EMBA Process2021-04-05T15:53:50+02:00

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Let’s Start with the Basics

Let’s Start with the Basics

What Is a Top EMBA Program?
EMBAs vs MBAs
What Does It Take to Get into a Top EMBA Program?
How Does Admissions Consulting Fit In?

Let’s Start with the Basics

Let’s Start with the Basics

What Is a Top EMBA Program?
EMBAs vs MBAs
What Does It Take to Get into a Top EMBA Program?
How Does Admissions Consulting Fit In?

What Is a Top EMBA Program?

Maybe you’re considering to pursue an Executive MBA to change or expand your career, have friends or colleagues who have touted the transformative benefits of the courses, have always desired to apply to an MBA program but could not find the time to do so, or are looking to launch your own concept. Whatever’s the case, usually you’ll begin by looking at a ranking. If you’re in the US, you’ll probably first turn to U.S. News, while in Europe and Asia, you might be brought to The Financial Times. However, a ranking alone is a poor source for identifying ideal programs. Let’s take a look at a portion of the latest rankings from the top 3 global agencies:

Rank The Financial Times1 U.S. News2 The Economist3
1 Kellogg/HKUST Business School University of Chicago Booth Business School University of California at Berkeley Haas
2 CEIBS Northwestern University: Kellogg School of Business Northwestern University Kellogg School of Business
3 HEC Paris University of Pennsylvania Wharton IE University/Brown University
4 Trium: HEC Paris/LSE/NYU: Stern Columbia EMBA-New York Kellogg/WHU Beisheim
5 Tsinghua University/Insead NYU Stern Yale School of Management
6 Shanghai Jiao Tong University: Antai Duke University Fuqua University of Warwick
7 ESCP Business School University of California at Berkeley Haas IESE Business School
8 IESE Business School MIT Sloan IMD
9 INSEAD UCLA Anderson Kellogg/York University Schulich
10 EMBA-Global Asia: Columbia/HKU/LBS University of Michigan Ann Arbor Ross UCLA/NUS Business School

1. The Financial Times 2020 Ranking;http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/executive-mba-ranking-2020
2. U.S. News 2020 Ranking; https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/executive-rankings
3. The Economist 2020 Ranking; https://www.economist.com/whichmba/executive-mba-ranking-2020

Rank The Financial Times1 U.S. News2 The Economist3
1 Kellogg/HKUST Business School University of Chicago Booth Business School University of California at Berkeley Haas
2 CEIBS Northwestern University: Kellogg School of Business Northwestern University Kellogg School of Business
3 HEC Paris University of Pennsylvania Wharton IE University/Brown University
4 Trium: HEC Paris/LSE/NYU: Stern Columbia EMBA-New York Kellogg/WHU Beisheim
5 Tsinghua University/Insead NYU Stern Yale School of Management
6 Shanghai Jiao Tong University: Antai Duke University Fuqua University of Warwick
7 ESCP Business School University of California at Berkeley Haas IESE Business School
8 IESE Business School MIT Sloan IMD
9 INSEAD UCLA Anderson Kellogg/York University Schulich
10 EMBA-Global Asia: Columbia/HKU/LBS University of Michigan Ann Arbor Ross UCLA/NUS Business School

1. The Financial Times 2020 Ranking;http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/executive-mba-ranking-2020
2. U.S. News 2020 Ranking; https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/executive-rankings
3. The Economist 2020 Ranking; https://www.economist.com/whichmba/executive-mba-ranking-2020

As you look at these rankings side-by-side, the first point that might stand out to you is how few of the executive programs appear in more than one. Among those ranked top 10, there are only 4 EMBAs that appear on all 3 lists, which amount to Oxford Saïd (Financial Times: 10; Economist: 7), Chicago Booth (US News: 1; Economist: 6), Northwestern Kellogg (US News: 2; Economist: 9), and Berkeley Haas (US News: 7; Economist: 4). If you were to look at the full rankings, you would discover a number of additional shared programs, but they fall well outside the top 10; for instance, Kellogg/York, which rests in 8th place according to The Economist, appears in 32nd according to The Financial Times.

Why are the differences among rankings so great? These lists are far more art than science. The measures, methods and weights of all ranking components, even when changed marginally, lead to significant disparities in outcome. Not only that, but the rankings experience large volatility year-to-year, with schools dropping or rising dozens of positions, which isn’t true-to-life as quality among EMBAs rarely changes meaningfully on an annual basis. Moreover, many EMBA programs simply experience “rankings fatigue,” leading them to avoid the cumbersome process of gathering and submitting extensive amounts of verified data to every agency that asks, resulting in many notable exclusions from each list.

However, rankings do serve an important role in admissions. They are great for understanding your universe of options and gleaning the background data they provide on schools, such as salary information, alumni location, industry backgrounds, program impact, etc. To accurately select an executive MBA, you need to look deeper into your possibilities. Are you willing to move to multiple locations (ex: EMBA-Global Asia takes place in Hong Kong, Shanghai, NYC and London) or do you prefer to study more locally (ex: Yale takes place in Connecticut, USA)? Does it have a large cohort (ex: 236 at Wharton) or a small one (ex: 45 at UCLA-NUS)? Does it offer courses in luxury, such as HEC, or in fintech, such as Oxford? There are many questions about the program, its students, its partners and its post-EMBA added value that you’ll need to answer before you can arrive at a ‘ranking’ that works for your future.

What Is a Top EMBA Program?

Maybe you’re considering to pursue an Executive MBA to change or expand your career, have friends or colleagues who have touted the transformative benefits of the courses, have always desired to apply to an MBA program but could not find the time to do so, or are looking to launch your own concept. Whatever’s the case, usually you’ll begin by looking at a ranking. If you’re in the US, you’ll probably first turn to U.S. News, while in Europe and Asia, you might be brought to The Financial Times. However, a ranking alone is a poor source for identifying ideal programs. Let’s take a look at a portion of the latest rankings from the top 3 global agencies:

EMBA Rankings Comparison

As you look at these rankings side-by-side, the first point that might stand out to you is how few of the executive programs appear in more than one. Among those ranked top 10, there are only 4 EMBAs that appear on all 3 lists, which amount to Oxford Saïd (Financial Times: 10; Economist: 7), Chicago Booth (US News: 1; Economist: 6), Northwestern Kellogg (US News: 2; Economist: 9), and Berkeley Haas (US News: 7; Economist: 4). If you were to look at the full rankings, you would discover a number of additional shared programs, but they fall well outside the top 10; for instance, Kellogg/York, which rests in 8th place according to The Economist, appears in 32nd according to The Financial Times.

Why are the differences among rankings so great? These lists are far more art than science. The measures, methods and weights of all ranking components, even when changed marginally, lead to significant disparities in outcome. Not only that, but the rankings experience large volatility year-to-year, with schools dropping or rising dozens of positions, which isn’t true-to-life as quality among EMBAs rarely changes meaningfully on an annual basis. Moreover, many EMBA programs simply experience “rankings fatigue,” leading them to avoid the cumbersome process of gathering and submitting extensive amounts of verified data to every agency that asks, resulting in many notable exclusions from each list.

However, rankings do serve an important role in admissions. They are great for understanding your universe of options and gleaning the background data they provide on schools, such as salary information, alumni location, industry backgrounds, program impact, etc. To accurately select an executive MBA, you need to look deeper into your possibilities. Are you willing to move to multiple locations (ex: EMBA-Global Asia takes place in Hong Kong, Shanghai, NYC and London) or do you prefer to study more locally (ex: Yale takes place in Connecticut, USA)? Does it have a large cohort (ex: 236 at Wharton) or a small one (ex: 45 at UCLA-NUS)? Does it offer courses in luxury, such as HEC, or in fintech, such as Oxford? There are many questions about the program, its students, its partners and its post-EMBA added value that you’ll need to answer before you can arrive at a ‘ranking’ that works for your future.

EMBAs vs MBAs (and More)

A lot of individuals are stuck between applying for an MBA and an EMBA. Above, you’ll be able to see some of the common statistical and structural differences that separate these two programs. However, it’s important to keep in mind that those are broad averages across a large set of schools. For instance, when it comes to age—a key topic of concern for many applicants—certain MBAs have higher averages (ex: IMD at 31) and certain EMBAs have lower ones (ex: Columbia at 33). Even when looking at specific programs, there are usually exceptions that fall well outside of the average age/work experience of the class (ex: Wharton’s 2021 MBA Class has a student with 16 years of work exp.). Admittedly, extreme age or work experience exceptions are rare and, for candidates who fall into such categories, they do involve an uphill battle—but that battle can often be won.

