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EXECUTIVE EDUCATION PROGRAMS

How is an EMBA different?


PURDUE UNIVERSITY

Executive MBA Programs versus Traditional MBA Programs

Executive MBA programs sometimes bear the stigma of being designed strictly for executives who want the added value of a degree. Contributing to this issue, some universities reduced the rigor of their programs when they created their EMBA programs. However, the word “executive” is widely used to describe programs for working professionals—those who can’t leave their jobs to attend a fulltime MBA program. The word “executive” really points to the format, which is designed to allow the working professional the opportunity to move forward with his/her career while simultaneously earning an MBA. 

The Purdue executive MBA is as academically rigorous as the fulltime MBA and requires the same number of credit hours – 48 hours.  For that reason, the degree awarded is not an EMBA, but it is an MBA degree: the same degree as those who attend the traditional full-time program.  Full-time MBA students use much of their free-time in different organizations/clubs as well as in internships and job-hunting.  In contrast, the EMBA students are gainfully employed – that is where their ‘free time’ goes.  The Table below captures the curriculum similarities between our fulltime MBA and the Global Executive MBA programs.  As indicated, the common core is generally the same and our faculty teach in both programs.  The additional Global EMBA courses focus on skills needed for managers who have or expect and internationally oriented career.

Course Name

Global EMBA Credits

Full-Time MBA Credits

Managerial Accounting

3

3

Business Analytics

3

3

Managerial Economics

2

2

Organizational Behavior

2

2

Finance

3

3

Marketing

3

3

Leadership

2

1

Global Macroeconomics

2

2

Technology Management

2

2

Operations

3

3

Strategic Management

3

3

Business Law & Ethics

2

3

Managerial Communication Skills

0

2

Total Common Core

30

32

International Financial Management

2

Elective

International Negotiations

2

Elective

Change Management

2

Elective

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

2

Elective

Capstone Consulting Project

4

Elective

Doing Business in Latin America

2

Not Offered

Doing Business in Asia

2

Not Offered

Elective

2

Elective

Overall Total

48

48


As indicated, Purdue’s EMBA format, student profile and networking opportunities set it apart from its full-time MBA counterpart.

Format: Purdue’s executive programs have a flexible learning format which combines residencies with distance learning components, allowing students to meet their educational goals while simultaneously fulfilling their professional responsibilities.  Students have residencies on campus only five times over a 19-month period, leaving them adequate time to fulfill their job responsibilities. Between campus residencies, students interact with group members, work on team assignments, discuss management issues, and interact with faculty—this is all done at home to minimize disruptions to work and family obligations.  Conversely, traditional MBA students must leave their jobs and remain on campus in order to complete an MBA program. The end result—an MBA--is the same for both traditional and executive students, but the journey is different.

Student profile: Students in the executive programs have a variety of professional backgrounds and industry experience—they are managers or those who aspire to be managers--and they bring their expertise into the classroom where it is shared with their peers. Their average age is 35, and they have an average of 13 years’ work experience. Most are married with families and many travel a great deal as part of their job responsibilities. Unlike the executive students, fulltime MBA students have less work experience, typically 0-3 years, so there is not the experience and knowledge sharing in that respect. Fulltime MBA students are younger and typically lack the work maturity brought to the classroom by their older professional counterparts.

Networking: The networking opportunities in the executive programs abound as collective experiences and knowledge is shared. Executive students learn not only from each other, but from the faculty. The cohort nature of the program means you begin and end your experience with the same set of professionals that will provide you with insights and support during the course of your study and beyond. Often this results in compelling, life-long connections. The 1-2 week residencies provide greater opportunity to work together and really get to know each other as opposed to ‘weekend format’ programs where participants often leave when classes are done.  While fulltime MBA students have networking opportunities, not all classes are taken as a team, and the backgrounds and experience of classmates is not as high.

In terms of curriculum and rigor, the executive MBA and fulltime MBA programs are comparable, but the format and delivery of the curriculum, the student profile, and the student experience are quite different.  Someone who is 36 years old and who has 15 years’ work experience seeking an MBA would not benefit as much from a traditional MBA program in which his peers would be younger with no work experience. The Purdue Executive MBA degree is not a “frills” degree, but an AACSB International accredited degree that represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools.