At the Crossroads of MBA and Executive MBA 

A program in management comes with many variations. But let us now look at the difference between a full-time (MBA) or Executive MBA (EMBA) programs.

What are the admission parameters?

The MBA programs in India usually accept scores of tests like the CAT, XAT, IIFT, CMAT, MAT, CET, etc, or the school specific tests like NMAT (for Narsee Monjee institute) or SNAP (For Symbiosis institute). Institutes outside India accept GMAT and GRE scores.  

Most B-schools in India and abroad look for GMAT or GRE scores for the EMBA program, while some B-schools accept the CAT score too.

Some international schools also mandate the clearing of language proficiency tests like IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

The selection process may also involve Written Tests, Personal Interviews, Group Discussions, and Statements of Purpose.

While the full-time program in India does not ask for work experience, some of the global programs ask for anything like 2 to 5 years of work experience. 

The EMBA anywhere mandates a minimum of 2 years, and some may specify 5 years of work experience.  

Duration and pace:

The curriculum covered in either program is almost similar, but the pace varies. The full-time MBA students get more freedom in opting for electives, while the EMBA course may have limitations in selecting electives.  

The full-time MBA programs in India are of 24 months duration. Outside India they vary from 12 to 24 months. The EMBA programs everywhere can be from 12 to 15 months.

There is no scope to continue in employment when one is in a full-time program. The schedules often demand 18 to 20 hours a day, especially in the residential programs. 

The full-time course may be a residential or day course. The EMBA program is usually covered during weekends or weekday evenings. This facility allows working executives to continue studying without having to quit their jobs. 

The fee structure:

While some schools offer reduced fees for the EMBA program, others may have a similar fee structure for both the MBA and EMBA programs. Some companies sponsor their employees’ EMBA programs either in part or full, and the concerned employee must commit some years of continued employment to the company. 

The full-time programs are rarely sponsored by a company as the student is not in the pay rolls during a full-time program.

If you are lucky you may find a company that sponsors its employee for a two-year program and offers a sabbatical. However, both programs may enjoy a part scholarship offered by the university / B-school in many cases. 

While the EMBA students continue to get regular salaries, there is no scope of emoluments for the regular MBA students. 

Salary/ package:

The first criterion that prospective students look for is, what kind of salary hike does the program attract and how does it match with the fees paid.  The increased salary that is accrued should substantially justify the repayment of the education loan with the interest component.


One of the best take-aways from graduation in Management is the contacts you develop on the campus. Batch mates, faculty, and industry experts, they all become your valuable contacts for the future.

They form the core group that aids the growth at the work scene. You may acquire friends who facilitate your career growth in more ways than one. 

While both programs offer this network, the EMBA may not have the same depth of friends as the full-time MBA simply by virtue of the time the full-time MBA group spending more time with each other.

Even by way of age and experience, the full-time MBA batch of students will be closer than those of the EMBA students who may represent varied backgrounds and age-groups. 


The campus life in an EMBA program can hardly compare with a full-time program. Most institutes involve both academic and non-academic events that only full-time students enjoy.

Even if the EMBA students are invited to associate with seminars or boot camps, the students can only participate if their work schedules permit them to join. 

A comparison of the two programs in India:

Criteria  Full-time MBA EMBA
Admission  CAT, XAT, MAT, CMAT, IIFT, CET or institute specific tests like NMAT or SNAP 





Duration 24 moths Ranges between 12 to 15 months
Time available Involved in the programme almost all day Spend weekends and/or evenings in college. Weekdays at work. 
Fees  Ranges from ₹ 2 lakhs to ₹ 30 lakhs (depends on the institute and program) Ranges from ₹ 1.6 lakhs to ₹ 30 lakhs (depends on the institute and program)
Sponsorship  Not easily available Available 
Scholarship  Available  Available
Salary  Not available Available 
Package accrued Can be good  Will make a difference in structure
Career prospects  Pretty good  Eligible for middle or top management positions
Internships  Part of the curriculum Not eligible 
Network  Can develop a close network of contacts who can prove to be valuable  Can develop a good network of contacts who may not all be in the same league as you
Alumni connect Available  Available 
Lifestyle  Participate and enjoy all academic and non-academic events Participation in events is limited

What is the deciding factor to opt for a course between the two? 

The choice you make depends on the stage at which you are in your career. 

If you are an undergraduate with zero to two years of experience, you must pursue a full-time program. You learn the concepts and applications through lectures, case-studies, workshops, industry visits, and internships.

When you graduate, you have a great job offer in a top company with a good pay package (depends on the institute). 

If you have at least five years of work experience and you have made a mark in your career, an executive program is what you need. When you graduate, you are eligible for a promotion as well as pay hike. You are well placed to forge ahead in your career.

You might even be fortunate enough to get a good offer from a different company, with better prospects by way of position and pay package. 

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