Choosing a top-choice school for an EMBA program is only the first step in pursuing higher education.
In many cases, prospective students must also weigh whether or not they want to apply to a school’s standalone EMBA program or its joint offering with another prestigious university. Often, a school’s joint program and standalone program will differ significantly in everything from admissions criteria to course of study.
London Business School offers two of the world’s most impressive EMBA programs in its standalone offering and its joint collaboration with Columbia Business School—the latter being the EMBA Global Americas and Europe. While both programs are top tier and top ranked, they do have significant differences that a prospective applicant should consider.
Let’s start where you, the prospective student, will have to start: the application process. Like most EMBA programs, London Business School requires you to take the GMAT and will not accept a GRE score in its place. However, in exceptional cases, the admissions committee will waive this requirement should your work history be particularly impressive. For the EMBA Global joint program with Columbia, however, applicants can submit a GRE score in place of the GMAT should they so choose.
Tuition for the London Business School is $109,500 while the EMBA Global is $179,703. The price difference is stark. However, it’s a difference that leads us to our next point…
Two Degrees, Two Networks
The London Business School’s EMBA Global joint program with Columbia Business School awards its graduates two MBAs: one from each university. And while the tuition cost certainly doesn’t mean it’s two degrees for the price of one, there are plenty of other top tier programs that charge just as much while offering only the network of a single school.
Students enrolled in the London Business School’s standalone EMBA will embark upon a 20-month educational journey that straddles the continent, including coursework in London and Dubai. All students begin the program in London before splitting up between the two locations as they choose. London-based students meet every other week on Fridays and Saturdays. Dubai-based students meet for a four-to-five day intensive session once a month. During the second year of the program, students select an international assignment and can even add on an additional international elective of their choosing.
Meantime, students enrolled in the EMBA Global joint program with Columbia Business School hop back and forth across the pond, alternating between London and New York each month. Most of these sessions last between four and six days. In the second year of the program, students choose from a wide variety of electives offered at London Business School, Columbia Business School and the University of Hong Kong.
The most important difference between the two offerings at London Business School comes when you compare the way that the programs prepare students for their future leadership roles. For the first three terms, the two programs are relatively similar, mirroring most of the typical curriculum of a traditional MBA. But in the joint EMBA Global program, the faculty has tailored the format to prepare students for major roles in international corporations or organizations.
Students enrolled in the joint EMBA Global program are also able to engage in a wider variety of elective coursework than their counterparts in the standalone London Business School program. Of course, EMBA Global students can also partake in electives offered by the University of Hong Kong, adding further diversity to the coursework.
While these international offerings are not to be underestimated, it is worth noting that the London Business School also provides its students with the skills they need to perform on the global stage.
“Intellectually, [the standalone] EMBA was incredibly stimulating,” says Andrew Freeman, currently a manager with top-tier international responsibilities at the World Health Organization. He received his EMBA from the standalone London Business School program in 2012. “The opportunity to learn from world-class academics in a setting that encourages reflection and debate is rare, and the quality of the faculty really stood out. I had great experiences during the core courses and as it is an extremely flexible programme, I was able to tailor my elective choices to support my career goal…It is a great feeling to have such a global, high-calibre group of friends that I can call on for advice or help.”
Of course, having a dual network specifically based in London and New York can be particularly beneficial for some students like Lisa Shaforostova. She is a director with the CBRE Group based out of London and receives her degree from the joint EMBA-Global program in 2017.
“I’d like to run a global business – network diversity and a high level of trust are both essential to reaching that goal,” Shaforostova says. “I already see a number of opportunities that I can explore with my classmates located in different parts of the world to invest in real estate projects, gain insights and develop connections with local businesses. The London Business School network is truly international with students and alumni from various industries and Columbia Business School mirrors this offering.”
When comparing the two programs offered by London Business School, it’s worth considering the importance of dual networks in both the US and the UK. However, both programs are among the best in the world at preparing global executives for leadership roles—a win-win should an executive gain admission to either program.