Another area subject to exceptions is program lengths and structures. There are many 1-year MBAs (ex: Kellogg), part-time MBAs (ex: IE Global), one-year EMBAs (ex: INSEAD), and even full-time EMBAs. The latter group of full-time executives is heavily dominated by the Sloan Fellows programs, which are individually referred to as Stanford MSx, MIT Sloan Fellows MBA, and LBS Sloan Masters in Leadership & Strategy. While they are all one-year programs, MIT and Stanford tend to recruit younger candidates (averaging 13-14 years of experience), while LBS prefers more mature applicants (18+ years of exp.). With both top MBAs and EMBAs offering strong returns, how does one choose?

As in the process of identifying ideal target schools from a plethora of ranking options, selecting a program type requires a careful evaluation of the whats, whys, wheres and hows of achieving your post-degree objectives. Here are a few questions you may want to consider. Are you looking to progress internally within your organization or to transition to a completely different industry? Would you like to stay in your region or are you looking to move to another country? Are you looking for an immersive program or are you fine with a casual one? Would you like to launch a business? Can your career afford time off?

As a final note, beyond MBAs, EMBAs and Sloan Fellows programs, there exist a number of additional business education options for experienced professionals. For example, there are a few executive master’s in finance (ex: NYU-HKUST), as well as a handful of part-time doctoral business programs known as DBAs (ex: Washington Olin). As these programs are designed for individuals with very specific interests and needs, you should only choose to pursue them after a thorough investigation of your study options and post-degree goals.

EMBAs vs MBAs (and More)

A lot of individuals are stuck between applying for an MBA and an EMBA. Above, you’ll be able to see some of the common statistical and structural differences that separate these two programs. However, it’s important to keep in mind that those are broad averages across a large set of schools. For instance, when it comes to age—a key topic of concern for many applicants—certain MBAs have higher averages (ex: IMD at 31) and certain EMBAs have lower ones (ex: Columbia at 33). Even when looking at specific programs, there are usually exceptions that fall well outside of the average age/work experience of the class (ex: Wharton’s 2021 MBA Class has a student with 16 years of work exp.). Admittedly, extreme age or work experience exceptions are rare and, for candidates who fall into such categories, they do involve an uphill battle—but that battle can often be won.

Another area subject to exceptions is program lengths and structures. There are many 1-year MBAs (ex: Kellogg), part-time MBAs (ex: IE Global), one-year EMBAs (ex: INSEAD), and even full-time EMBAs. The latter group of full-time executives is heavily dominated by the Sloan Fellows programs, which are individually referred to as Stanford MSx, MIT Sloan Fellows MBA, and LBS Sloan Masters in Leadership & Strategy. While they are all one-year programs, MIT and Stanford tend to recruit younger candidates (averaging 13-14 years of experience), while LBS prefers more mature applicants (18+ years of exp.). With both top MBAs and EMBAs offering strong returns, how does one choose?

As in the process of identifying ideal target schools from a plethora of ranking options, selecting a program type requires a careful evaluation of the whats, whys, wheres and hows of achieving your post-degree objectives. Here are a few questions you may want to consider. Are you looking to progress internally within your organization or to transition to a completely different industry? Would you like to stay in your region or are you looking to move to another country? Are you looking for an immersive program or are you fine with a casual one? Would you like to launch a business? Can your career afford time off?

As a final note, beyond MBAs, EMBAs and Sloan Fellows programs, there exist a number of additional business education options for experienced professionals. For example, there are a few executive master’s in finance (ex: NYU-HKUST), as well as a handful of part-time doctoral business programs known as DBAs (ex: Washington Olin). As these programs are designed for individuals with very specific interests and needs, you should only choose to pursue them after a thorough investigation of your study options and post-degree goals.

What Does It Take to Get into a Top EMBA Program?

