The EMBA in general is a part-time MBA. The first EMBA programme was introduced back in 1943 by the University of Chicago, while part-time MBAs appeared decades later. Both programmes result in a Master of Business Administration degree. However, there is one essential difference – their target groups.

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Target students - know the differences

While the EMBA programme targets executives with significant managerial experience looking to accelerate their climb further up the career ladder, focusing their ambitions on reaching the top C-level post, the part-time programmes are oriented more towards professionals with less experience, who are at the be-ginning or halfway up the career ladder. 

The EMBA programmes were developed to meet the market demands of top professionals and senior working managers. The EMBA format is designed to meet the needs of those working in higher management and assuming higher-level strategic roles. Executive MBA students are high-calibre managers, executives, and entrepreneurs who have the potential and motivation to become CEOs within their organisations. 

Admissions and Format

The main differences between the programmes are the candidates’ age and their work experience. EMBA course participants are usually aged between 30 and 45, with professional experience averaging around 8-15 years, of which about 5-10 years represents managerial experience. On the contrary, in the typical part-time format, students are younger on entry and have about five years of work experience, with maybe no managerial experience whatsoever. 

Because of the difference in target groups, admission requirements also differ slightly. The part-time programme is comparable to the full-time programme in terms of requirements: university degree, GMAT or TOEFL scores, essays and interviews, and minimum three years of work experience. EMBA candidates are in most cases way ahead in their careers. As experience is what matters the most, some schools have waived the GMAT requirement for their EMBA programmes. 

There is no difference between the EMBA and the part-time MBA when it comes to programme format. There are two part-time formats – regular and modular. The regular format consists of several evenings a week in class plus approximately 15 hours a week for individual study, preparation and group work. The modular format consists of modules that last for one to two weeks on-campus, every month or two, alternated with lengthy periods spent off-campus in the workplace. The modular MBA can some-times include additional distance learning elements. 

EMBA vs. Part-time MBA – Pros and Cons

The two programmes have their advantages and disadvantages. The benefits that an EMBA programme brings to its attendees are the experience and knowledge sharing with senior highly experienced executives, who have proven their expertise in their specific areas, and the larger network of senior executives and contacts of top business academics. 

The list of benefits of a part-time programme includes the flexibility of the curriculum, its accessibility to young professionals who don’t have a long career track record, and the spreading of the programme’s cost over a long period of time. 

As neither programme requires attendees to leave current employment, one of the issues that should be carefully addressed and thought through by the participants of both EMBA and part-time MBA programmes is how to balance their full-time jobs, a great deal of in-dependent study, travelling and family commitments.