7 Questions to ask yourself when considering an EMBA

7 Questions to ask yourself when considering an EMBA  main image

Deciding to do an EMBA is a big step. It requires a big investment both from a time and financial perspective and yet the ROI is undeniable.  So, how do you choose the program that best positions you to hit the ground running upon graduation and see that investment pay off?  Here are seven questions, prompted by discussions with top business schools, and that encompass everything from the alumni network to your preferred learning style, to help you in your decision making process.


1. Is the EMBA the right degree for me? 

Though you have decided that continuing your higher education is what you would like to do.  Are you sure that an Executive MBA is the right certification?  There are numerous options for executives wanting to head back to the classroom such as specialized master’s degrees, AMPs (Advanced Management Programs), executive education courses and much more.  So, do your due diligence and make sure you set aside time for your research before choosing the Executive MBA.  It is an excellent study option, but make sure it is the best path for you in terms of learning style, course content and the time and financial investment required.


2. Where do I want my EMBA program to be located?

One of the best parts of doing an EMBA is that you can continue to work as you do your studies.  You can therefore apply what you learn in the classroom directly to what you are doing on the job.  What happens, though, if you work in a region where there are no top business schools with an EMBA program on offer?  Luckily, this is not typically a problem because EMBA programs are set up to work with a busy executive’s schedule from almost anywhere in the world.  Classes are either offered during weekends or in week-long segments spaced out with plenty of working time in between (modular format) allowing you to study and work in two different places if needed. 


3.  What is my expected ROI? 

A natural question to ask when you are making a big investment is what kind of return you will receive.  If you are calculating your ROI purely from a financial point of view, the good news is that top program participants often see a full ROI in as little as three years.  It is important to remember though that the benefits of an EMBA are not only financial.  Alumni mention such important points as new found self-confidence; an expanded, high-powered network around the globe; life-long friendships; acquiring the latest business knowledge and simply rediscovering a joy for learning once more, all of which cannot be measured in dollars, euros, or pounds.


4.  Which business school suits my needs?

Though some people are tempted to go directly to the latest business school rankings to make their EMBA program choice, rankings do not always tell the whole story.  It is important to look at the full picture to find a school that it is offering the mix of professors, content, off-site learning and participant stats that suit you and your needs best. 


5.  Which business school fits my learning style?

One thing that candidates often do not put a lot of consideration into is the school ambiance and learning style. However, it can prove to be vitally important especially when it comes to how you receive and retain the information that you pick up in your course.  This is why it is highly recommended that you go for a school visit, speak with program graduates and sit in on a few real classes.  You want to make sure that the place where you will be spending a great deal of your time over the next year or two is both motivating and suitable to your learning style.  So be sure to give the school itself a once over before you make your final decision.


6.  How strong is the alumni network?

Though business schools do not always like to hear it, many alumni will tell you they chose a certain program as much for the alumni network as for the program itself.  Candidates have been known to browse the alumni listing to see if people from their dream company are included before deciding on a certain business school.  Knowing that your chosen sector is well represented at the program you are considering can be invaluable in making the next steps you desire in your career.


7.  How can I use the EMBA degree right after graduation?

Just as with the ROI and wanting to be sure you get a payoff for your investment you also will want to consider how you can put your newly minted EMBA degree to work for you right after graduation.  If you are planning on staying with the same company, talk to your immediate supervisor about what opportunities would be available to you upon completion of the program.  If you are thinking of moving on to a new company immediately or shortly after graduation, check to make sure that there is a career services office available to the EMBA program participants at the business school you are considering.  You can also see if there is a partnership between your chosen school and a company that you have your sights set on.  Let the degree and the school work for you as you take your first steps after completing your EMBA degree.


Written by Dawn Bournand

Dawn Z Bournand is associate director of the Executive MBA department at QS and handles editorial content for the department which includes serving as editor-in-chief of the QS TopExecutive Guide. Along with two of her QS colleagues, she recently wrote the book, QS TopExecutive Passport - Your essential document for entry into the world of Executive MBAs.  One of her favorite parts of the job is serving as an MBA/EMBA expert on webinars and panels, at conferences and in the media.

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