What exactly IS an executive MBA?

Monday, December 1, 2014

That is a great question and one that I hear a lot when I’m talking with candidates.  Most people are familiar with a traditional, full-time MBA program and you may have considered enrolling in one at some point in time.  Now, however, you have a great job that you don’t want to leave and a fair amount of career experience.  Part-Time programs are an option but the thought of taking 3-4 years to finish your degree, (and going to class after work several nights a week), just isn’t that appealing.  Perhaps you have a family or a really full social life, or all of the above.  Doing a full-time program just isn’t the right option for you anymore.  What you need is a program that recognizes that you are an experienced professional and that you have a life outside of school.  This is where an executive MBA program comes in.  This is where the Carlson Executive MBA (CEMBA) program comes in.

CEMBA is a two-year/four-semester program that earns you a full MBA from the University of Minnesota.  You’ll get the same, solid business curriculum that you would in a traditional MBA program but there are some very big differences:

  1. Network:  Our executive MBA program is a cohort program, meaning you’ll be taking classes for two years with the same impressive group of peers.  This peer group is important for learning in the classroom.  You’ll find the executive MBA class discussions to be so interactive and lively because you have classmates in the room who have a lot of experience to share – 15 years, on average, and over 800 years cumulatively.  That’s a lot of knowledge in one room.  Not only does it change the classroom experience for all of you, it changes it for your professors.  They love teaching our Executive MBA students because there is so much give and take in the room.  These are also the people who become your B-school network.  The relationships you make in the classroom will carry over into your work and personal life long after school is over.
  2. Format:  The Carlson Executive MBA (CEMBA) Program is set up to allow students to continue to work full-time while also completing their MBA degree in two academic years – just around 21 months.  Students attend one Immersion Week at the start of each academic year and then classes run all day Friday/Saturday approximately every other weekend.  We schedule the class dates at least one year in advance to make it easy for you to plan your time. 
  3. Services:  We understand that, as busy professionals, you need to be able to focus on learning.  Standing in line at the bookstore?  Not in this program.  Your class recordings (video synced with slides), course packs (electronic so no trees are harmed), class notes, and any other resources are all online.  We also provide each student with a laptop that is loaded with any software that you may need and ready to go on our network and with our printers. We provide parking and meals on class days and give you access to private, executive study rooms on evenings and weekends when you want to meet with your team.  We even register you for all of your courses each semester.  Our dedicated staff is here to help you navigate the University of Minnesota and make sure you have everything you need to be successful.  You get to focus on learning.
  4. Specialized Curriculum:  All of our MBA programs provide our students with a solid base in business, but the CEMBA program takes things a step further with focused curriculum for current and future leaders.  Once you’ve mastered the tools courses, we make sure you get the pieces you need to tie everything together and make strong, strategic business decisions based on a solid foundation.  We have courses in negotiations, competing globally, corporate responsibility and ethics, and more.  You’ll even have comprehensive leadership curriculum running throughout the entire four semesters of the program to help focus on goal setting and evaluating your strengths with 360 feedback and follow up.  Our general management curriculum is designed for experienced students to help take them to the next level.

Going back to school is a big decision.  It is one that you should take seriously.  Tackling an MBA while working full-time will be challenging and takes commitment, but you can do it and we are here to help.  When considering whether to do a part-time program or an executive program, consider what will best fit your needs.  Are you looking to specialize?  If so, our Part-Time MBA program will allow you to design your curriculum.  Are you already experienced and looking to move into a leadership role? Perhaps you are already in a leadership role and are looking for more formal management knowledge.  The Executive MBA curriculum was designed for just this purpose.  Consider the network and peer group.  The Executive MBA network is built in due to the cohort format.  The experience requirements are higher so it does change the classroom experience dramatically. Schedule is also a factor.  While it is rarely the sole reason that candidates decide on one program over the other, you do need to consider the time commitment and pace at which you want to complete your MBA.  You also need to consider whether you work best in a program where you can be self-directed (take the courses you need to stay on track, manage a class schedule that will change each semester), or whether you need a program with a definitive start and end date and more structure.  These are secondary considerations, but should be examined, nonetheless. 

I am always happy to discuss this in person or via phone.  Please feel free to email me anytime!  wickx013@umn.edu