Business professionals who want to maintain full time employment while pursuing a graduate business degree often assess the differences among traditional Master of Business Administration (MBA), executive MBA (EMBA), and fully employed MBA (FEMBA) programs. Until recently, the course work for EMBA programs were not considered as comprehensive and rigorous as those in traditional MBA programs. The normally one year EMBA programs were expensive by comparison, and their main feature was the opportunity to network with top executives at well known companies if one chose the right EMBA school. Many of today’s EMBA programs have evolved beyond the old reputation for being an abridged version of a real MBA. Here is a brief profile of a typical EMBA student and examples of course topics for EMBA programs.

Typical EMBA Student Profile

Students enrolled in EMBA programs usually are senior managers, recognized industry leaders or executives as the name of the program implies. They usually have seven to 10 years of relevant industry experience and are still seeking greater career challenges. While senior managers attend EMBA programs to position themselves for promotions, executive level officers often use these programs to refresh their business knowledge and gain new perspectives on organizational leadership. These students seek programs that are focused on the advanced issues that they face in their daily operations. It is assumed that these students already have a firm grasp of fundamental business areas. The high levels of job experience, demonstrated leadership abilities and diversity among industries are some of the candidate characteristics for which EMBA admissions staff consider when they fill executive MBA program classes. These characteristics help to ensure stimulating and engaging class discussions that are beneficial for all.

Prospective students who want to keep their jobs while going to graduate business school but who do not yet have the work experience that is typical of EMBA students are likely to be more suited for FEMBA programs. FEMBA programs usually have classes that are held conveniently on weekends, evenings and online for non executive working professionals.

Common EMBA Course Topics

There are two basic types of EMBA programs available to today’s graduate business students. The first is the uncommon two year EMBA program that consists of advanced business education topics as well as overviews of the fundamentals relating to major business areas like marketing, accounting, finance and economics. The advanced business education topics often revolve around the development of communication, leadership and analytical skills. The core business fundamental courses often present topics that are tailored for managers in a global business environment.

One year EMBA programs feature fewer foundational business courses and more advanced business topics that are often taught from a global business perspective. Many of these one year programs differentiate themselves by offering students interactive lectures and conferences that are hosted by well known industry experts. Some of these programs even include week long, conference style lectures or corporate field trips abroad to help expose students to challenges within multinational organizations and to present them with unique networking opportunities.

While having a graduate business degree helps to distinguish business professionals from their peers in most cases, it does not guarantee job security or advancement. Executive MBA programs benefits students the most who have already been recognized by their company or industry as outstanding performers.