How to Choose the Right Executive MBA Program For You

Deciding to enroll in an executive MBA program is a momentous decision. Most executive MBA students are seasoned professionals with busy work schedules and numerous family commitments. In addition, they generally have five or more years of full-time work experience. As a future executive MBA student, you may be looking for an efficient method of earning the degree you need to advance in your career. But which program is best for you? Here are three areas to consider as you research potential schools:

Sponsorship from your employer

Earning an executive MBA involves a great deal of time and energy. As such, some programs require proof that your current employer supports your decision. Certain employers also offer full or partial financial aid, so it is well worth inquiring about possible funding. Speak with your company to learn more about your options, as well as to let them know that you are exploring the possibility of getting an MBA. This is also a great time to identify those supervisors and colleagues who may be able to write you letters of recommendation. These are 5 steps that can help you improve your candidacy.

Location and schedule

Executive MBA programs are available in a variety of locations. Some programs are held on a school’s main campus, while others are hosted at satellite locations, or even online. For instance, Wharton hosts executive MBA programs in both Philadelphia and San Francisco, Ross has locations in Ann Arbor and Los Angeles, Kellogg has campuses in both Evanston and Miami, and Booth has a presence in Chicago, Hong Kong, and London. 

Classes are often held on Fridays, Saturdays, or both, which enables you to meet your work obligations. However, the precise timing of courses varies from program to program. For instance, you may have regular meetings once or twice a month. This can be a significant factor when determining whether you are comfortable driving to another town or flying across the country. Most executive MBA programs are designed to be completed in approximately two years, so be sure to consider how you will manage your travel schedule given your academic, personal, and work demands during this time. Here are 4 things to know about MBA rankings.

Future goals

In addition to exploring logistical issues, decide what you would like to achieve as a result of earning your MBA. Just like full-time MBA programs, not all executive MBAs are the same. Some emphasize international relations, while others are strong in entrepreneurship or finance. Browse student profiles, explore course offerings, and investigate the culture of each prospective school in order to select the best match. You can also consider the strength of the alumni network in the location and industry that you plan to work in. Just because a school’s main campus is located in one city does not necessarily mean that there are no connections in areas across the country or around the world. Elite executive MBA programs reach far beyond their home bases. 

Finally, do not forget the basics of applying to business school. Determine the requirements for each program; speak with admissions officers, current students, and alumni; and present an admissions package that shows how you are a great fit for the school and how the school is a great fit for you. When in doubt, seek the help of mentors, GMAT tutors, or even your employer. Remember why exactly you wish to earn an executive MBA and how this degree will help your career. By considering the above issues, you can soon be on the right path to make your dream a reality.