Executive MBA vs. Traditional MBA: Which One is Right for You?


Most individuals, irrespective of the industry and field they are in, choose to do a management program at some point. MBA the most popular business administrative programme opens up the gates to more jobs and high salaries. To accommodate individuals who have been working for some time, colleges launched an Executive MBA programme.

Offered at many universities like UBS offer both Regular MBA and Executive MBA. Both are popular programmes and have thousands of students applying to them every year. The question is what are the differences between both programmes and how does one go about choosing between both? Let us read more about a Regular MBA and Executive MBA programme.

What is an Executive MBA?

Executive MBAs are like traditional MBAs but are meant for working professionals. Generally, the students in these programmes have more than five years of experience in the same field of MBA specialization. The average age at Executive MBAs is higher than in most postgraduate courses. Classes in this course syllabus are fast-paced and designed to teach subjects quickly over a period of time. The class strength is smaller, encouraging students to network, interact with each other and work on assignments with discussions. Typically, Executive MBA programme classes at business schools in Mumbai and India take place on the weekends or on a part-time basis as most students are also working full-time.

What is a Traditional MBA?

The traditional or regular MBA is the MBA programme most students are aware of as it. The management program also comes in a diploma course and is offered by PGDM colleges in Mumbai. It is a two-year long programme meant for students who have just completed their bachelor’s degree and have no work experience. However, students with work experience can also enroll on the traditional MBA course. Classes are mostly full-time but there are also part-time MBA programmes. These MBA courses are available in General format or specialized format where one chooses specializations. As the course ends, students also complete a mandatory short-term internship to get a taste of working in companies.

What are the differences?

There are many points that can differentiate a regular MBA and an Executive MBA. These differentiating factors are, in truth, minor. The major differentiating factor is in terms of the type of student with prior work experience that can apply to both courses. Some of the other major differences are elaborated below.

Admissions: The first and most prominent difference between an Executive MBA and a Regular MBA is the eligibility criteria and admissions process. For the executive programme, applicants must have prior work experience of more than 5 years. This is not a requirement for the traditional MBA course. Most students in the traditional MBA do not have work experience. Admissions also take in the regular MBA through an entrance test score and group discussion with personal interviews. On the other hand, for an executive MBA, there are more rounds like language tests and essay writing.

Syllabus: As mentioned above, the syllabus of both forms of MBA programmes vary quite a lot. Some universities do not offer specialization for their Executive programme while others offer specializations like HR, Finance and Marketing. On the other hand, traditional MBAs always come with some concentrations. The syllabus for the executive MBA course is fast-tracked as compared to the general MBA programme.

Duration: Another major differentiating factor for both MBA programmes is in terms of duration. Full-time traditional MBA programmes are completed over two years which is the same as most postgraduate degrees. Part-time general MBA courses, on the other hand, take a year or so long-lasting for around three years. Executive MBA courses in India are completed over one year. However, this duration will vary greatly depending on the college one is applying to.

Programme Cost: The cost of the programme covers not just the basic tuition but also other fees. For instance, administrative fees, library fees etc. Depending on the nature of the course, full-time or part-time and the nature of the university itself, private or public. The executive programme, generally, costs more than the regular MBA programme. The average cost for the Executive MBA includes only the tuition and not housing, food and related costs. This is because students in this programme study part-time while working and do not need student housing.

Classes: The final and most important factor to differentiate an Executive MBA and a regular MBA is to look into how classes are held. The classes for the Executive MBA take place on the weekends or on certain days of the week. They are longer and cover a lot of advanced topics quickly over a short period of time. Regular MBA classes function much like regular degree programmes. Over two years both basic to advanced topics of different management subjects are taught. Students are also taught communication and non-verbal communication techniques through special classes.

How to choose between an Executive MBA and a Regular MBA?

As mentioned, Executive MBAs are for candidates with over 6 plus years of work experience while regular MBAs do not ask for work experience. However, many regular MBA students also have work experience. This begs the question, for someone who is eligible for both programmes, how would they choose between both? Let us understand some points to consider.

  • Consider the price points of both programmes. The Executive MBA course does cost a little bit more than the normal MBA. Here one must also take into account the return on investment.
  • Look into the choice of specializations. Take a close look into what career one wishes to pursue and colleges that offer said specializations.
  • A major portion of pursuing a course is the lifestyle the college offers. For MBA courses, getting a chance to network is also important. Look for reviews from past students to get an idea of the same.
  • For management courses, admissions involve firstly, an entrance examination followed by other rounds like a personal interview and group discussion. Consider how the best MBA colleges in Mumbai and India conduct their admissions and what documents are to be submitted.

Executive MBAs and Regular MBAs are popular management courses meant for two different types of students. While the main factor that differentiates both is work experience, there are many more aspects that differ between both. Prospective applicants looking to earn a management degree must take the time to research both before applying to one.

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