Seeing the Advantages
A full-time MBA programme is usually designed for those students who want to change their career path or work abroad. In contrast, a part-time EMBA programme is aimed at mature candidates who want to enlarge their careers by sharing best practices with their peers in other industries. These executive have already demonstrated strong analytical ability, emotional maturity and interpersonal skills. They have the confidence to handle new business challenges, but perhaps lack the recognition from their existing network that they have the potential for more.
By earning a part-time Executive MBA, working professionals in middle and senior level management can advance their career without having to leave their hard-earned positions for extended periods of time, with the resultant loss of income. In addition, the part-time EMBAs offer prospective candidates the ability to apply their newly gained knowledge on the job but with a higher level of leadership and management skills.
Part-time EMBAs enjoy the same recognition as full-time MBAs. In fact, the rankings of top EMBA programmes have become just as competitive, as the best schools work hard to raise their standards. In choosing a top EMBA programme, you will be expected to work just as hard if not harder than a full-time MBA. Most executives tend to work long hours, but imagine having to devote an additional 15 hours of study per week to your agenda. This requires a complete commitment to the programme. If you are not convinced of the benefits, you won’t last long.
After applying to the EMBA programmes of their choice, candidates go through a stringent application process. Knowing the stress placed on students who start a part-time EMBA, the admissions committees of most programmes are far more demanding of their candidates than you might expect. They are looking for mature candidates who know the value of the degree and who are convinced of the path they have set out on.
Working from Home Is Like Travelling Abroad
One of the big advantages of a part-time EMBA is your ability to collaborate with other students on the programme in a range of virtual environments. INSEAD, for example, recently launched Second Life, its virtual campus where students can collaborate with their classmates and be guided by a professor.
With the rise of Web 2.0 collaboration tools, the old boundaries around locally based part-time EMBA programmes have all but disappeared. This technical breakthrough has benefited students and professors alike as they can now present case studies, hold workgroup meetings or work on presentations, all using common tools such as webcams and live web meetings. In addition to live meetings, previously web-casted guest lectures can be downloaded onto Apple platforms for playback on Video iPods. After adapting to the tools, the students learn how to collaborate with their classmates, who may come from completely different cultures. This experience alone is a big advantage which students can apply in a global environment.
Having a Business School Support You
Changes in the real world, whether it be a full-blown global economic crisis or a spate of incremental changes in your particular field of expertise, all need to be assessed for their potential to change company culture and your approach to leadership. With a part-time EMBA, you can tailor your coursework to reflect changes in the marketplace.
You can find programmes with flexible sessions and which offer bilingual coursework. The part-time and bilingual Executive MBA at IESE is offered in two different formats at the Madrid campus. Students choosing the weekly format attend classes on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings from mid-September to mid-June. Three intensive week-long sessions take place in the first 12 months of the 20-month programme. Students choosing the twice-monthly format attend classes all day on Friday and Saturday mornings from early September to mid-July. Four intensive week-long sessions take place in the first 12 months of the 20-month programme. The programme in Barcelona offers only the weekly format.
Whereas IESE students do not hop from one Spanish campus to the other, the students on the INSEAD EMBA programme benefit from its “two-campus approach”. A modular programme, the 15-month INSEAD EMBA requires that students take up residency for equal periods of time on the Fontainebleau and Singapore campuses. The on-campus modules, four of one-week and four of two-weeks, are about six weeks apart. This approach has advantages for managers, as it improves the diversity ratio of students, all of whom bring a range of cultural approaches.
Learning from World-Class Faculty
Students on part-time EMBA programmes benefit from the flexible configuration of the coursework which, because of the flexibility, enables business schools to attract top-tier faculty and leading experts to the classroom when it is in session. Faculty on the Kellogg-WHU EMBA programme, for example, are drawn from the existing Kellogg and WHU global networks, consisting of more than 150 discipline-based, research-oriented scholars who bring the latest in management findings and concepts into the classroom, combining theory and case studies. In addition to academic teaching staff, leading experts from different industries and thought leaders from other areas of the economy are regularly invited to share their knowledge and expertise with EMBA students.
