Executive Education

Choose the EMBA Program that Fits your Life and Schedule

Executive MBA programs are not your typical MBA programs. Most students in an EMBA program come to business school after several years of work experience.

In some cases, a certain minimum number of years in management could be required. That changes what the work is like. Your classmates aren’t fresh out of college. They have worked for years and in some cases might have quite distinguished positions. This means that when you do class work, you have the opportunity to learn from your fellow classmates and see the concepts from class illustrated in real-world examples. Depending on the school and the students that end up in your cohort, the difference could be huge.

EMBA programs also differ significantly from traditional MBA programs with regard to schedule. Most MBA programs require students to meet every business day, often in a 9 to 5 format. Executive MBAs are designed so that you can go to school while you work. Classes don’t meet every day; they are held on weekends and over short seminars so you can keep your day job while you get your degree.

However, the exact program structure can vary quite a bit and that could impact the EMBA program you can choose. While you should pay attention to EMBA rankings, you might want to start by looking at the days you have available.

When You Can Take Off on Fridays Twice a Month (and Want a Day to Recover)

If you have a flexible schedule, you can choose a Friday-Saturday weekend program like the EMBA from Columbia Business School. It is ranked number two for prestige, number two for career advancement, number two for global experience, and number ten in the world. The average age of students in the EMBA is 33 and they bring an average nine years of work experience to the table.

The program offers three scheduling options. You could attend every Saturday for a whole day, every other Friday and Saturday, or 5-6 day blocks that meet once a month. You will occasionally have to take a short residency too. The EMBA Saturday program is required to attend three 3-day blocks while the EMBA Friday Saturday has two 5-day block terms. The program length varies depending on which scheduling option you take, usually between 20 and 24 months. You also get the ability to study in far off places, like Shanghai and Cape Town.

When You Can’t Take a Day Off to Save Your Life

Depending on your job, you might not be able to take so much time off – if at all. If that sounds like you, you may need to seek out a weekend EMBA program that meets on Saturdays and Sundays, like the Cornell University’s Cornell Executive MBA Metro New York. The programs ranked number six for prestige, number six for career advancement, and number seven for global experience. The average age of students is 35 and they have 11 years of work experience on average.

Classes meet at the HNA Palisades Premier Conference Center in Palisades, New York, and the college provides shuttle service to Manhattan so getting there is easy. Cornell does require that you attend four one-week residencies at its main campus in Ithaca, New York over the course of the program but the total duration is 22 months, so you have almost two years to work in that time off.

When You Can Take Time Off, But Not Every Other Week

Sometimes, you will find that you can take some time off, but every week just isn’t a possibility. In this case, you might want to look at a three-day seminar. In this format, you only have to attend class for a three-day weekend, once a month. Fordham University’s Executive MBA fits the bill. It is ranked number three for life balance, number nine for career advancement, and number 12 for prestige. The average age of EMBA program students is 33 and they have an average of 11 years’ work experience.

The program meets just once a month and the program lasts for 22 months. Students are required to spend one-week on a capstone project abroad that the cohort itself designs. You can choose from its Lincoln Center location which starts in September and its Westchester location which starts in January.

Finding the right EMBA program for you involves a lot of factors – but none of that matters if it doesn’t fit into your life. Before you narrow down your choices, give some serious thought to how much time you are able to take off work to pursue your degree. Whatever your situation, there is an EMBA program that will work for you.

About the Author

Renee Ann Butler is a business writer whose writing has appeared in numerous outlets related to finance and investing, from TheStreet to SCORE. She has an MBA, degrees in psychology, and over 15 years of experience working with hedge funds and startups.