Executive MBA vs MBA Which One to Choose?

9 min read

MBA (or Masters of Business Administration) is one of the most popular degrees in 2024. It is a dynamic course that enhances leadership and management skills, which are highly demanded in the corporate world.

A career in management helps you make informed decisions and use project and resource management strategies, which are useful for a successful business.

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This is why corporations are always in search of compatible management graduates to fill various management and administrative roles. 

However, there is a certain concern about choosing the right MBA course, as there are two different types of MBA courses based on their nature.

One is the executive MBA and the other is the regular MBA.  The regular MBA is a full-time course, whereas an Executive MBA is a weekend course for professionals. 

In this blog, we will explore some of the distinctions between the Executive MBA vs MBA and also determine which one is better for you.

Executive MBA vs MBA: How do they differ?  

Though the course curriculum remains the same, but yet there are many key differences between the Executive MBA vs MBA. 

A regular MBA is a full-time course covering various business management areas such as marketing, operations, international business, finance and supply chain management. 

The course aims to provide advanced management and administrative skills that can help you learn to manage different business operations and drive growth in the business. 

An executive MBA is the same as a regular MBA. It also covers various areas, such as marketing, finance, HR, international business, operations management, and more. 

Whereas in EMBA, the delivery method is mostly online classes or recorded lectures, which is convenient for working professionals. 

Various projects, studies, and in-person sessions are also conducted from time to time to give the employees an option to learn and practically implement the studies. 

Below is a detailed table showing the major differences between the Executive MBA vs MBA: 

ParametersExecutive MBAMBA
Entrance ExamsUniversity examsStandardised exams: GMAT or GRE 
Class SchedulesWeekendsWeekdays
Work Experience2-5 years Not Required 
Delivery Method Recorded Lectures/Live SessionsClassroom
Sponsorship Employer*Internal (Govt./University) Or External Organisations 
Fees$20,000 – 1,00,000 per year ( ₹ 16.7 L – 83 L)$50,000 – 1,00,000/per year ( ₹ 41 L – 83 L) 

Sometimes, the employer might sponsor your Executive MBA course, depending on the company’s learning policies. 

On the other hand, in the case of the regular MBA, you will have to explore various scholarship opportunities offered by the Government/Universities or external funding organisations.

Executive MBA vs MBA: Top Universities

Many universities worldwide provide advanced Executive MBA and MBA courses for International students. 

These include leading institutions such as Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Wharton School, well-known for their exceptional MBA and EMBA programs. 

The programs offered by such institutions focus on leadership, innovation, and global business management, which can help you grow as a dedicated professional. 

Top Universities for Executive MBA

University CountryFees (in INR)
HEC ParisFranceINR 70 – 90 Lakhs
IESE Business SchoolSpain INR 50 – 60 Lakhs
MIT Sloan School of ManagementUSINR 1.4 – 1. 7 Crore
The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania)USINR 1.6 to 1.8 Crore
London Business SchoolUKINR 1.1 to 1.3 Crore
INSEADFrance INR 1 – 1. 2 Crore
Said Business School (Oxford University)UK INR 1.2 – 1.4 Crore
IE Business SchoolSpainINR 72 – 80 Lakhs
Booth School of Business (University of Chicago)USINR 1.5 – 1.8 Crore
Judge Business School (University of Cambridge) UKINR 90 L – 1.1 Crore 
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Top Universities for MBA

University NameCountryAnnual Tuition Fees (INR)
Stanford Graduate School of BusinessUS60 lakhs INR
Harvard Business SchoolUS65 lakhs INR
University of PennsylvaniaUS50 lakhs INR
HEC ParisFrance22 lakhs INR
London Business SchoolUK45 lakhs INR
MITUS25 lakhs INR
IE Business SchoolSpain45 lakhs INR
Columbia Business SchoolUSA50 lakhs INR
INSEADFrance55 lakhs INR
IESE Business SchoolSpain37 lakhs INR

Top Countries for EMBA & MBA

Several countries across the world stand out due to their prestigious institutions, strong emphasis on education, and a diverse range of career opportunities.

Choosing these countries (listed below) provides a global-standard education and exposes you to the global environment. You will be able to broaden your horizons and learn essential skills such as leadership and collaboration that will be very useful in the long run.

