Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Executive MBA Programs Work


Executive MBA programs are designed for already experienced workers.
Executive MBA programs are designed for already experienced workers.
Tyler Edwards/Getty Images

Successful executives aren't your typical business students. Far from inexperienced, they already command salaries in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. They have years of on-the-job experience and a deep working knowledge of their field. They understand the day-to-day rigors and realities of managing people and leading an organization. Students like these aren't looking for textbook explanations of business concepts. They want an education that is directly applicable to their daily responsibilities.

Executive masters of business administration (EMBA) programs are custom-designed masters of business administration (MBA) programs for high-level managers and experienced professionals. Designed for full-time workers, the program can be completed in two years or less through a "weekend residential" class schedule. Classes meet Fridays and Saturdays every other weekend and students are provided housing on Friday nights. Students at the top programs fly in from across the country to participate.

Executive MBA programs put an emphasis on practical working knowledge geared toward high-level management positions. Students are trained in all key areas of business management -- marketing, finance, accounting, operations, global strategy and more -- and how to be effective and ethical organizational leaders.

There are more than 200 executive MBA programs around the world [source: Executive MBA Council]. Most of the top-ranked programs are in the United States, but there are also top schools in Spain, France, Singapore and Switzerland [source: BusinessWeek].

Keep reading to learn more about the type of student who attends an executive MBA program and what it takes to get in.