What Type of Business Professionals Will Benefit the Most from an Executive MBA?

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A candidate for an Executive MBA program may not fit a typical graduate student profile. The Student Exit Benchmarking Survey recently conducted by the Executive MBA Council revealed that EMBA students typically have years of management experience already under their belt when they enter the program. At age 46 or higher, many are older than the average grad student, and by continuing to work while studying, they could receive both promotions and pay raises while they are enrolled. Graduates emerge prepared to take on higher executive positions in their companies, according to the article “Older Students Reap Benefits of Completing Executive MBA Program” on EMBAC.org.

An EMBA degree program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) can benefit these midcareer professionals hoping to move beyond middle management and into the C-suite. Because most students continue working while they attend school, their employers can see continual improvement over the course of the program in leadership, communication, and decision-making proficiencies.

To attain these goals, the types of professionals most likely to benefit from an EMBA are those in positions where interaction with co-workers and subordinates, team-building expertise, and a wider understanding of the big picture are essential skills. Here are a few of the benefits an EMBA degree can provide to professionals who are most suited to the program.

An EMBA degree can provide students with broader business knowledge

Since most EMBA students already hold positions of authority in their companies and are typically in their 30s or 40s, the goal of an EMBA degree isn’t to prepare students for entry-level positions. Rather, an EMBA aims to build upon students’ experience and knowledge to make them ready for positions that require a broader understanding of business.

“Employees working for 10 years or more have likely developed core skills in a specific discipline,” education journalist Delece Smith-Barrow explains in her article, “3 Kinds of Professionals Who Can Benefit from an EMBA,” in U.S. News & World Report. “If they want to expand what they know about other fields, though, an EMBA could help.”

EMBA students typically aspire to rise into their company’s C-suite or adjust to industry changes. Some, however, are looking to change careers entirely, possibly to make an executive position easier to obtain down the road.

An EMBA can help with this transition. Management leaders in specific occupations—such as social media—may want to shift into a field with a larger purview, such as data analytics. From there, the coveted position of chief data officer or chief analytics officer can be easier to attain. Plus, their specialized experience may provide an edge over other potential applicants.

An EMBA can also better connect professionals to their colleagues. Improved professional networks and networking acumen are other benefits business professionals can find in an EMBA program. Graduates can become information brokers—people who are capable of connecting separate networks within an organization and helping different teams coordinate their efforts.

“Most networks are highly clustered—that is, an individual’s friends [and co-workers] are likely to be friends with one another as well,” write business authorities Brian Uzzi and Shannon Dunlap in “How to Build Your Network,” on Harvard Business Review’s website. “Most corporate networks are made up of several clusters but with few links between them. Brokers are especially powerful because they connect the separate clusters, thus stimulating collaboration and exploiting arbitrage among otherwise independent specialists.” Obtaining an EMBA can help professionals fill this networking role and increase their standing in a company.

EMBA benefits that employers appreciate

Businesses are aware of the benefits they may accrue when their leading professionals obtain an EMBA degree. Graduates might bring all of the latest business trends, fresh ideas, and high-quality leadership training that they gained in the EMBA program to their employers.

According to EMBA educator Sophie M. Mathiaut’s IvyExec.com blog post, “How to Best Convey the Benefits of an EMBA to Your Employer,” EMBA graduates contribute to their companies by:

Introducing fresh ideas into the workplace. In class, EMBA students not only learn concepts and knowledge designed to groom professionals for executive positions, they also pick up invaluable tools from fellow students who bring their own expertise into the learning experience.

Becoming better leaders. EMBA programs provide business and leadership coaching to help students discover their individual leadership styles and develop their managerial skills.

Applying team projects from school to the company. Newly minted EMBA graduates become consultants to their companies due to their vast experience with the intensive team projects they participated in during their degree program.

Connecting the whole company to a broader, deeper network of talent. Going to school with other students who are already skilled managers in their own industries builds a strong network of useful professional contacts that can benefit both EMBA grads and their employers.

Opening the company to the world. EMBA schooling generally offers extensive training in international business. In fact, 68 percent of EMBA programs require an international trip to prepare students for global leadership, according to the article “2016 Executive MBA Council Survey Results Offers Insights into Future Business Leaders” on EMBAC.org. That experience can be hugely beneficial to companies with global reach or that wish to branch out into foreign markets.

These outcomes are possible because the Executive MBA is meant to be mutually beneficial to employers and to professionals wishing to broaden their business knowledge and become executives in their industry.

Because of these shared benefits, in many cases employers are willing to provide tuition assistance to their employees enrolled in an EMBA program. However, even students who finance their own education can likely look forward to post-graduation salary increases that will help offset the cost of the program.

Washington State University’s EMBA Degree Program

WSU’s Carson College of Business offers an online Executive MBA that can provide students with the knowledge, skills, and training to rise to the top of their industries as strong, influential business leaders.

Though candidates typically have management or even senior management experience, EMBA coursework is designed to give students a holistic view of executive leadership. Contact WSU for more information.


• Older Students Reap Benefits of Completing Executive MBA Program – https://embac.org/pdf/pressroom/09_26_2008_class_of_2008.pdf
• 3 Kinds of Professionals Who can Benefit from an EMBA – https://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/articles/2014/03/20/learn-which-professionals-benefit-the-most-from-an-emba
• How to Build Your Network – https://hbr.org/2005/12/how-to-build-your-network
• How to Best Convey the Benefits of an EMBA to Your Employer – https://www.ivyexec.com/executive-insights/2016/how-to-best-convey-the-benefits-of-an-emba-to-your-employer/
• 2016 Executive MBA Council Survey Results Offers Insights into Future Business Leaders – https://embac.org/pdf/pressroom/2016-embac-member-survey-press-release.pdf