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Posted by Chioma Isiadinso
Executive MBAs are on the rise.
And choosing the one perfect for you can be a daunting task.
It’s an investment you are making in your education and career so you need to find the program that addresses most (if not all) of your needs.
There are many factors you will be considering when creating a shortlist, and a lot of advice will be thrown at you on how to make the right choice.
It can get very confusing.
So if you’re stuck with a long list of programs and have no way to shortlist them, here are five things you should consider before choosing an Executive MBA program.
Executive MBAs vary in their length and schedules offered.
Since you’re not studying full-time, you will need to consider the program schedule so you can choose a program that can be completed while still working.
You need to think about the time you have between sessions so you can complete assignments without getting too stressed out.
The right program for you will have a schedule that can be accommodated with your current job and personal life.
If attending the program means you’ll need to take a few days off for each session, you need to talk to your boss and find out a program that minimizes such conflicts.
It’s possible your boss might not allow any extra time off beyond your “annual leave”, or they may be very open to the idea of you taking X days off every few weeks.
Either way, schedule should be an important consideration while choosing an Executive MBA program.
Who are your professors?
What credentials do they have?
Does the program have a specific focus?
All of these questions need to be answered before you choose a program.
If you want to specialize in a certain field, you need to make sure that your program has the relevant courses for it.
You also need to make sure that the faculty for those courses is top-notch.
Your teachers and instructors should have solid credentials in their respective fields, so you can be sure you will be learning from the best.
You should also be looking for a program that is constantly changing the curriculum to keep up with new trends in the business world.
You don’t want to attend a program that still follows an outdated curriculum, or is averse to change.
Return on Investment is an important consideration when choosing your Executive MBA program.
Most Executive MBA programs allow you to recoup your cost within a few years of graduating.
However, you still need to make sure that the money you are spending is going to be worth it by figuring out what the total cost is vs. what you will gain from the program.
You need to know how long it will take you to recoup all the money spent on your EMBA.
Some of the costs you need to keep in mind include tuition, housing when attending classes, any loss in income due to holidays taken, course materials, travel and meals.
Then look at the value you will get from the degree.
Will you be able to get a promotion faster?
Will this help you discover better job opportunities?
Will you have access to services like trained business coaches, or leadership coaching, that you wouldn’t be able to access otherwise?
What are the non-tangible benefits of the program you are considering?
You need to take a closer look at the business school’s connections with companies, the alumni network it has, and the kind of students you’ll be studying with.
This network will be invaluable after you graduate so choose a program that provides you with a network most relevant to your requirements.
At the same time, you need to see the reputation of the school you’re considering.
Is their EMBA program popular among working professionals?
Find out the ratings for the Executive MBA program at each school, instead of making the mistake of looking at the school’s overall rating.
It’s possible to go to a well-reputed school and find that its Executive MBA program is just average.
Don’t make that mistake.
Look closely at just their EMBA and then make your final choice.
While you may not get a chance to travel internationally during the duration of your EMBA, you’ll definitely get the opportunity to meet students from diverse backgrounds and gain international exposure.
If you choose the right program.
International connections will help you extend your professional network, and potentially allow you to network in other countries, either to expand your business or take up a new job.
A diverse student body will also allow you to learn more from your classes, since it will bring international experiences into each classroom discussion.
Employers are also on the lookout for managers with international and diverse experiences under their belt.
Local markets are so interconnected with the international ones that understanding global trends and their application in local businesses is a highly sought after skill.
So attending an Executive MBA that teaches you about more than just the local business trends, and allows you to dig into international case studies, will certainly help you stand out.
While choosing an Executive MBA, you need to closely consider the costs (tangible and intangible) of the program, the flexibility of the schedule, the courses it offers and the diversity of the student body.
Every applicant has different requirements because of their chosen career paths, work commitments and financial limitations.
So the choice of your EMBA program will ultimately come down to your circumstances and career goals.
Are you planning to join an Executive MBA program?
If yes, what factors do you consider the most important while making your decision?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.