MBA vs EMBA: What’s the difference?


Studying an MBA is beneficial in many ways; it can boost your business knowledge, grow your confidence, and increase your chance of a promotion. But searching for postgraduate study isn’t easy. It can often be difficult to determine which programme is suitable for you, so we’ve put together a blog post to explain the differences between a traditional MBA and an Executive MBA.


MBA programmes are for those who are continuing on from undergraduate study or returning to study early on in their career, so applicants need a minimum BA/BSc (Hons) undergraduate degree (although bear in mind, entry requirements will vary based on country and institution, so you would need to double check the requirements).

This differs from EMBA programmes, which are designed with busy professionals in mind. Applicants usually have over 3 years’ experience in a management position, and there are no entrance exams.


Traditionally, both MBA and EMBA programmes are two years long in North America and one year long in Europe.

Although there are options to get your EMBA in even less time, with some programmes lasting just 18 months. EMBA study is typically part-time, and can be completed on weekends and evenings – this means students are able to continue working full-time while learning.


Studying an MBA can be more immersive than an EMBA, as students live permanently on or near campus.

With an EMBA, you will have weekly interactions with students, and therefore have less intense relationships.

Online courses have become an increasingly popular option during the current COVID-19 pandemic – they fit in with the ‘new normal’ way of living whilst allowing managers to upskill in their area of work.


Tuition fees for MBA courses can be expensive, with some costing over £50,000.

These fees are usually entirely self-funded – but you can apply for a wide range of scholarships. There are also inexpensive MBA options available.

The majority of EMBA costs are often covered by employers who are looking to upskill their managers and EMBA scholarships are available.

Additionally, online EMBA courses can cost significantly less as they won’t have the overheads required to run traditional on-campus courses.

Both MBA and EMBA programmes will benefit you professionally. Whilst MBA programmes are more intense, structured programmes and a bigger financial investment; EMBA’s offer a flexible learning experience at a fraction of the price, without compromising on quality.

If an online Executive MBA is the right option for you, take a look at our programmes here or get in touch.