If you’re targeting the most exclusive EMBAs, you have to first understand who your competition will be. For the most part, they’ll be made up of an elite group of individuals from around the world, with outstanding employment history. Your goal is to make yourself stand out as much as possible from this crowd.

One part of the equation seems straightforward enough, and you’ll see it mentioned time and time again: the application components (GMAT/EA, CV, essays, recommendation letters, case studies and the interview). Of course, nothing is that simple, because its the information behind all of these parts that admissions teams are analyzing:

To make yourself stand out, you’ll need to discover how to best present and in what amounts every aspect of your history: personal, professional and academic. And, if you have any weaknesses, you’ll need to attack them head on to succeed.

What Does It Take to Get into a Top EMBA Program?

If you’re targeting the most exclusive EMBAs, you have to first understand who your competition will be. For the most part, they’ll be made up of an elite group of individuals from around the world, with outstanding employment history. Your goal is to make yourself stand out as much as possible from this crowd.

One part of the equation seems straightforward enough, and you’ll see it mentioned time and time again: the application components (GMAT/EA, CV, essays, recommendation letters, case studies and the interview). Of course, nothing is that simple, because its the information behind all of these parts that admissions teams are analyzing:

To make yourself stand out, you’ll need to discover how to best present and in what amounts every aspect of your history: personal, professional and academic. And, if you have any weaknesses, you’ll need to attack them head on to succeed.

How Does Admissions Consulting Fit In?

Admissions Circle Experts can work to help you select the right EMBA programs, prepare powerful applications, and deliver effective case studies and interviews, while supporting every other requirement of your particular EMBA admissions process. The advantages are three-fold:

  • We significantly increase your chances of entry to top EMBA programs, which increases your odds of receiving merit-based scholarships and fellowships

  • We dramatically reduce the time you spend on the application process, thereby allowing you to more efficiently carry out all of the necessary steps (test prep, essay writing, etc.)

  • We help you realize your potential—especially when beginning your EMBA journey at an earlier period—; identify schools that better match your needs; and even develop pre-application strategies to modify your profile, making you more attractive to target EMBAs

Naturally, every case is unique, so to better identify how admissions consulting can help you reach your goals, it’s best to start at the beginning: help us understand who you are and what you want to become.

How Does Admissions Consulting Fit In?

Admissions Circle Experts can work to help you select the right EMBA programs, prepare powerful applications, and deliver effective case studies and interviews, while supporting every other requirement of your particular EMBA admissions process. The advantages are three-fold:

  • We significantly increase your chances of entry to top EMBA programs, which increases your odds of receiving merit-based scholarships and fellowships

  • We dramatically reduce the time you spend on the application process, thereby allowing you to more efficiently carry out all of the necessary steps (test prep, essay writing, etc.)

  • We help you realize your potential—especially when beginning your EMBA journey at an earlier period—; identify schools that better match your needs; and even develop pre-application strategies to modify your profile, making you more attractive to target EMBAs

Naturally, every case is unique, so to better identify how admissions consulting can help you reach your goals, it’s best to start at the beginning: help us understand who you are and what you want to become.

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Here’s a Taste of What Our Clients Think of the Circle

“London has been such a huge dream for me and now I’m going to go study in LBS! I want to stress how much the Circle helped me, start to finish. You really were the key for me.”

MANON W. | LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL

“I had a great time working with Greg and his team. Their support was critical for preparation, MBA choice based on my profile and my post-grad objectives. Overall I am very happy with the outcomes. I have now an MBA from Chicago Booth, moved to Canada and I am on route for a leadership position in one of the Big 4!”

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JAN B. | INSEAD, COLUMBA & MIT SLOAN

“The Circle was a big part in getting me accepted to HEC’s and INSEAD’s MBA programs. For the entire process, I was able to get the kind of advice and feedback that gave me a competitive advantage in the application game. If you’re looking for admissions help, I would absolutely advise you to use their services.”

EDOUARD R. | INSEAD & HEC

“My admissions consultant was able to take me through the whole process, from start to finish, with absolute expertise. He was able to help me set my profile apart, while making sure to explain away any weaknesses. What was also incredibly valuable was the amount of intelligence he had when it came to storytelling. Thank you so much for all your help. I could not recommend these services more.”

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