Consulting Firms View of EMBAs

Executive MBAs or “EMBAs”, are an attractive choice for mid-career professionals. But what do consulting firms think of EMBAs? Are they a viable path to break into consulting? Jenny Rae, ex-Bain consultant, shares her own experience of pursuing a mid-career MBA – and why she ultimately chose the full-time program at Columbia Business School. She also shares 3 criteria to use as you’re thinking about whether an EMBA is right for you. If you have questions about your particular situation, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help!

Consulting Firms View of EMBAs- YouTube Transcription:

If you’re thinking about getting an Executive MBA, or an MBA at all, and you’re trying to decide between what format. Regular MBA, Online MBA, or E-MBA (Executive MBA). Which one should you choose? And why. Well, there are a lot of different reasons to choose the different ones, but the ones we’re going to focus on today are why you should, and maybe shouldn’t, think about getting an E-MBA, or an EMBA professional degree, through a top-tier institution, if you’re thinking about consulting.

Mid-Career Considerations

Hi, I’m Jenny Rae Le Roux, the Managing Director of Management Consulted. And, I have an MBA from Columbia Business School. I got my MBA full-time at Columbia. And I personally was facing this decision. Because I was mid-career, when I thought about going. I already had some consulting experience, I already had tech experience, I already had real estate investing experience, and so part of the question for me was, “Why go get my MBA at all?”. And when I looked at an EMBA, it was an attractive middle ground. And Columbia Business School does offer an Executive MBA program. So it was something I looked at. And let me talk through some of my thought process, and then some of what I would recommend for you.

EMBAs Are A Middle-Ground

If you’re thinking about breaking into consulting. First of all, EMBAs are kind of a middle ground, between full-time MBAs, which generally have the highest caliber students, the most immersive experiences, the most most extra-curricular experiences, and probably most importantly, the best brand, when you’re leaving. However, they’re not considered diluted, in the same way that an online MBA is. Because they still do have large, on-campus, immersive components to them. In fact, EMBA programs often have great connectivity, in terms of the network. So, I though, “Hey, maybe this is one of the best ways for me to get the degree.” I get all the content and information from the classroom, and also get the network. Well, consulting firms think about it just a little bit differently. They think of this as a medium option. Which is certainly inferior to an on-campus option, a full-time option. They do think of it as better than the online option, but still, it’s not super credible from their standpoint. And here’s why.

EMBAs Are Outside Of The Typical Recruiting Demographic

Number 1. When you’re in an EMBA program, you are generally older. And because of this, they are looking less for you at the stage in your career where they’re going to hire you. Most firms that are hiring for somebody who is coming out of a standard MBA program, are going to hire 26 to 28 year olds, that are focused on putting their nose to the grindstone, grinding out data, and working impossible hours, for just a couple of years. In order to advance their career. You, as an EMBA, might be in the place where you’re more interested in management roles. They’re not gonna hire just from your EMBA, for that reason. They’re not looking for managers, they’re looking for associates, for earlier analysts. And so there is a mis-match between the population inside an EMBA, and the population that they’re looking for, in the roles that they’re trying to fill.

EMBAs Have A Less Valuable Network To Firms

The second reason is that, while you have some on-campus portions, the network is generally considered to be both smaller, and not as tight, as the full-time, immersive MBA process. Because of that, the network being not as tight, you’re less valuable to the firm, later on, should you stay to a Partner role, and be in a place where you’re trying to sell. Having the network of your peers, for referrals and recommendations, can make a big difference.

EMBAs Have Easier Admission Standards

The third reason, that they consider them to be a little bit of a lower standard, is that the EMBA engagement process, the admissions process, is generally easier than for a full-time MBA. Again, like online MBAs, the organizations that offer EMBAs, can scale them, much more easily. They can offer bigger classes and unique times, when classrooms otherwise are full. Some of them do blended, online and offline programs. And many of the people that go through the programs are sponsored. And so because the schools, while they have some academic integrity, are really interested in covering their programatic costs. EMBAs are a great pipeline to do that, through the sponsorship programs that they are a part of.

Wrap Up

Now, like I mentioned, the network is not as weak as with an online program. However, not as strong as a full-time program. So, EMBAs are considered to be in the ballpark, for consulting firms. But in reality, it’s not the EMBA that makes the candidate, it’s the person, and their previous professional experience, just the same as going through it. Which makes me question, does getting an EMBA really count at all, from a consulting firm’s perspective. Ultimately, after I looked at all of the details and the facts, I decided to go for a full-time MBA program. I’m so glad that I did, because I got so much more out of it, than just the content, and even just the network. I got a lot of personal and professional development, related to being in an immersive classroom experience.

And so, as you’re thinking about MBA programs, and consulting, we’d love to help you weed out some of your options and choices, and figure out what the next life step might be for you. We have a lot of great content here, on our YouTube channel, so make sure you subscribe. Thanks for watching.

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Filed Under: Consulting Firms