What Is the Value of an Executive MBA?

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Earning an MBA opens many doors. Not only does it improve your chances of success in finding a better career or getting a promotion, but it also leads to networking opportunities, increased skill sets and attained knowledge, and the potential for a better salary. If you already have years of experience in business administration and you’re interested in challenging yourself further, an Executive MBA may be your next step down the path to success.

If you’re considering pushing the boundaries of your career with an advanced degree in business, you may be wondering whether an Executive MBA is the right degree for you. In the past, the EMBA was sometimes unfairly (and erroneously) labeled an “MBA Lite” degree, but that characterization has faded fast as the Executive MBA has proven its value.

Let’s take a closer look at how valuable an Executive MBA program can be, the main differences between the EMBA and the MBA, as well as potential salary and real-world benefits that may come with pursuing and completing an EMBA program.

What Is the Value of an Executive MBA?

Someone who is looking for an opportunity to advance in their career after acquiring a wide range of experience makes the perfect candidate for an Executive MBA. Consider it the missing piece of the puzzle — someone who has been working with a bachelor’s degree for years and feels they still have something to accomplish may move forward in an Executive MBA program.

Consider Shane Sullivan, from the Executive MBA Online class of 2020, for example. A retired U.S. Navy commander, Sullivan left with 20 years of experience when he was presented with the opportunity to pursue a corporate job. Soon after, he was given the chance to serve as the general manager of Aero-Flite, an aviation company in Spokane, Washington. While he had lots of leadership and management experience, Sullivan found himself searching for more. He wanted additional formal training that would enable him to work toward his full potential.

“I felt I was missing some elements in my background. Mainly business acumen — understanding some of the financials that you just don’t do in the military,” Sullivan said. “I understood how to run operations in management and leadership, but those other elements I didn’t have formal training on. That was one of the reasons I elected to go back and get the degree.”

That’s when Sullivan decided to go to Washington State University to earn his EMBA.

“Washington State University’s degree helped me fill in some of those missing spots that I knew I had,” he explained. “At least I was aware I had blind spots, but I’m better equipped now to limit what those are.”

Sullivan specifically suggested the program to those in the military looking to pursue the next chapter in their lives.

“I would recommend this program to anyone who’s in the military and trying to make that transition, especially into an executive position. It’s almost required reading, so to speak, to learn the language, and I think their career paths will have a much steeper trajectory upward having done this.”

He is just one of many former students of Washington State who found the value in pursuing executive MBA courses and earning their degrees.

What’s the Difference Between the EMBA and the MBA?

When it comes to determining whether you want to pursue an MBA or an EMBA, it’s important to note that the subject matter remains the same. The prerequisites are also effectively identical: Students who pursue either type of degree must have completed a bachelor’s degree program and be well immersed in the core principles of business administration.

One thing that stands out between students in an EMBA program versus those pursuing a traditional MBA is that, in many cases, EMBA seekers have been identified by their employers as leaders with above-average potential. EMBA candidates are required to have at least seven years of supervisory or management experience before gaining acceptance to an EMBA program. The elevated peer environment raises the level of classroom discussion and offers real-world case studies to draw upon. Furthermore, Executive MBA programs are structured for learners who expect to maintain full-time jobs while they earn their degrees. These conditions aren't true across the board for standard MBA programs.

As pointed out by Investopedia, one of the major differences between an MBA and EMBA is your willingness and ability to take time from your career to earn your degree. Many online degree options make it easier to pursue school while you continue to work a full-time job. However, an Executive MBA is designed specifically with mid-career professionals in mind. These individuals will likely choose an Executive MBA because it’s easier for them to continue working and the program is geared toward this type of lifestyle.

Washington State University’s Executive MBA program is designed for students to apply coursework to real-world experiences and deal with time constraints, and allows you to make strides in your career while pursuing your studies. In fact, one of the many benefits of this program is how immersive it is: We encourage students to bring projects from their workplaces into the classroom for a deeper understanding of the real-world challenges and opportunities they'll face. Our world-class Carson College of Business educators are well-trained, experienced professionals who want to help you develop and deploy real, scalable business plans. The real-world experience gained in this program is unparalleled, respected, and highly valuable.

How Much Can You Earn with an Executive MBA?

MBA students understand the value of pursuing a master’s degree, one of the advantages being that it can help you land a higher-paying position. When you pursue an Executive MBA, however, there’s an even greater opportunity to earn more money, and you can do so almost immediately upon graduation.