Furthermore, the tendency for part-time EMBA programmes to take a multi-campus approach benefits students. The Chicago Graduate School of Business Booth runs three campuses across the globe, in Chicago, London and Singapore. Hence, the faculty are far more diverse than on many full-time MBA programmes, which rely on locally based professors to carry the teaching load week in and week out.
Expanding Choices Globally
Part-time EMBA programs are becoming the degree of choice in Asia, Europe and North America. INSEAD has developed an EMBA programme in partnership with Tsinghua University in China to keep up with demand in the region. Chinese managers cannot afford the high costs associated with full-time MBA programmes outside of their country, so they prefer to stay in their jobs and study at a domestic campus. Asians are not the only ones to recognize the value of the EMBA. Wharton recently established a second campus in San Francisco to take into account the fast-growing demand for its highly ranked EMBA. While a huge Asian community lives on the West Coast, it is telling sign that the EMBA has come into its own as a unique degree.
Business schools in central Europe have also seen a growth in demand for part-time EMBAs. The Swiss-based University of St. Gallen, which has a strong reputation in German-speaking countries, has just launched a part-time MBA with the first full cohort beginning in August 2008. A 20-month programme taught in four modules, the part-time MBA is delivered at four locations across Germany, Switzerland and Spain. In fact, the first module is taught in cooperation with ESADE Business School in Spain. Interestingly, part-time MBA students have the option of joining the full-time MBA programme in the fourth module if they want to go either for an exchange or for a double degree abroad. St. Gallen has 40 to 50 places available on the part-time MBA programme.
Since 1986, the IEDC Bled School of Management in Slovenia has been expanding its range of degree choices for more than 40,000 graduates from 60 countries. IEDC now offers three separate EMBA degrees, a one-year programme, a two-year EMBA and a three-year President’s MBA. The first two programmes consist of 17 weeks, with the one-year course organized into four modules and the two year course in seven modules.
EMBA participants at Bled are more senior and experienced than regular MBA students. With an average nine years’ work experience and an average age of 34, they are seasoned professionals able to exercise sound business judgment and to share worthwhile experience.
Taking Control of the Costs
According to the Executive MBA Council, the cost of the average EMBA rose from $58,000 in 2007 to $63,000 in 2008. At the same time, the percentage of companies offering full sponsorship to EMBA students fell to 32 percent in 2008. Not surprisingly, the number of EMBA students receiving partial reimbursement increased to 36 percent. A third of all EMBA students entirely pay their own way.
Despite these apparently high costs, prospective MBA candidates know that the return on investment has never been better. Without any sponsorship from his management consulting company, Todd Oken, who graduated from Wharton’s East Coast EMBA program in 2007, was convinced of the benefits of a Wharton MBA degree. He took on bank loans to pay for the programme, as he already had a mortgage and a growing family to support. He firmly believed the EMBA was a worthwhile investment for his long-term career plans.
In fact, Todd proved to himself, his family and his new employer that he was correct in doing the EMBA. Not only has he found a much better job as a vice president of finance for a well-known company, he will also pay back the full amount of the loans within the next five years.
A simple rule of thumb is that a full-time MBA will cost more than a part-time EMBA. If you calculate the lost earnings, the relocation expenses, and room and board, all of these add up to a much higher commitment than the straightforward EMBA tuition. But it is an investment in your career. Said Todd, “Even if I were considering an EMBA programme in the current economic environment, I would still make the same decision without question because the Wharton MBA degree was worth every penny. I knew it would advance my future professional responsibilities and compensation.”
In conclusion, the part-time EMBA, with its global reach and international network, has grown in popularity. You can earn an EMBA from a top business school at a fraction of the cost of a full-time MBA. Does this spell the end of the traditional MBA programme? No, because there will always be huge demand from prospective candidates seeking to change their careers and willing to devote 100 per cent of their time to their studies. But the EMBA has definitely come of age. Now is the time to start thinking about what it can do for you.
Apart-time Executive MBA programme offers a wide range of first-class educational benefits and opens up new opportunities for career advancement. If you think that the part-time EMBA is the default option for those who cannot afford a full-time MBA or cannot commit to the workload of a full-time MBA, think again! Since its introduction, the business schools that offer EMBAs have seen a huge increase in demand, because these programmes enable students to acquire a foundation in management science, remain in their current positions, and in many cases take on high-visibility positions within their companies following graduation.