How to maximize the ROI of your executive MBA |

How to maximize the ROI of your executive MBA

By Stephanie L

Updated May 26, 2021 Updated May 26, 2021

Sponsored by Warwick Business School

Pursuing an executive MBA (EMBA) is a big decision and even bigger investment, so how can you make sure to maximise your return on investment (ROI)?

It’s important that you understand the ROI of an executive MBA can be measured by more than just your earnings potential and promotion prospects. The intangible benefits of an EMBA also have tremendous value, from the new-found business knowledge, to how you will develop as a leader, and professional networking opportunities.

TopMBA caught up with Shaun, Pichaya, and Erhan – three executive MBA graduates from Warwick Business School – to find out how their executive MBA experiences have impacted their professional and personal development.

Decide which study format is right for you

Executive MBA programmes are delivered in a variety of formats, including part-time, online, and also blended (where you study on- and off-campus – usually at weekends or in the evening), over a period of 12-24 months.

They are designed for the experienced working professional who can’t afford the luxury of putting their career on hold for a prolonged period of time but can study alongside their job, instead.

Deciding which type of programme is right for you can take some time, so it’s important that you identify what it is that you want and need from the programme.

For Shaun, it was the condensed teaching structure comprising of four face-to-face day teaching blocks from Wednesday to Saturday that clinched it for him. 

“It meant I had less time away from my business, and it also gave the time to make long-lasting friendships with my peers,” says Shaun.

Pichaya says she chose Warwick Business School specifically because of the flexibility that the Executive MBA offered. Juggling a full-time job and transitioning into a new role in a new company and a new industry, all while raising a young daughter meant that finding a programme which was flexible was vital. With a second campus based in London, Pichaya could conveniently commute from her office to evening lectures at The Shard.

“The only times I could study were after weekday working hours, during my train commutes and late at night. 

“Warwick’s London base location at The Shard and its programme structure allow me to interact with my academic faculties and classmates in-person while balancing and achieving my busy schedules,” she adds.

Consider your future earning potential

It’s important to know what the long-term earning potential is for executive MBA graduates – as is paying close attention to the career paths they have gone on to pursue.

In the QS Global EMBA Rankings 2019, Warwick Business School ranked number one for salary increase as its graduates go on to have an average salary increase of 114 percent – well ahead of the industry average.

Identify your career ambitions

A common motivation for pursuing an executive MBA is when you feel like you’ve reached a career plateau and have no more room to grow or move upwards. If reaching a management position sooner or starting your own business is the goal, an executive MBA can help you move into job positions you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

Shaun was able to move into his role as a general manager while also being Head of Supply Chain and Logistics as a direct result of the Executive MBA – something he wouldn't have been able to do without it, he says.

“The EMBA gave me the academic tools to ultimately run a business. From managing the financial side of the business and understanding the numbers, to formulating strategies to support business growth, I felt equipped to take the next step in my career.

“Having done the EMBA it gave my business the confidence to take that risk on me and without it, they may have decided not to,” he adds. 

Consider what funding and financial support is available for you

According to data from the EMBA Council, just over half of executive MBA students have received either full, or partial scholarships from their employers.

As for the remaining 46 percent – they are self-sponsored. However, it is usually the case that they have access to some form of financial assistance or aid. 

Despite the significant cost of an executive MBA, there is usually always an option that can help offset some of the costs.

Maximising the amount of financial aid you can secure whether it’s awarded on merit or need, is one of the most important considerations when deciding between schools. Therefore, it’s important that you do your research and speak with both your employer and prospective business school to find out what options are available for you.

Bring your new-found leadership and management skills to the table

A huge benefit of an executive MBA is that you can immediately apply what you have learnt to your current role and share your new-found knowledge with others.

As someone with a heavily technical background, Erhan looked to join a programme which would enable him to build his business acumen. So far, the Executive MBA at Warwick Business School has given Erhan the skills and knowledge needed to better articulate his thoughts to stakeholders and team members.

“I can explain things in not only a technical format but, I can translate those risks so that they can truly understand what the risks are to the business, the business drivers, and also how we can solve such challenges from a business perspective,” he explains.

The value the Executive MBA has already given Erhan in the short term is considerable. “It has provided me with a global viewpoint on different areas such as culture, leadership styles and communication. It has widened my entrepreneurial mindset motivating me to innovate more both personally and in the workplace,” he says.

The power of networking isn’t to be underestimated

Did you know that 85 percent of jobs are found via the ‘hidden’ job market – in other words – networking? An executive MBA from a well-established business school can be an invaluable source for meeting new contacts, building a strong, professional network and bringing a wide range of opportunities your way.

For Pichaya, her exciting new career path is testament to what a professional network on top of an Executive MBA really can do for your career, as she explains.

“I experienced incredible changes in three fronts: a shift in functional role from management consulting to software engineering product and programme management; a vertical industry shift (from professional services to software technology); and finally, a shift in corporate culture from a blue-chip, large partnership organisation to a hyper-growth US tech unicorn company!”


If you’re interested in pursuing an executive MBA, Warwick Business School is a world-class business school ranking 20th in the world and fourth in the United Kingdom for its Executive MBA programme, according to the QS Global EMBA Rankings 2020.

This article was originally published in January 2021 . It was last updated in May 2021

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Written by

As the Head of Sponsored Content for and (until September 2021), Stephanie created and published a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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