Executive MBA vs. MBA – What’s the difference?

A lot of people considering an MBA program may not know the difference between an Executive MBA versus a traditional MBA program. It is a common misconception that the name “Executive” MBA is just a marketing gimmick to promote MBA programs. In reality, EMBAs and MBAs (full-time or part-time) are fundamentally different. Below are a few points to illustrate their differences that can help you determine which program you suits you better.

Do you...

  • Have significant work experience?

  • Have a contribution to make to your own learning?

  • Want more in-depth analysis of course content and cases?

Executive MBA (EMBA)

MBA (Traditional MBA)

Work Experience

Executive MBA programs are designed for experienced professionals, and candidates for EMBA programs are required to have a substantial amount of work experience, with at least 8-10 years prior to enrolling in the program. Students enrolled in the Rutgers Executive MBA program in Singapore typically have an average of 16 years of work experience.

Traditional MBA programs are designed for candidates at an earlier stage in their career and usually require minimal work experience (0-3 years).

Level of Focus

Executive MBA programs focus on the big picture, emphasizing real-world applicability. EMBA programs address the needs of mid to senior level managers and aim to equip students with knowledge and tools that produce measurable results and impact.

In contrast, traditional MBA curriculum often focuses more on the academic fundamentals and aims to provide thorough orientation to the core disciplines of business management.

Other Differences...

Executive MBA (EMBA)

MBA (Traditional MBA)

Level of Dialogue

EMBA class discussions and conversations are centred on strategic thinking, problem solving and leadership. As mid to senior level managers with significant work experience, students analyze and discuss business cases at a high level.

The level of dialogue in the classroom for traditional MBAs will naturally be different because overall student work and industry experience is lower, on average.

Class Format

In Executive MBA programs, the class format centers primarily on case studies and team projects. The program is designed to leverage the students’ vast experience and expertize from various industries. As such, a great deal of the learning comes from the exchange between peers as well as the exchange between students and professors.

In traditional MBA programs, the class format is similar to that of an undergraduate program in that the flow of knowledge is generally from the professor to the student. There are case studies and projects, however classes are less focused on these activities and more on course work and theory, to build up student knowledge.

Teaching Style

Professors in Executive MBA programs serve as facilitators more so than lectures. They offer guidance as well as sharing their own perspectives and experiences in a dynamic exchange with students. Professors in EMBA programs are typically both industry experts and highly regarded academics.

Teaching styles in traditional MBA programs are generally more lecture-based as professors provide students with more academic fundamentals, and step them through case studies.

Duration and Pace

Executive MBA programs are generally shorter in duration and class modules are completed at a more intense pace.

Program durations vary from 1.5 to 2.5 years on average, and classes are generally completed at a more moderate pace.

Do you want to see how this level of focus translates in a classroom?

Come to an Open House

Come and sit in on an actual class to hear latest thinking on current management topics from our expert faculty. See how the classroom dynamics work, and hear about the Rutgers class experience directly from our students.

Rutgers Business School Asia Pacific, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

CPE/UEN#: 201019419W.
Registration Period:
22 May 2020 to 21 May 2024

Quick Links

EMBA Course Schedule

Receive Updates


Enter your email address to receive updates from Rutgers Business School Asia Pacific

Rutgers Business School Asia Pacific
146 Robinson Road, #07-01/02,
Singapore 068909

Email: info@rutgers.edu.sg
Tel: +65 6532 0083

Facebook LinkedIn YouTube