The benefits and disadvantages of getting an executive MBA

Are you hungry for a promotion like this guy? An executive MBA might help ... photo by CC user reynermedia on Flickr

With the possibility of a juicy promotion tantalizingly close, you have been entertaining the thought of getting an executive MBA to improve your chances within your company.

There are benefits and disadvantages to taking this course of action, the details of which we will delve into below…


1) You will learn strong leadership skills

In a world where economic headwinds and crosswinds are unpredictable, and tech disruptions of industry are commonplace, it takes a confident and firm hand at the wheel to keep a company from capsizing in the choppy business ocean that exists in the 21st century.

An EMBA will teach you how look forward into the future to foresee the trends that will allow your company to thrive, while avoiding disaster at the same time.

2) You will be able to think through business problems with creativity and flexibility

Instead of implementing 20th century strategies in a vain attempt to solve 21st century problems, it is important for business leaders of the present day to approach this brave new world with an attitude of experimentation.

In an executive MBA, you’ll learn skills that will allow you to look at the state of your industry with fresh eyes, which will allow you to formulate strategy that will help you outflank your competition.

3) You can keep your job while you learn

You might think that the benefits described above are nice, but when you have a six-figure job that supports a lifestyle that is just as expensive, who has time to take a sabbatical to go back to school?

When you take an EMBA program, the curriculum is designed around your busy schedule – you can keep your job and work on course material when you are at home in your study at night.

If work gets hectic, or your family needs you, take your time … there is plenty of leeway for you to finish your studies on your own timetable.


1) It is a time consuming and expensive process

Like any worthwhile endeavor, an executive MBA involves a great deal of commitment. These programs are not cheap, and the time you’ll need to put in outside of work may leave you with little or no free time. By keeping your eyes on the prize though, these sacrifices will prove to be well worth it in the end.

2) Certain workplaces view an EMBA as an “MBA-lite” degree

In today tech-driven economy, more businesses are moving to a meritocratic model over one that is based on credentials.

Even still, some old school companies will look at your certificate and belittle its inferior status vis a vis a true MBA.

This is frustrating, but in situations like these, you’ll just need to work extra hard to show them the value that you can create. If they still don’t see, it’s their loss.

3) If you aren’t careful, course material may lead you to disregard social responsibility

While there are many immensely useful lessons that you will in taught via an EMBA program, some business literature, which values the profit motive and the invisible hand of the market over all else in society, has been seriously challenged in recent years.

The rise of global problems like climate change that threaten to seriously disrupt civilization often fly in the face of traditional economics, requiring one to adopt a sense of social responsibility.

If one is smart, you can chart a way forward to business success in an environment where perpetual and fast growth may not be possible for the foreseeable future.

If one stubbornly clings to the books of the past though, it might land you in hot water as an increasingly aware public gets angrier with each passing year.