The Diversity of Executive MBA Formats

The Diversity of Executive MBA Formats

Senior-level corporate executives who are committed to reaching a C-level position or launching a brand new business venture, as you are, cannot afford the luxury to put on hold a successful career and commit to full-time MBA studies. Business schools cater to your needs by offering a wide range of Executive MBA formats you can choose from.

The EMBA is designed to provide the rigours of an MBA to managers of higher responsibility and to accommodate their professional schedule, so it is delivered in a variety of part-time formats. EMBA programmes are most commonly delivered in a weekend, modular, blended or global format. This diversity enables professionals to choose what suits them best. “Every candidate has their own priorities and objectives and, therefore, it is very individual. Some programmes require many trips to different parts of the world, and others less so. Therefore, the logistics, related costs, and right effort distribution must be considered well beforehand,” advises Dimitar Dilov, an EMBA from the Cambridge Judge Business School (UK) and a CRO at Raiffeisenbank.

Weekend EMBA

The weekend EMBA is a good option for those with easy access to the business school campus and who value regular face-to-face interaction with their peers and faculty. This format also minimises the time you spend away from work and home. “Because time is your most valuable asset, our intense curriculum allows you to complete your part-time degree over long weekends and the summer to maximise the use of your time. This means less disruption of work and fewer vacation days used for your education,” says HULT International Business School (US).

HULT EMBA participants can complete the programme in 18 months with 14 trips to campus and miss only 21 workdays. Students usually travel to several of the school’s campuses as they can study at up to three home campuses each year, choosing among San Francisco, Boston, London, Dubai, Shanghai, Hertfordshire, and New York City, to complete core studies and then spend the rest of the year specialising at up to two other locations. In addition, participants can continue their studies even if they relocate to a different part of the world by simply transferring to a new home campus without interrupting their studies.

Read: Advance Your Career With an EMBA

Modular EMBA

Modular programmes are organised in modules of classes on campus. These modules usually last from four to six days at a time and are spread over two years or less, with residential sessions taking place every one or two months.

To get a feel of the modular format, you can take a closer look at the Global EMBA programme of the London Business School (UK). LBS offers two options – EMBA-Global Americas & Europe, delivered in partnership with Columbia Business School (US), or EMBA-Global Asia, provided in partnership with the University of Hong Kong and Columbia Business School. The programme is 20 months long, but certain elective choices may enable completion in 16 months. Participants join modules of four- or five-day residential weeks in London, New York, Hong Kong or Shanghai. It also provides for one or two international assignments in Argentina, Chile, China, Dubai, Germany, Greece, South Africa or the Russian Federation. The modules have an intensive timetable with full days of lectures, group work, and assignments during study blocks.

This format is a good option for professionals who prefer to have intensive focused studies with less frequent time away from work and home, and more time to implement newly gained knowledge and skills in their everyday management practice.

Blended EMBA

Face-to-face study periods combined with intensive online learning and interaction are typical for the blended format. The use of an innovative e-learning methodology that incorporates web-based applications into their curricula is typical for the EMBA blended programme. Podcasts, mobile connectivity, teleconferencing, and academic social media networks ease the learning process. Students, faculty, and administrators interact through dedicated private networks.

“Contemporary distance-learning business education demands the integration of information technology, a proper online portal, synchronous and asynchronous support (academic) and other features that are only available thanks to the advances of technology. A very important feature missing from many of today’s distance learning programmes is proper administrative support,” says Refaat Kazoun about the EMBA programme of the University of Northampton (UK). He explains that online education can make some participants feel distanced and lonely, but the blended learning format provides the best of both worlds. It enables participants to study from a convenient location and to be well connected with peers and professors, and all of that can come at a very competitive cost.

Making the most of modern learning methods through technology is the 15-month IE Brown Executive MBA joint programme of IE Business School (Spain) and Brown University (US). Classes are delivered through a series of online learning tools. Interactive asynchronous forums and participative faculty-led videoconferences allow participants to hone their skills and gain specialised knowledge without limitations while anywhere in the world.

Programme attendees have two options to choose from. The first one is held predominantly online and includes three mandatory one-week periods in Madrid. The rest of the programme is given via interactive online classes and includes an optional international week. The second option includes face-to-face weekends every six weeks in Madrid combined with online periods and an optional international week.

“The technology we use allows us to replicate the methodologies of on-site classes and to enjoy the same experience as you would in an on-site class. The programme includes two live videoconferences per month on Saturday, from 16:00 to 19:30 local time Madrid. Then, from Monday to Thursday, the programme continues through the discussion forums, and you decide when to make your contributions to the discussion, at a time that suits you best, as the Online Campus runs actively 24/7,” IE explains.

Global EMBA

Many of the examples listed above highlighted global multi-campus Executive MBA programmes. This type of programmes can also be a hub to target the region of your choice. The IESE Global Executive MBA is a one-class, two-track programme for you to choose to begin your studies with an emphasis on Europe or the Americas. As you progress through the programme, the two tracks fully integrate. In addition, “Barcelona, New York City, Silicon Valley, Sao Paulo, and Shanghai: each site has been deliberately chosen for its strategic purpose in advancing your learning. As a result, your learning experiences in each module - company visits, meetings with executives, special projects, cultural activities, and get-togethers with local citizens - correlate with the setting.”

Global programmes incur the additional time and costs of international travel, but immerse participants in different environments. Thus, you can also learn from the way your culturally diverse peers perceive new cultures and business environments.

Read: The Value of Executive MBA Programmes

Employer endorsement

Business schools require EMBA participants to have their employers’ support for participation in the programme because of time and commitment management. Through securing employer endorsement, business schools ensure that EMBA students will have the capacity to commit the time, attention, and energy needed for their successful studies and be able to balance their work responsibilities.

Mr Dilov also pre-agreed his 20-month EMBA study at Cambridge Judge with his employer. “Based on the programme schedule, I had to be in Cambridge once per month for three days for lectures and exams, which was usually Friday to Sunday and it was a perfect schedule for me to cope with work, study, and personal life.”

Indeed, choosing the most convenient format of the EMBA requires serious consideration of multiple factors, such as school prestige and reputation, time and cost for travel, proximity and time difference, time for home study, time on campus, networking activities on campus, and international trips for global EMBA programmes and the time and finances associated with them. In the dynamic life of a senior executive, the suitable format can make all the difference for a worthwhile experience. 

This article is original content produced by Advent Group and included in the 2017-2018 annual Access MBA, EMBA, and Masters Guide under the title “C-Suite Style Learning”. An online version of the Guide is available here.

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