Thinking about an Executive MBA? Here are the top things to consider

“What type of MBA is right for me?” Have you found yourself pondering that question lately? It’s no secret that MBA programs can be demanding, and time is limited for many people. Full-time programs entail upwards of 27 hours per week between classes and outside work, and part-time programs can extend a degree track by years. This can leave few viable options for working professionals who are looking to develop leadership skills or change careers.

The Executive MBA—a more flexible program than the traditional MBA—is designed for senior-level individuals balancing work and/or family who want to advance their careers, change fields, or even switch industries altogether. If this sounds like you but you’re not sure whether an EMBA is the right choice, we recommend starting with these additional questions.

1. What works best with your lifestyle?

Deciding the best next step for you starts with considering your current circumstances. What other components of life are you trying to balance, such as traveling for work or attending to aspects of your personal life that require a lot of time? The things you’re balancing now are unlikely to disappear once you begin an MBA program. If you are balancing a lot, you need a program that’s as flexible as you are.

2. Where would you like to be in your career?

EMBA candidates often are professionals who would like to advance further in their field but feel like they’re missing the necessary skills or background to do so. MBA programs can help to fill in those gaps by providing an immersive experience, allowing students to receive personalized leadership coaching and lean on individualized mentoring from faculty. They also create opportunities to experience the intersection between business and policy through international residencies.

These real-life situations boost a person’s confidence in their business skills and acumen. They can also help you strategize for how you’re going to use what you’re learning to advance your career. If you’re looking to do something entirely different professionally, these experiences can help you gain wisdom from exposure to the diverse student cohort and feel confident changing careers.

3. Where do you want to go next?

An Executive MBA can be great for people looking to branch out. You’ll work directly with executives from different areas and industries in your cohort programs. You’ll have the chance to learn and grow with people from different backgrounds, industries, and educational histories. These connections can serve you for years to come—be it with advice, support or further career opportunities.

They can also help you look at situations from a variety of perspectives and enhance your problem-solving skills. Students in Olin’s EMBA program have seen improvements in areas like critical thinking, emotional intelligence, cultural intelligence, and communication—all of which go a long way toward making them better team players and enable them to build stronger, more positive relationships with their colleagues. For somebody looking to make a career change, a strong foundation in these soft skills can be an invaluable asset.

4. What is your why?

MBA skills development focuses primarily on leadership. If leadership is your career focus, then it would be hard to overstate the Executive MBA benefits and career impact. These programs are more than just a curriculum or coursework. You’re constantly challenged by faculty and fellow students. It’s the perfect simulation for handling the diverse opinions and backgrounds of an actual leadership setting.

The EMBA at Olin When you choose to pursue an Executive MBA at Olin, you’re choosing to pursue more than just a degree. Every course, every project, every connection, and every residency builds on itself to provide a well-rounded experience that you can take into the real world. The goal is to make your education practical and applicable—an immediate and ongoing return on your investment.

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