What Is an EMBA and How Can It Benefit Career Changers and Entrepreneurs?

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Motivated businesspeople who aspire to more challenging positions can benefit from an advanced degree. For many, an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) degree can spark a career change or fuel entrepreneurial ambitions.

According to the Executive MBA Council, as of 2020 there is evidence of a marked rise in the percentage of corporations that fully fund the EMBA degree for their employees, increasing from 15.4% in 2019 to 17.6%.

This trend is helping to make EMBA degrees more accessible and helping many talented professionals advance their careers. Those looking to tackle entrepreneurship or make a career change should consider the knowledge and skills they’d find in an online EMBA program.

What Is an EMBA Degree?

The EMBA is not dissimilar from a standard MBA program, but it does deviate in that in most cases it expects students to possess existing work experience in their chosen field of business. It bypasses some of the groundwork found in other business programs for this reason and chooses to focus on advanced knowledge and practices. It is a program designed largely for active professionals who aspire toward more responsibilities, a promotion, or even a career change.

The EMBA emphasizes teamwork, leadership, and communication practices, equipping students with the skills and pedigree to become excellent leaders in the workplace.

A business professional sits at a desk working on a laptop.

Because it’s designed for those currently in their preferred field, the EMBA is ideal for those with more professional and managerial experience. In an EMBA program, there is less coursework overall, so students can expect to finish the program in about the same time it would take to earn an MBA.

Changing Careers During an EMBA Program

Traditionally speaking, the EMBA degree was designed to improve seasoned managers’ chances of moving into executive leadership at their companies. MBA programs, on the other hand, targeted students who are closer to the beginning of their careers.

“For MBAs, internships are commonplace and are often embedded into the curriculum in one form or another,” writes international journalist R. Kress in the article titled “Changing Lanes: Can an Executive MBA Help You Transition to a New Industry?” on IvyExec.com. “These relatively low-risk opportunities provide access and insight into corporations, industries, and even careers that can be sampled and assessed. … For EMBAs, there is by and large no comparable program to give participants a taste of the career they wish to try.”

Without such internship programs, EMBA graduates, many of whom are already seasoned managers, are finding their own resources for new career opportunities.

Ultimately, unless they are under contract, students can decide for themselves whether to stay with their current company or seek a new job. Some corporations may acquiesce to employees attending an EMBA program as a way to retain their services, but may not have any real intent of allowing them to progress afterward. Other companies simply may not be able to promote all of their EMBA employees to C-suite positions.

Changing Careers After an EMBA Program

These EMBA graduates may decide to move on to a new company. Reasons for seeking a new job or career that may maximize an EMBA degree can include:

  • Improved salary: An EMBA degree gives job seekers more bargaining power when negotiating salary with a potential new employer.
  • Greater advancement: Graduates of EMBA programs are highly ambitious. Seeking new job opportunities can make it possible for them to better target their career progression by going for the exact positions and job titles they are looking for. In business, there’s always another threshold to reach or venture opportunity to take.
  • A fresh start: EMBA degree holders who switch jobs and/or careers have the opportunity to pursue their new aspirations and use their new education. Many aspiring C-suite leaders like to take control of their own career progression. Some may also make a career change simply to seek excitement or a new creative outlet.

Students should exercise caution, however, and investigate all options before leaving their current employment situation.

Best Business Degree for Entrepreneurs

EMBA degree programs, once seen as an express pathway to the C-suite, now also serve as a powerful steppingstone for established professionals who want to change careers or start their own businesses.

Some examples of how the EMBA is the best business degree for entrepreneurs, and can accelerate career change or entrepreneurial endeavors, include:

  • Immersion into an expansive peer network with diverse business backgrounds
  • Opportunities to study and think about business through a broader, more strategic lens
  • Faculty and mentors with esteemed academic credentials and the rich, real-world experience of fellow students
  • Interactions with peers that can lead to other tangible benefits, such as meeting future co-founders, business partners, and advisors
  • Global insights into specific markets and industries

Such advantages can be invaluable to entrepreneurs seeking a working knowledge of executive leadership and general management before embarking on a new venture.

An EMBA Program That Helps You Excel

Washington State University’s Carson College of Business offers a carefully designed online Executive MBA program. It is structured to equip aspiring professionals with the next level of knowledge, skills, and training to rise to the top of their chosen industry as strong, influential business leaders.

What an EMBA program, such as the one at WSU, also provides are useful tools for students who are preparing to change careers or start their own business. The curriculum features several courses for building skills in leadership, management, and production, such as Data Analysis for Managers, Strategic Planning for Personal and Program Success, and Information Systems Analysis.

Learn more about the WSU online Executive MBA program today.


Recommended Readings

Balancing it All as a Self-Learner

How Hard is an MBA Online? Here are 3 Things You Need to Know

Military Entrepreneurship: Tips and Resources for Starting Your Business



Financial Times, “The Executive MBA Gets Entrepreneurial”

Ivy Exec, Changing Lanes: Can an Executive MBA Help You Transition to a New Industry?

MBA Center, “How Can an EMBA Help You Switch Careers?”