According to PayScale, the average salary for an individual with an EMBA is $118,878. This annual pay rate can rise when you gain a higher-level position — PayScale also reported that an Executive MBA holder who pursues a career as a chief executive officer (CFO) can earn $209,000.

According to the Executive MBA Council 2019 EMBAC Membership Program Survey, EMBA program enrollment was up 31.6% from 2015.

"The growth of EMBA programs throughout several decades serves as a testament to their value in meeting the organizational thirst for leadership development," said Michael Desiderio, executive director of EMBAC. "Executive MBA programs give students the tools they need to position themselves as invaluable leaders in the market. In fact, the amount of inquiries, completed applications received, and applications accepted have trended upward since 2015, and risen year-over-year for the past three years, which shows greater demand for such programs."

While many students are interested in building their skill sets and gaining more field knowledge, there’s no denying that business administration professionals are interested in pursuing an EMBA program based on its potential to provide job opportunities with higher pay. According to the 2020 EMBAC Student Exit Survey, EMBA graduates reported receiving a 14.1% increase in compensation between salary and bonuses. Another 39% of students who completed the program reported receiving a promotion while they were in school, and another 53% revealed that they were asked to take on more responsibilities at work when managers found out they were pursuing their EMBAs.

What Are the Benefits of an Executive MBA?

Executive MBA programs are designed to turn you into a valuable, experienced business professional with the confidence to complete any task. As you take the steps to earn your EMBA, you’ll gain the leadership skills and education needed to succeed as a leader in your industry. Some of the advantages that come from becoming an executive MBA student and earning your EMBA include:

Investing in Yourself

Whether you finance your own Executive MBA or your company underwrites some of the costs, investing in an advanced degree can expand your opportunities. You may be able to view real-world problems with a new set of eyes and work toward solutions to seemingly intractable business problems. The skills to understand and harness the power of the digital information revolution are vital — think big data applications — and an Executive MBA can help you gain important insights in this area.

The challenges and opportunities inherent to a global economy mean an Executive MBA can be even more beneficial, increasing your knowledge base in all areas of business development. These skills can propel you to new career heights and expand your opportunities for growth.

The Power of Networking

In Executive MBA programs, you’ll encounter a striking cross-section of professionals, including international students. You’ll approach case studies with peers whose backgrounds include engineering, technology, health care, law, defense, and investment banking, among others. They’ll represent many different multinational corporation sizes, bringing a broad range of experience and expertise.

Many MBA programs are structured so that you’ll take most of your classes with the same group of students, leading to deep professional relationships. The contacts you make in your Executive MBA program can provide a wide-ranging, long-term professional network. In an ever more connected economy, a well-developed network of contacts is an invaluable asset that increases in scale over time.

The Confidence to Succeed

Perhaps the greatest value in your Executive MBA degree is the confidence it can give you to take risks and embrace your potential. Participating in class discussions, working on challenging projects, and going head-to-head with some of the most talented teachers and business professionals can give you a heightened appreciation for your own abilities and expertise. Armed with a rich professional network and valuable experience solving real-world problems with the best minds in business, you’ll approach your career opportunities with aplomb.

Learn More About Washington State University’s Executive MBA Online Program Today

Being a well-equipped business administrator all starts with education and experience. Gaining your Executive MBA better positions you against other candidates in job searches and can prepare you to earn raises and potential promotions down the line.

Washington State’s online Executive MBA degree curriculum is delivered from an executive’s point of view and includes courses in marketing management, business analytics, financial management, strategy formulation and organizational design, international business management, and more. WSU’s EMBA program aims to prepare graduates to become the innovative executive leaders of tomorrow, so you’ll feel well equipped from the moment you start the EMBA program until you graduate and earn your degree.

Are you ready to learn more? Visit the Washington State Executive MBA Online website to see how you can prepare advance your career to a higher level.

Recommended Readings:

How Hard Is An MBA Online? Here Are 3 Things You Need To Know

How the EMBA Program Positively Impacted My IT Career


Washington State University, Online Executive MBA Testimonials - Shane Sullivan

Washington State University, Online Executive MBA Testimonials

PayScale - Executive Master of Business Administration

2020 EMBAC Student Exit Survey

2019 Executive MBA Council Survey Results Show More People are Applying for Executive MBA Programs

Washington State University, Online Executive MBA