These are some of the top promising countries that you can choose for EMBA & MBA: 

CountriesTop Universities 
USHarvard Business School
-Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania)
-Columbia Business School
UK London Business School
-Said Business School (Oxford University
-Judge Business School (Cambridge University)
France-HEC Paris
-ESCP Business School
Canada University of Toronto 
-Desautels Faculty of Management (McGill University)
University of British Columbia
Australia-Melbourne Business School (University of Melbourne)
-Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM)
-University of Sydney Business School

Now that we have many prestigious universities to choose from in top countries, it is up to you to decide which one is suitable for you. You can decide based on your choices and preferences for the countries where you wish to study MBA.

You can also choose to speak with LeapScholar counsellors, who can help you identify the best opportunities available to you. 

Executive MBA vs MBA Program Format

The Executive MBA (EMBA) and the traditional MBA are both advanced business degrees but differ in format and target audience. The EMBA is designed for senior professionals and executives with 2-5+ years of experience.

The program format for both the Executive MBA vs MBA are as follows: 

Criterion Executive MBAMBA
Program Duration 2 years 2 years 
Class SchedulesWeekendsWeekdays
Recorded LecturesYesNo*
Exam Method Online/Offline*Offline*

*  depends on universities/colleges laws. 

Also Read: List of Best Countries for MBA

Executive MBA vs MBA: Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria for an Executive MBA (EMBA) and a traditional MBA differ mainly in terms of work experience and career stage. 

The regular MBA candidates should be fresh graduates or entry-level executives, whereas the Executive ones can have more experience, too. 

Here is a detailed eligibility criteria for executive MBA vs MBA.

Executive MBA vs MBA Criteria for Admission

ParametersExecutive MBAMBA
Academic Qualification Bachelors (in any stream)Bachelors (in any stream)
Test RequiredExecutive AssessmentGMAT or GRE*
Work Experience 2-5 Years Not required 

* Some universities also accept GRE scores for MBAs, such as Wharton School, Stanford, and Harvard.

While any standardised test is not required for the Executive MBA, the university will take an ‘Executive Assessment’ before admission. This assessment includes the basic knowledge of analytical and logical thinking. Some universities might also take an interview round for the Executive MBA program. 

Also Read: Executive MBA in USA: Top Universities, Fees, Eligibility, Opportunity

EMBA vs. MBA Cost

The cost of studying MBA Executive vs MBA varies a lot. Here, we have jotted down the average cost of opting for the courses:

  • The average MBA executive completion fee is $1,20,000 (INR 1.1 Cr).
  • The average fee for 2 years MBA program is $1,50,000 (INR 1.25 Cr). 

Note: This average global cost might differ from various universities and countries. In Australia, the average fee is $ 36,600 (INR 30 L), whereas in Ireland, it is $22,800 (INR 19 L). 

Scholarships for MBA Abroad

Abroad education is indeed costly for everyone. Thankfully, various scholarship opportunities can make an MBA abroad more affordable for international students. 

These MBA scholarships are usually provided by the government, universities, and private organisations to provide potential students with a world-class education.

Below are some of the scholarship opportunities which can help you study MBA without financial burden: 

Scholarship NameBenefits
Harvard Business School ScholarshipsScholarships averaging $46,000 per year​
The Wharton School ScholarshipsTuition fees Fellowships opportunities
Chicago Booth School of BusinessFull and partial tuition scholarships​
Stanford Graduate School of BusinessTuition fees and living expenses
MIT Sloan School of ManagementPartial to full tuition fees
Columbia Business SchoolThe average reward is $20,000
Yale School of ManagementUp to full tuition fees 
Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management$10,000
Skoll ScholarshipTuition, college fees, and living expenses
BK Birla Scholars ProgramTuition, living expenses, and academic costs

These scholarship opportunities can be a better option for an MBA abroad. You can gather more details about them by visiting their official website. 

MBA Executive vs MBA: Average Salary in INR

After we have examined the educational aspects, let’s compare the job prospects after completing the Executive MBA and the MBA. 

The average salary after completing the regular MBA is around INR 1 to 1.5 Crore, whereas for the EMBA, it is 1.2 – 1.5 Crore. 

