Executive MBA vs MBA: Which Degree Is Better for Me?

MBA v EMBA scholar

Drexel LeBow offers a customizable MBA, available in full-time and part-time plan of study options, as well as an Executive MBA program. Learn more about our MBA and EMBA programs today.

Setting yourself apart in today’s business world is a challenge. With ever-improving technology, increasingly dynamic markets and fierce competition, it’s hard to stay ahead of the curve. For committed professionals looking to advance their careers, diversify their skillsets and make an impact in their industries, an MBA or Executive MBA degree may be the perfect option.

When selecting your degree, it’s important to factor in your skillset, experience and career goals. After considering these factors, a common question from prospective students is: “What’s the difference between an Executive MBA and an MBA?” For applicants who are considering either program, the Executive MBA and MBA options may seem similar, but they have key differentiators that can impact a student’s experience.

Here are some factors to consider when applying to an MBA or an EMBA program:

Skills Acquired in the MBA and EMBA Programs

Earning your graduate degree, whether you choose the Executive MBA or MBA, can prepare you to tackle the new challenges facing industries every day, regardless of your experience level. The Drexel LeBow MBA and the Executive MBA curriculums are tailored to the specific needs of each student population, while equally increasing each groups’ knowledge, ability and expertise.

Skills Acquired from Degree MBA Executive MBA
Problem solving Strategic leadership
Business acumen Financial reporting
Effective communication Design thinking
Leadership & collaboration Marketing strategizing
Strategic analysis Negotiation
Corporate financial management

For those looking to develop their business acumen or looking for a career change, the MBA program is a perfect option. With the ability to focus on specialized disciplines through concentrations such as business analytics and marketing, you can tailor the program to fit your specific career goals.

The Executive MBA is designed for students looking to develop tactics in strategic leadership, explore emerging business trends and address the unique challenges facing businesses today. With a majority of students in senior-level management positions, the Executive MBA enhances the skills they’ve gained in the workforce.

Program Structure and Student Demographics in the MBA and EMBA Program

Class Size and Course Delivery MBA Executive MBA
33 students enrolled full-time 20 students
Full-time and part-time options Executive residency format
Online coursework available Hybrid coursework with in-person and supplemental online course instruction
Student Demographics MBA Executive MBA
Average age is 30 Average age is 39
Up to 16 years of professional experience At least seven years of professional experience
Program length and time requirements MBA Executive MBA
Average time to completion: 18 months to 3 years 18 months delivered over 20 months with Decembers off

If you’re looking for a flexible program, the MBA can be pursued full-time or part-time. Students can select to enroll at the Philadelphia or Malvern campus or take coursework entirely online. The MBA program also allows you to customize your learning experience to your personal objectives through targeted concentrations, graduate minors and dual degree programs. Annual enrollment varies by location and delivery.

The Executive MBA has an average cohort size of 20 students and focuses on collaboration and networking. This degree is tailored to the demands placed on senior-level management professionals. The plan of study, schedule and program highlights are designed to fit real-world and in-classroom experience into your ​schedule by offering executive residency opportunities. Executive residencies are designed for a fully immersive experience and allow program participants/students(?) to live and work with their cohort. International residencies are also available.

Curriculum in the MBA and EMBA Programs

Curriculum MBA Executive MBA
Core business courses across disciplines Senior-level core curriculum
Dual degree options and specializations Executive electives in emerging business trends

MBA students have the option to specialize in a given area, or the degree can be combined with other majors in a dual degree program for further specialization.

While most MBA programs offer a series of general business courses, the Executive MBA program focuses on a core curriculum designed for those already in senior-level positions. Courses in the Executive MBA program go beyond the foundations of business and examine how to empower leaders and drive company growth.

Prerequisites for the MBA and EMBA Programs

Prerequisites MBA Executive MBA
Bachelor’s degree Bachelor’s degree
No professional experience required At least seven years of professional experience required
GMAT or GRE required No GMAT required

An MBA or Executive MBA can accelerate your career, challenge your perceptions and help you approach your business in new and innovative ways. No matter where you are in your professional journey, you’ll complete our programs with a fresh perspective and cutting-edge ideas.

Advance Your Career with the MBA and EMBA Programs

Career Goals MBA Executive MBA
Career change Strategic leadership development
Career advancement Career advancement
Specialization in a key business discipline through concentrations Explore emerging business trends

Choosing between the MBA or Executive MBA largely depends on your career goals and current professional experience. Both degree options will help you gain skills to further your career and increase your ability to make an impact in any industry.

If you would like to learn more about what a Drexel Executive MBA is and what it will mean for you, we invite you to contact Mark Dierkes at 215.571.3272 or mdierkes@drexel.edu.


Mark Dierkes

Director of Recruitment

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