Executive MBA programs are designed for full time employees of organizations or owners of businesses who have a significant investment in their careers and who cannot afford to give up their full time jobs. Rather than pursuing a traditional MBA degree on a part time basis, these professionals can complete an Executive MBA program while continuing their full time employment.
Executive MBA programs differ from traditional MBA programs in two distinct manners. First the meeting format is different. Executive MBA programs usually meet twice a week, every other week during the semester. Secondly the students in Executive MBA programs have on average much more work experience than their counterparts in traditional programs. It is this work experience that allows the Executive MBA program to be offered at a much faster pace than the traditional program.
Executive MBA programs typically are offered in major cities that have substantial work forces demanding such programs. Executive MBA programs also tend to draw from a region surrounding these cities (defined as within easy commuting distance). Because students must balance the demands of their careers, home life, and the full time Executive MBA program, they do not want to spend an inordinate amount of time commuting to the program.
Most Executive MBA programs offer the MBA degree upon successful completion of the course of study. Students and their organizations want that credential and view an Executive MBA degree as less desirable. A major challenge to the administration of the program is to avoid the perception that the Executive MBA program is a “watered down” MBA program. The standards and content for the Executive MBA program therefore must be the same as a traditional MBA program. The expectations for the students in the Executive MBA program should, in fact, be higher than expectations for students in the traditional program because of the work experience of the participants.
Organizations use the Executive MBA programs as a way to update their employees on the latest thinking in business. The program may also be part of the career development of the person and the succession planning for the organization. It can be a tool used to promote retention of valued employees within the firm.