MBA vs Executive MBA: Which One Should You Choose?

In recent years, many businesses have flourished due to large-scale developments in technology, finance, health, infrastructure, and science. This progress has created a demand for highly trained individuals across these sectors. These professionals are expected to possess in-depth knowledge of the technicalities and have prior experience. For this reason, the Masters of Business Administration (MBA) courses have gained popularity among graduates. 

MBA degrees serve as an ideal form of academic training for individuals planning to gain employment in prestigious organizations and institutions. MBA courses are proven to be lucrative for fresher applicants and also for employed aspirants. Graduates from various sectors are eligible to join MBA courses and choose their preferred specializations. Working professionals also look to MBA courses to enhance their careers and earn promotions and salary raises.

Educational institutions have realized that the traditional teaching format of an MBA course is not universally suited for every applicant. The MBA courses taught at the prestigious B-schools are intended as full-time courses, which offer lesser flexibility for working professionals. Apart from this lack of flexibility in timings, the courses are designed for the understanding of full-time students. They are academically intensive, tough to score in and require much effort from students.

Also Read MBA vs Masters

To counter this issue, some institutions have curated executive MBA programs or EMBAs. These MBA courses are specifically intended for applicants who wish to continue their jobs and simultaneously pursue their post-graduate/master’s degree. Applicants can face confusion in choosing between these courses. To provide clarity so they can decide on an MBA vs EMBA, the following table mentions points of difference between MBA and executive MBA courses.

Factor of Difference MBA Executive MBA
By definition A traditional MBA program aims to improve the student’s business acumen and enhance decision-making and communication skills, so they can excel in their preferred career. An executive MBA aims to enable working employees to obtain management education while simultaneously balancing their work. The course offers occupational flexibility.
By the course from upGrad Global MBA by Deakin Business School (DBS) MBA (Executive) by NMIMS Global Access
By duration 24 months of full-time classes, including a 6-week global capstone project. 18 months’ duration, including a 3-month industry-driven capstone project.
By recommended hours/week 10-12 hours/week 15-18 hours/week
By projects Projects by HP, Vodafone, Linkedin, ITC Projects by Harvard Business Publishing and upGrad
By employment/experience Project managers, executive heads, owners, and entrepreneurs in mid-career stages, with at least 3 years of working experience. Working professionals from IT, sales, HR, marketing, finance, operations, or any other profession, with 2 years of experience (in analytics-oriented leadership roles).
By accreditation AACSB and EQUIS by DBS A+ by NAAC and AICTE Approved
By specialization Digital marketing Business analytics

From the table, it can be inferred that the MBA courses are oriented towards full-time students, and executive MBAs are intended for working professionals. The executive MBA course by NMIMS will be scheduled to align with the applicant’s current job. 

MBA vs EMBA: Which One Should You Choose?

To select between the two types of MBA, the applicant needs to consider the above-mentioned factors. If an aspirant cannot quit their existing employment/job due to some reason, then an executive MBA is a better course to enroll in than a traditional MBA. The topics covered in a typical MBA course are prone to be academically tougher, more in-depth, and require a lot of time and practice for learning. 

To understand these complicated theoretical concepts, students need to allocate a few hours of their day for studying. Working professionals often lack this ‘free time’, so the subjects in the executive MBA course are taught more simply and cover the basics. The MBA courses are pursued full-time, while EMBAs are part-time courses that are scheduled flexibly for students. 

The typical MBA courses tend to be longer in duration due to their challenging course requirements. The MBA from Deakin Business School extends over 24 months. The course fees tend to be equivalent to a Global MBA programme, as the degree is offered by a global institute. The institution has earned the coveted AACSB and EQUIS accreditations, which highlights its acclaimed educational quality. 

The MBA courses offer flexibility in the choice of specializations, minor tracks, and projects. Students can choose their preferred topics from a variety of electives/specializations. This MBA program is well-suited for aspiring job applicants that aim to reach leadership positions. The MBA degree can improve their career in management consulting, strategy, development, sales, marketing, HR, etc.

The executive MBA is extended over a shorter duration; the EMBA course from NMIMS Global Access, for instance, is offered over 18 months. The EMBA bears slightly fewer fees than a typical, full-time MBA course. The course offers a specialization in business analytics.

The national-level accreditation by NAAC is A+, which is only awarded to institutes that display the highest standards in education. The course trains students in the application of business analytics in finance, marketing, HR, supply chain, ML, Big Data, etc.

upGrad also offers numerous MBA courses for aspirants, fine-tuned to their requirements.

They are:

  1. Executive MBA by NMIMS
  2. MBA by Deakin Business School (DBS)
  3. MBA by Liverpool Business School
  4. MBA in Digital Finance and Banking by Jindal Global Business School
  6. MBA by Chandigarh University
  7. MBA in Product Management by Duke CE and Deakin Business School
  8. MBA in Digital Marketing by Deakin Business School and MICA


MBA courses are designed to facilitate career growth amongst aspirants, applicants and alumni. The choice between MBA vs EMBA should be a decision for the applicant to make, depending on their unique expectations, requirements, and career prospects. All the factors that will ensure a well-informed decision have been included in this article. 

upGrad plays a vital role in offering MBA, EMBA and Global MBA programs. As India’s largest online higher education portal, upGrad ensures multiple quality-checks across the higher education process. upGrad is actively engaged in managing online lectures, hosting industry projects, and offering learning support through industry mentors and student success mentors. 

Dedicated doubt resolution forums for the discussion of Q&As, expert feedback and assessment, and other academic aid are also offered by upGrad. ‘Basecamps’ are organised to facilitate career-building workshops among students, professionals, peers, professors, and alumni. upGrad’s advantages in cross-industry networking, group discussions, and feedback sessions are guaranteed to build a strong career profile. 

To learn more about the MBA, EMBA and Global MBA programs, visit ‘Online Courses & Education Programs for Professionals | upGrad’.

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