The Top Five Reasons to Get an EMBA

The Top Five Reasons to Get an EMBA main image

With new technologies and ever-expanding international focus, companies and their leaders are always on the lookout for ways to improve, expand and grow. Many turn to the skills taught on an executive MBA (EMBA) program to do just that. Yes, they may be pricey. But, the benefits of an EMBA can be enormous. From increased salary and promotions, to an enviable network and enhanced global outlook, here are the top five reasons you should consider getting one.


It improves earning potential

Graduates of an EMBA program receive, on average, a 14.2% increase in compensation — salary and bonuses, according to the latest data from the Executive MBA Council (EMBAC), a non-profit association of colleges that offer the degrees. At Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, alums earn an average of $242,985 three years after graduating, 75% more than their pre-program pay. They pay £80,500 (US$111, 135) in fees

But to just see an EMBA as an investment to help you get your next pay rise is too simplistic. “Ask yourself if you want to make a big step change in your understanding of global business,” says Kathy Harvey, director of Oxford’s program. “This is not about financial return but about gaining the insight and resilience to make a much bigger impact within the organization,” she adds.

You gain a more international business outlook

To create business value, leaders need to understand both the local and global economies. An EMBA will introduce you to international perspectives, through a globally diverse student body from a wide range of cultures, companies, industries and functions, says Jake Cohen, senior associate dean for MIT Sloan School of Management. At MIT, 44% of EMBA participants come from outside the US, from firms in the technology, healthcare, financial, biotechnology and many other sectors.

MIT students also take part in internationally-based learning opportunities, says Cohen. In one experiential course, Global Labs, teams of students help companies to solve a challenge relating to innovation, global management or social challenges. This can include conducting field research for one week at multiple company sites around the world.

It signals readiness to move into a more senior position

An EMBA is for senior managers who have reached the point in their career when they want to stop and take stock, and plan their next career move. “If you’re sure you are at a crossroads and are intellectually curious and ambitious, then an EMBA will serve you well,” says Oxford’s Harvey. 

Often, just enrolling in a program will signal to employers that you’re ready to move into a more senior position. “One of the key benefits of completing an EMBA program is an individual’s frame of reference is greatly expanded,” says Michael Desiderio, executive director of EMBAC. His data show that 41% of EMBA graduates are promoted and 52% receive new responsibilities at work.

You gain a powerful global network 

Mixing with a diverse range of leaders — from CEOs to social entrepreneurs and senior policy makers — is a key advantage to studying an EMBA. Cohorts are more experienced than on a full-time MBA program. At Oxford, the average age of an EMBA participant is 37, and they have 14 years of work experience under their belts. In addition, students benefit from being able to tap into the wider business school network, which boasts over 17,000 people living in 129 countries. 

While there is no question the network provides benefits beyond the classroom, it also makes a huge impact in the classroom. “The professor at the front of the room is key to learning, but so is the peer group in the room,” says EMBAC’s Desiderio. “The idea of solving business cases with individuals from outside your company, outside your industry and function, adds to the level of discussion that is nearly impossible to duplicate on the job.”

You apply learning directly into the workplace

Because EMBAs study part-time and are usually employed throughout their programs, they can apply their new-found knowledge directly into the workplace — making them better at their job. EMBA programs provide a wide variety of leadership development tools and greater strategic vision. “We hear how individuals now have a strategic view of their enterprise and they are equipped to make better decisions and execute actions more effectively,” Desiderio says. 


This article was originally written in January 2018 and was updated in April 2018.

Seb Murray
Written by Seb Murray

Seb is a journalist and consulting editor who has developed a successful track record writing about business, education and technology for the international press.

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