Pursuing your master’s degree is an excellent way to further your education and knowledge. However, it is important to take the right master’s program based on your experience.

There are crucial differences between an MBA and an EMBA that you need to know before you start applying.

Master of Business Administration

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a graduate degree that is typically the next step for students who have completed their undergraduate degree in business.

Achieving your MBA gives you an advantage over those who have only completed their undergraduate degree. MBA programs completed at a university provide theoretical and practical training to develop students’ business management knowledge and to prepare them for the workplace.

You can achieve a general MBA degree or choose to specialize.

Executive Master of Business Administration

Similar to an MBA, an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) is a graduate level degree that focuses on business management. EMBAs are designed for working professionals who have experience in their field and are looking to further their career options and knowledge. Teamwork is often a focus of EMBAs and allows you to work with skilled individuals from many different backgrounds.

An EMBA program usually allows you to maintain your full-time job while achieving your degree.

Student Demographics

MBA programs are targeted towards recent graduates of undergraduate business degrees. Students pursuing an MBA degree are, on average, between the ages of 24 and 30 years old.

Alternatively, EMBA programs are designed for working professionals making the average age of applicants a little older, ranging between the ages of 32 and 38 years old. The individuals who pursue an EMBA degree are at a much different stage of life in comparison to those who aim to achieve an MBA degree. EMBA students often juggle their course work with their full-time job, family, and other commitments.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to either an MBA or EMBA program an undergraduate bachelor’s degree is required.

The requirement difference between these two types of programs is in the amount of experience applicants have. A minimum of about six years of work experience is required for EMBA applicants. However, it is not uncommon for schools to require much more experience. Many schools also prefer, or even require, that applicants have management or supervisory experience as well.

MBA programs, on the other hand, only require a minimum of three years of work experience and management experience is not mandatory.

Tuition Costs

The difference in tuition costs between an MBA and EMBA program are significant.

The average cost of an MBA in the U.S. is $50,000 USD. EMBA tuition, on the other hand, is much more expensive, costing an average of $160,000 USD. Although the tuition cost for an EMBA is expensive, some companies pay for their employees’ tuition since they continue to work while completing their degree.

Whether you pay these tuition costs or your employer does, the return on investment is worth the cost. Graduates of both MBA and EMBA programs see significant salary increases compared to their salary prior to achieving their graduate degree.

MBA vs. EMBA Quick Facts

FAQsMaster of Business AdministrationExecutive Master of Business Administration
Age Range of Students24 to 30 years old32 to 38 years old
Minimum Work Experience Required3 years6 years
Management Experience RequiredNot mandatorySometimes required,
often preferred
Average Tuition Cost$50,000 USD$160,000 USD
Program ScheduleFixed
(intensive schedules)
Flexible
(evening and weekend classes available)
Program DurationFull time: 1 to 2 years
Part time: 3 to 4 years
1 to 2 years
Average Graduate Salary86,000 USD210,000 USD
Top Program (according to The Economist)University of Chicago — Booth School of BusinessYale School of Management

Find the Right Program for You

Now that you know the difference between an MBA and an EMBA, you can decide which one suits you best. Your program options and school locations are endless.

What are you waiting for? Find the right program for you today!

ImageFlow / Shutterstock