Executive MBA vs. Full-time MBA

Hello, Everyone!

We are back with another interesting topic: Executive MBA vs. Full-time MBA. Applicants with 10+ years of experience are concerned about their ideal program. Both the programs have different suitability, and one needs to generalize the need based on more than one factor. A full-time MBA has many exhaustive networking opportunities, a wide curriculum, and internship exposure which may be suitable for someone wanting to switch careers. On the other hand, EMBAs may be ideal for someone who is already at a C level or senior management position and looking to hone their skills, get some networking opportunities, and gain credibility. 

So, it’s not one size fits all! 

In this article, we’ll help you derive the right perspective for a traditional MBA and an Executive MBA, and we will help you evaluate the right fit between an Executive MBA and vs. Full-time MBA. 

Without any further ado, let’s get rolling!


MBA is an advanced degree that bridges the gap b/w theoretical and practical knowledge and trains students’ minds in business principles, leadership skills, approaches to business strategy, and expanding the network. MBA tutees achieve this postgraduate degree to enhance their marketability and credibility as corporate professionals.

While Executive MBA is a specifically curated program for those working professionals who want to pursue their studies along with their full-time careers, it helps enhance the careers of working executives, entrepreneurs, managers, and other business leaders.

An MBA or EMBA makes an employee more desirable in terms of skills, personality, goals, vision, perspectives, and fit for a company to hire and retain for career advancement.


1. Details about the Program and Curriculum

From the above definition, one can figure out that the EMBA program is much more flexible than the MBA, as the principal difference is that the EMBA is a kind of part-time MBA to fulfill the needs of working professionals. Though, the program varies according to particular b-school. However, full-time MBA students have intense schedules that don’t allow them to participate in other areas. It often takes two years to complete the program, but if you’d like to choose part-time, it will take 3 to 4 years. 

By being professionally coached for more than 3 to 4 years, students have already climbed up and developed skills in their discipline and roles. Still, they can fine-tune their communication skills, problem-solving abilities, analytic thinking, and, of utmost importance, confidence. 

The sweet and bitter piece is that EMBA students will meet the same scholars throughout the whole program, so they have the advantage of making great bonds.

In contrast, traditional MBAs will have to reshuffle their classes in the 2nd year of their program, which benefits them by expanding their network. 

Now diving into the curriculum; generally, a full-time MBA will offer students the basics core courses in the 1st year to enrich students’ learning and basic concepts to the same level and, from the next year onwards, to gain industry exposure; b-school provides students a chance to do internships for 3 to 4 months to learn and develop the skills to open the gate of job opportunities. 

While in EMBA, the curriculum is designed in intensive intervals to minimize distraction from work. The classes are more fast-paced, covering areas like entrepreneurship,  marketing, finance, economics, human resource management, and strategic management. 

2. Eligibility Criteria: These two degrees’ curriculums are different, and so are their eligibility criteria. Working professionals differ from full-time applicants in terms of diversity, culture, quality, experience, leadership, and managerial skills. Keeping all this in mind, we have separated the eligibility criteria so that you can prepare for your further rounds accordingly. 

If you’d like, you can also join us in our coffee chats with alums and the admissions team of top B-schools, where you can clear all your doubts related to your application.


Bachelor’s degree with a decent GPA

GMAT exam score

GRE score

Minimum 3 years of professional work experience (it varies from program to program)

Minimum English language scores: IELTS Academic 6.0, TOEFL iBT 70, PTE Academic 60

Official Transcript 

Letters of recommendation



Bachelor’s degree with a decent GPA

GMAT or GRE test scores

A minimum of 3-5 years of work experience (Though students doing EMBA are between 32 and 38 years old)

Management or supervisory experience preferred 

Minimum English language test scores: IELTS Academic 6.5, TOEFL iBT- 80, or PTE Academic- 60

Official Transcript

Letter of motivation from the employer

Letters of reference

At least 1 LOR


One can manifest the differences in the financial investment of the full-time MBA and EMBA from their eligibility and curriculum. The fee structure varies according to b-schools, but for a full-time MBA, it is usually higher than an EMBA. FT MBAs have an opportunity cost of leaving the job market for 1-2 years. Moreover,  FT MBA students are self-funded, and just a small proportion of students are sponsored. However, b-school offers various scholarships, be they merit-based or need-based. 

Now be at odds with an EMBA; working professionals are for weekends and evening classes, but they can cover their funding from employers or scholarships. 

Average Tuition Cost for FT MBA by Location ($)

US: 155.3k

Asia: 68.3k

Europe: 105.6k

Tuition cost range for Executive MBA Programs-

US- $45k- $170k

Asia- $40k- $100k

Europe- £20k- £90k

Note- This is a range from the lowest to highest among the top 50 schools

Let’s talk about the nitty-gritty of investment. The average payback period is between 4-7 years. EMBA graduates can expect a moderate salary boost of approx.  40%, according to the QS Global EMBA rankings. In contrast, MBA students tend to be earlier on in their careers; they can expect an increase of 66%  in compensation post-graduation. 

 5. Networking and Way of life

One of the basic facts is survival of the fittest! No matter wherever you go, change is inevitable. Like this, regardless of your program, you will meet new people. The difference is that it is particularly important for EMBA students because closer interactions within small and valuable groups and with alums will create a lifetime impact as they can utilize this effort in work, as the better the network, the better the efficiency. 

While a regular MBA lives permanently on or near campus, meaning students have more opportunities to engage in extracurricular activities like clubs, sports, conferences, student-organized events, and socials, allowing students to get to know a wide group of peers.  

6. Which program will best suit you?

There is no right answer to it. As discussed in the beginning, it will depend on many factors, but the most important for you to understand is where you are in your career right now and your aspirations post-MBA. 

Generally, for someone who is looking for an MBA for an extensive experience in management or switching careers or huge career transition, then a full-time MBA may make more sense despite higher work experience. 

And yes, some full-time programs are hesitant to take candidates with higher years of experience, but if you have a strong case for ‘why MBA’ and can establish a good fit for the program, you can target FT MBAs, no matter what you might have heard from others.

You can book a 1:1 free profile evaluation with experts to assess your chances in your target programs.

B-schoolLocationQS rankingsDurationTuition Fees
HEC ParisFrance115-18 months€94,000
Penn (Wharton)Us22 years€214800
IESE Business SchoolUs, Spain, Germany318 months€120,700
MIT (Sloan)Us420 months€192,000
Oxford (SAID)England52 years€98,590
Chicago (Booth)Us622 months€198,500
INSEADFrance714-17 months€128,775
London Business SchoolEngland820 months€108,100
Berkeley (Haas)US922 months€196,000

We offer a limited number of complimentary profile evaluations each week where we match you with the students and alums of top B-Schools according to your background and target schools. In this call, the experts will try to dig out your USP for top B-schools and provide you with honest feedback on your profile and chances to your target schools.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

UPCOMING EVENT: Breaking Barriers: Empowering LGBTQ+ Leaders with Pride.Register now