MBA vs. EMBA - Making The Right Choice

EMBA or MBA – only a difference of one letter? Or is there more to it? We briefly explain the differences between the programme formats and how to make the right choice for your next career step.

Author: RWTH Business School
Published: 17.11.2022
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MBA und EMBA – what does that actualy mean?

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is an advanced degree programme that primarily teaches content from the field of business administration and thus prepares students for management positions. The “E” in EMBA stands for “Executive” and thus shows the small but subtle difference: professional experience. While an MBA is primarily aimed at young professionals, i.e. those with 2-3 years of professional experience, the target group for an Executive MBA is experienced managers with 5 or more years of professional experience.

Similarities and differences

In addition to professional experience, a first degree is also a prerequisite for an MBA. An EMBA programme also requires (several years of) management, budget and/or personnel responsibility. Accordingly, the average age in Executive MBA programmes is usually higher than in a normal MBA.

This difference in target group orientation is not without reason and has the primary purpose of providing students with a valuable learning experience. In both programme formats, participants meet at eye level, which has a positive influence on exchange and networking. It is also important to mention here that an EMBA is always studied part-time, while normal MBA programmes are offered both part-time and full-time.

Note the focus of the content

As with so many things in life, there is no right or wrong when choosing between an MBA and an EMBA. One’s personal situation, career level and admission requirements play an important role in the choice. Apart from that, specialisation is relevant, because many EMBA and MBA programmes have a particular focus, such as technology, finance or medicine.

For example, if one works in an industrial company, an MBA/EMBA with a technology focus is recommended, as the specialisation brings many advantages: on the one hand, the programme contents and modules are primarily geared to the requirements of industry, and on the other hand, valuable, professional networks are formed. The students in a programme with a technology focus therefore have similar interests and challenges, so that problems can be solved together and successfully transferred to the professional context. Furthermore, students not only acquire business know-how, but also develop an understanding of the requirements of other disciplines and can easily understand complex interrelationships.

MBA vs. EMBA at RWTH Business School

RWTH Business School offers two specialised MBA programmes, the Full-Time MBA Digitalization & Industrial Change and the Executive MBA Technology Management. A significant difference here is also the target group orientation and entry requirements:

Full-Time MBA

  • Target group: Young professionals
  • at least 2 years of work experience
  • 3 semesters
  • Taught in English
  • Tuition Fee: 30.000 EUR

Executive MBA

  • Target group: Executives with initial mangement experience
  • at least 5 years of work experience
  • 4 semesters
  • Taught in German
  • Tuition Fee: 39.000 EUR

Both degree programmes prepare you for the opportunities and challenges of digitalisation and enable you to successfully manage the digital transformation in your company.

Conclusion: Study an MBA or EMBA?

Choosing the right degree programme depends on various factors and your personal situation – How many years of work experience do I have? Should the degree programme focus on a specific industry or discipline? Do I want to study part-time or full-time?

A study programme with specialisation is also recommended to further tailor the learning experience to your own needs. If you have a technical background or work in a technology-oriented industrial or service company, an MBA programme at RWTH Business School is definitely the right choice for your next career step.

Further Information

Are you interested in studying one of the study programmes at the RWTH Business School? Then you can find more information here:

Executive MBA Technology Management

Full-Time MBA Digitalization & Industrial Change

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RWTH Business School