Top Recruiters Hiring MBA and EMBA professionals:

McKinsey & CompanyManagement Consulting
Boston Consulting Group (BCG)Management Consulting
Bain & CompanyManagement Consulting
Goldman SachsInvestment Banking & Financial Services
JPMorgan ChaseInvestment Banking & Financial Services
Morgan StanleyInvestment Banking & Financial Services
AmazonTechnology & E-commerce
Meta (Facebook)Technology & Social Media
AppleTechnology & Consumer Electronics
GoogleTechnology & Search Engine

Executive MBA vs MBA Salary 

Job ProfilesMBA ExecutiveMBA
Financial Manager 90 L – 1.2 Cr80 L – 90 L
Operations Manager 86 L – 94 L78 L – 82 L
Management Consultant82 L – 90 L72 L – 78 L
Investment Banker 78 L – 1.2 Cr 72 L – 88 L
Business Development Manager68 L – 74 L62 L – 68 L

Note: The data was taken from the average industry standards of various sites such as PayScale, Glassdoor, and Indeed. 

Now, you might be wondering why there is so much difference between the Executive MBA and MBA salary. This is because Executive MBAs are working professionals who, on average, have 2-3 years of experience. 

Summing Up

We have now discussed the key differences between the Executive MBA vs MBA. 

But before selecting anyone from it, you need to consider your career plans and decide. 

You can do a regular MBA, get a decent salary, and keep climbing the corporate ladder. Or you can go with the job and apply for the Executive MBA once you meet the eligibility criteria. Both these courses are equally suitable for building a career.

If you wish to study MBA abroad, you can talk to our counsellors, who will guide you to better opportunities. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Which is better, an MBA or an executive MBA?

A. It depends on your career stage. A full-time MBA is ideal for fresh starts or career switches, offering a deep dive into business fundamentals. An EMBA is designed for experienced professionals (typically with 2-10 years) seeking to climb the ladder within their field.

Q. Does an Executive MBA have placements?

A. In Executive MBA programs, the focus is on boosting your current career path. They offer placement assistance and networking opportunities to help you advance in your current role or explore new opportunities. While they may not have traditional campus placements like full-time MBA programs, they partner with the companies for job placement opportunities.

Q. What is the duration of an Executive MBA?

A. Executive MBA programs are designed for working professionals and usually around 24 months, depending on the structure and format of the program. Some programs offer condensed schedules, with weekend classes or short intensive sessions.

Q. Is a 2 year Executive MBA worth it?

A. A 2-year Executive MBA can be valuable for mid-career professionals seeking to advance into leadership roles or pivot their careers. It offers an opportunity to deepen business knowledge, develop leadership skills, and expand professional networks, potentially leading to increased career opportunities and higher earning potential.

Q. Who is eligible for an Executive MBA?

A. Executive MBA programs typically require applicants to have several years of work experience, usually ranging from 2 to 5 years, depending on the program. They seek candidates with managerial or leadership experience who can contribute to class discussions and bring real-world insights to the program.

Q. Does an Executive MBA increase salary?

A. Completing an Executive MBA can lead to salary increases, as it equips professionals with advanced skills and knowledge sought after by employers. However, the extent of salary growth varies depending on factors such as industry, job role, and individual performance.

Q. Which MBA specialisation is best?

A. The best MBA specialisation depends on your career goals, interests, and industry demand. Popular specialisations include finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, and healthcare management. Researching industry trends and aligning your specialisation with your career aspirations can help you make an informed decision.

Q. Should I do an Executive MBA or a full-time MBA?

A. Choosing between an Executive MBA and a full-time MBA depends on your career stage, schedule, and learning preferences. An Executive MBA is ideal for mid-career professionals balancing work and study. At the same time, a full-time MBA is suited for those looking for a more immersive educational experience and career transition opportunities.

Q. Which country is best for an Executive MBA?

A. The best country for an Executive MBA depends on program quality, networking opportunities, and career prospects. Countries like the United States, Switzerland, and Singapore are known for their prestigious Executive MBA programs and strong business networks.

Q. Is an Executive MBA better than an online MBA?

A. Both Executive MBA and online MBA programs have their advantages. An Executive MBA offers in-person networking opportunities and peer learning experiences, while an online MBA provides flexibility for working professionals to balance study with other commitments. The choice depends on your learning style, career goals, and lifestyle preferences.

Q. What is the minimum experience for an Executive MBA?

A. The minimum work experience required for an Executive MBA typically ranges from 2 to 5 years, depending on the program. Executive MBA programs seek candidates with managerial or leadership experience who can contribute meaningfully to class discussions and bring real-world insights to the program.

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Saket Kohli

An International Higher Ed professional with 7+ years of experience studying, working, and living across three geographies, currently on a mission to share his journey as an International Student.

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