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5 things you need to know about an Executive MBA

1. What is an Executive MBA?

An Executive MBA is a part time MBA which typically takes between 2-4 years to complete depending how long you want to spend on it. The main difference to the full time MBA is that most people continue to work full time whilst studying. A good analogy is that a full time MBA is like a marathon whilst an Executive MBA is a series of sprints.

2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the Executive MBA over the full time MBA?

The main advantage of choosing the Executive MBA is that you continue to work whilst studying, meaning you will have a salary and aren’t taking the risk of opting out of the workforce. Executive MBA candidates tend to have more years of work experience, are older and are more diverse.

The main disadvantage is having to juggle studying a demanding qualification with a full time job plus everything else you have going on in your life. Arguably it’s also a less immersive experience than the full time MBA as it’s spread out over a longer time period and generally involves different modes of learning.

3. How do I fit it in around work, life etc?

First up you will definitely need the support of your employer and/or your partner/family (if you have one) so discuss with them before applying. Secondly, you have to really want to do it so think clearly about your motivations and what you want to get out of doing an MBA. Thirdly get your finances in order as it’s a big commitment even if your employer funds it.

The good news is that the Executive MBA is designed specifically around people who are working. Lectures typically take place either in the evenings, on weekends or in a 4 day block e.g. Wednesday-Saturday. However, it’s a big time commitment and the lectures are only part of what you will be expected to do. In advance of each module there’s the required reading, you will have group work to do in between lectures and finally there’s usually a written assignment or exam per module. Most MBAs require either a dissertation or exams to complete the course.

4. Does it cost the same as a full time MBA?

Usually yes, but costs are paid termly and spread out over the 2 years. There is often a small fee to pay if you take over 3 years but this is more as a disincentive to get your dissertation done!

5. Will my employer pay for it?

Maybe. Many large companies now have policies on whether they support MBAs. These can range from full payment of fees (but usually require a post-graduation lock-in period) through to paying a % of the fees. If you work for a smaller company or your employer doesn’t support MBAs then it’s worth asking for alternative support such as time off in lieu or extra holiday to study. Don’t forget that most universities offer scholarships and/or bursaries which are definitely worth considering.

About the author

Jenni Chance, Senior Marketing and Communications Manager, PwC

Jenni is a marketing communications professional with over 20 years experience, having worked for most of her career at PwC. She did an Exec MBA at Warwick Business School, graduating in 2020. She loved it so much that she continues to guest present on their elective marketing modules in the Shard. Jenni lives in Sussex with her husband and 3 children

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