasing number of professionals looking to return to school to get advanced business degrees are unwilling to give up their current positions when finding a new job after their graduation is no longer assured.
Executive MBA programs, offer an excellent alternative to traditional full time MBA educations- where they would be expected to leave their current roles, and then hope that they will be able to find better positions after completing their post graduate education.
Part time programs take about 1-2 additional years to complete versus full-time two year MBA’s. Many believe that the job security they are afforded and ability continue earning an income during the degree, is well worth it.
The diversity of programs offered for EMBA students is growing as well, since an increasing number of applicants for EMBA programs are no longer having their education paid for by their employers. Now they are free to make the decision of where to attend themselves. This means finding new and innovative ways to attract students, like increased offerings of electives in growth areas like entrepreneurship and leadership workshops.
|Business Week ranked the best EMBA programs of 2011|
|IE Business School||4|
|Ohio State (Fisher)||14|
EMBA programs will no doubt continue to gain in popularity as more and more working professionals will be expected to have advanced post graduate degrees to remain competitive in their chosen career fields.
The part-time MBA, like the EMBA, allows students to keep their full time jobs while attending business school. Unlike the EMBA programs, however, part-time MBA programs are designed for the less experienced professional or for those seeking to learn the necessary skills to change careers. Some part-time programs also incorporate distance-learning options making them flexible for those who travel frequently as well as for those that do not necessarily live nearby the school they attend. Schedules also differ from program to program, so you will want to find a timetable that works best for you, your family and your employer.
The most significant challenge for part-time students is changing careers. Those who do not seek to make a dramatic change are generally satisfied with their choice. However, students who want to make a more extreme change in field tend not to be as satisfied with part-time MBA study as do full-time MBA students.
Full-time MBA students have time off to engage in summer internships or take a part-time position in a different field during the school year. This increases their potential to be able to change fields. Part-time MBA students are more limited in this respect. They may necessarily have to keep the jobs they currently hold, but often find it more realistic to move into a position that combines their experience with the new interests and skills gained in the classroom.
At the same time, part-time MBA students have a lot of time. The programs, being part-time, take an extended time to complete, and thus provide additional time for students to contemplate the direction they want the degree to take. In addition, it’s important for part time students to make use of campus resources, career counseling, and career assessment tools as they move along in the process. After three or four years in a program, goals may change, so these tools should be used when evaluating the MBA process.
Part time students will need the support of their employers and families too, as both studying and working will require large time commitments.
Some part time students receive funding from their employers to complete the part time MBA. Larger companies are generally more likely to fund MBA programs. Even for those who do not receive funding from their employers, part time MBA students have a financial advantage over their full time counterparts in that they are continuing to earn money during study, often enough to cover expenses.
Some part time students who seek to change careers post-graduation will find that their salaries do not increase and may even decrease. This is because companies still hire and determine wages based on proven experience. One way to mitigate this is by seeking to combine the expertise developed in your current field with your interest in a new field. Also, money need not be the single determining factor in your post-MBA professional choice. Though many go into MBA programs seeking to improve their earnings, many also seek to change jobs. With this in mind, try to find a position that will allow you to grow and learn. Consider options that complement your long-term goals and don’t just consider your post-MBA pocketbook.
The traditional full-time MBA is not for everyone. Not everyone is able to take two full years (or one year, as is more common in Europe) out of the workforce, take out study loans, or move locations. In addition, not all those with an interest in an MBA are at the right point in their careers to commit to full-time MBA study as the best method to career enhancement or career change. Also, the traditional MBA may not provide the most appropriate training for a particular candidate to meet his or her goals. Fortunately there are other options.
The most common alternatives to the traditional MBA within the sphere of graduate business education are:
o the Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA),
o the part-time MBA,
o the online MBA, and
o the Masters of Science in Economics or Finance or Accounting.
All of these options are geared toward professionals in different career and personal situations.
An evaluation of your own goals, career experience, personal or family needs, time limitations, and financial needs will help you decide between these options and determine which is best suited to you.
EMBA programs are set up for experienced professionals. In general, programs advise having several years of experience for entering EMBA candidates. EMBA programs also are usually conducted on the weekends, or in select weeks during the year, not requiring students to quit their day jobs. Yet, despite maintaining a different clientele and calendar, the EMBA teaches students many of the same subjects and methods as the MBA.
The EMBA is ideal for the experienced candidate interested in developing his or her knowledge of business and management. If you want to develop a new expertise in a field, a part-time MBA program or a full-time MBA program is more likely to provide you with the necessary time to fulfill your career goals. In addition, if you are qualified in terms of background and experience, there is enormous benefit in an EMBA program to learn from fellow students who will share their experience and background with you. Faculty will also design their classes taking into consideration the experience of the students. Typical candidates tend to have the following profile:
· Over 30. Average age varies from program to program.
· Working full-time.
· Already in a management role.
· May already have another degree (e.g, M.S., M.D, J.D., PhD).
EMBA programs vary in terms of schedules, flexibility, and travel expectations. You will thus want to select a program that is best suited to your needs. Like MBA programs, EMBA programs also encourage and require group work. Find out how this works before you begin so that you can fit it into your schedule and make arrangements with your employer. If you have particular career goals, such as increasing your international exposure, consider global EMBA options, such as those found at Duke or the Columbia-LBS partnership, or Kellogg’s particularly strong Latin American connections. If you would like to move locations from San Francisco to New York or vice versa, for example, you may consider the Columbia-Berkeley program. If you live in Chicago and want to stay put, check out the University of Chicago’s EMBA packages.
· Time. Being in an EMBA program while working full-time will limit your free time as well as require some degree of flexibility and support on the part of your employer and possibly your family.
· Money. More often than with traditional MBA programs, many EMBA students receive funding from their employers. This trend is gradually declining, and few receive full tuition at least without a guaranteed contract after the program. This makes it important to recognize that you might have to research loan options and understand your financial needs. Note that most EMBA grads do receive a full return on their investment within four years of graduation.
The EMBA degree is increasingly attractive to people who seek to expand their horizons and much of that attraction arises not only from the education provided but from the connections and networks that are formed during the program.
The future of EMBA programs lies in continued global expansion and partnerships between US and foreign institutions. Regardless of location, programs are seeking to make their scheduling more convenient for the long distance travelers, adopting calendars where classes are not scheduled every week but are given three-to-five consecutive days a month instead.
Technology is increasingly incorporated in EMBA programs as well, with group assignments being completed through video conferencing. These programs continue to evolve with the times.
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