Is an EMBA really worth it?

The Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) is a degree that older, more experienced candidates apply for. But is it really worthwhile to add this qualification and pay its steep price when you are already comfortably progressing in your career?


The Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) is a degree – similar to the MBA – which has been around for a long time. Although it is never advisable to take up a degree only for its title, an EMBA does help differentiate candidates and often initiates the next steps in someone’s career. An article in Entrepreneur has summarised the benefits of the degree:

1. An EMBA diversifies the skillset

Particularly at mid-to senior level managers very often get to a stage in their careers where they feel their career is stagnating. “They find themselves asking ‘Is this it?’ and ‘What will I do for the next 30 years?’” the article states. This then might be the right time for the EMBA as adding new skills and expertise will widen candidates’ options again.

2. An EMBA gives academic grounding

An EMBA might be the opportunity to fill in gaps and explain the theory behind the topics that most people probably have covered already at work. To add the academic knowledge to practical experience can be very useful to understand company dynamics even better.

3. An EMBA helps build up a network

The word “network” might sound like a cliché but in the end, it is “one of the biggest takeaways you will get”, as the article in Entrepreneur states. Aspects to keep in mind are:

  • The depth and the scope of the network that a specific EMBA programme offers.
  • Often it is helpful to choose an EMBA that also accepts “non-traditionals” (such as performing arts, NGOs, military), to bring diversity.
  • It’s important to mingle with individuals that will bring fresh ideas to the table.

4. An EMBA can broaden a candidate’s outlook

An EMBA programme will teach all the important basics but to really broaden someone’s outlook, the curriculum needs to be redesigned every year or two, to reflect the latest global trends. This means, for example, to teach supply chain, a programme also needs to look at drones and 3D-printing, a good marketing education needs to teach R-programming, and finance can’t be taught without fintech anymore.

5. An EMBA builds personality

The article argues that the greatest value of an EMBA comes not from the content but from the journey. “The growth you experience while on the programme will change you as a person, change the way you lead, and change the impact you have,” it says.

6. An EMBA teaches mindfulness

The right programme should pay attention to aspects of ethics, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility. An EMBA will help participants understand the current global situation better, for example how we should treat our resources that are getting scarcer whilst populations are growing.