Your results are going to depend on a lot of factors, like everything else in life. What’s your industry? Does it make sense to have an MBA in your job, or is it just a frivolous addition to your resume? If it does make sense, how distinctive would an elite EMBA be compared to one, say, from a mid-tier school in your geographical area that can be had for a lot less money. That is, do you need an MBA or do you need an MBA with a strong reputation?
Do you think that the degree could give you a significant increase in earnings at some point, whether immediate, mid-term or long-term? Only one person walked out of our program with a brand-new contract, and he wasn’t really a true EMBA student but rather a young guy who didn’t want to quit his job to go to business school. Everything is negotiable. Do you feel that an elite degree will provide you with better negotiating leverage? Are you ready to put energy into developing the utility of your degree, or are you expecting the benefits to just shower down upon you after you graduate? The latter just ain’t gonna happen.
I did an EMBA at Yale and part of me wishes I had spent a lot less money on the degree. But at Yale, the quality of the faculty and the intensity of the learning, the access to a vast network of high-powered professionals in all sectors, who are willing to read my emails, take my calls and help me with questions because I did an MBA at Yale, will probably be worth it in the long run. I just finished a couple of months ago and it’s still new to me.
Will you have the support of your company – will they let you take every other Friday off for nearly two years while you do this? If not, forget it. You might want to look for a part-time MBA program in your area that will allow you to keep your day job.
A very important consideration is how much time and energy can you give to the degree? If you have kids, as I do, will you have ways of coping and helping them cope with the added demands on your time? If you don’t have kids it’s best to plan on saying good-bye to a large chunk of your social life. You’ll find that some of that lost time will be replaced by hanging out with your classmates, but you’ll need to be studying a lot either way.
I have kids, and for two years I was up most nights working on my classes from 10 PM to around 2 AM in order to take away as little as possible from my quality time with them. That meant at times I was kind of a zombie. I nodded off in class once and the professor zinged me with a hard question, that I punted, red-faced. I ended up getting one of the top grades in the class, but it was a good lesson in humility.
The other question is age. If you are young enough to make a major change in your life, I wold recommend doing the full time program if you can afford the 2 years off from work. I would have loved to do a full time program. It’s immersive, and the network building process is more rewarding. Plus, many companies hire large numbers of MBAs straight out of school, whereas for eMBAs it just doesn’t happen that way.
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