Four Factors to Consider Before Pursuing an Executive MBA

Given the time and cost involved in graduate school, pursuing an advanced degree is a major decision. When you choose to enroll in an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA), expect a commitment that requires some changes in how you manage your time, money, and energy. Keep reading for a list of four considerations for anyone who’s thinking about tackling an EMBA program.

1. It Takes Time

If you work through the program as a full-time student, you’ll finish your degree in 18-24 months. Go part-time and it can take three or more years to earn an EMBA. However, these time commitments should not make you despair when you appropriately allocate your time.

Many people successfully finish their degrees on a part-time basis while still keeping their “day jobs.” You’ll need to decide if the benefit of the degree is worth sacrificing your free time for the next few years. Attending classes, doing the required readings, and completing the assignments will compete for the time you have away from your normal work day. If you’re willing to devote the necessary hours each week to excelling academically, then you’re the right type of person to pursue this kind of degree.

2. Your Career Can Change

Completing an EMBA opens up new opportunities for graduates. Your advanced degree can propel you to higher positions and more responsibility. Consider whether you’re ready for new challenges in your professional life. EMBA graduates typically manage larger groups of staff and help develop business strategies. As a result, you may have a job that requires longer hours and more travel, but may also come with a higher salary.

3. Spend Money to Make Money

Because EMBA program costs can run well above $100,000, most universities offer financial aid and scholarships. In addition, you may qualify for federal loans to cover the upfront costs.

If you have a full-time job, find out whether your company provides any assistance such as tuition reimbursement. A well thought-out plan could help you secure a sponsorship from your employer if you present the case that you’ll learn valuable skills to use on the job. Whatever route you choose, think carefully about financing your degree before you enroll.

Regardless of your approach, the expense is worthwhile. According to a 2013 survey by the Executive MBA Council, the salaries and bonus packages of recent graduates rose by 14% from the time they began their programs to the time they finished.

4. Expect Academic Challenges

Expect professors to challenge you in an EMBA program. If college was easy for you, that might change when you find yourself in rigorous EMBA classes. Going back to school can be a humbling experience. You’ll likely meet other students from diverse backgrounds who have different ways of viewing the world. Though challenging, the richness of the academic experience is what shapes you into a better corporate leader.

If these considerations don’t give you pause, then you’re likely ready to begin researching EMBA programs and finding one that’s right for you.