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I have been reading a lot of the information on the forums here and it has been extremely valuable. Thanks to everyone for that….
Unfortunately, I have not seen much information on executive MBA programs. I am in the process of researching them and hope to begin applying for the 2010 school year soon. I have narrowed it down to a few schools based on location (I am in the SF Bay Area), rakings, schedules (if out of my area, it cannot be more than once a month), and functional areas of expertise (entrepreneurship, leadership). In no particular order, they are:
Kellogg (Miami Program) Duke / Fuqua – Global Executive program Univ of Mich Ann Arbor - Ross UNC Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler UC Berkeley - Haas U Penn – Wharton (west)
Has anyone here applied for these programs? If so, can you describe the process you went through? Is it as rigorous as the full time programs? Is there somewhere I can find the acceptance rates for the exec MBA programs only?
Is anyone on the forum currently enrolled in any of these executive MBA programs? If so, can you tell me a little bit about your experiences there?
Are there any other exec MBA programs I have overlooked that would fit in this category?
If you're in the Bay Area, Wharton West and Haas would seem to be the logical first choices. I'm a current WEMBA student (East) and it's billed as rigorous as the FT program (same courses, instructors, load). After 3 weeks... check, check and double check. I don't know how others manage the travel logistics (we have someone flying in from Belgium), but convenience was important to me. I considered Kellogg and BSB as possible alternatives if I didn't get into Wharton, but the idea of flying into Chicago twice a month on a tight schedule was onerous. After consideration, Columbia became my actual fallback. Long story shorter: I'm a big fan of focusing locally if you can. You're probably going to be so busy the additional travel overhead will be another force pulling at your job, homelife and school.
If you really want to travel, Columbia, Cornell and NYU are respected NYC options. UCLA and USC to the south would also bear consideration. Chicago BSB. You might want to track down maybe the Business Week or FT EMBA rankings as a starting point to identify the usual suspects, as I'm certainly omitting a few.
The application process varies by school, obviously. Invest the effort and get the GMAT score you need to get in. Our class' median score was just over 700 iirc. Over 700 won't guarantee you much, however--there were decent interviewees on my day that didn't get in with 720. For my money, you've found this forum, that's probably half the battle. Spend the time and effort, get a good GMAT if you want to attend one of the better EMBA programs--it might be as much as 90% effort and only 10% ability if you ask me.
I didn't do receptions or networking, but I have more career experience than most of my classmates. My GMATs were good, my essays were probably a B (one good, two of them... ehhhhhhh...). No idea about my interview--it was a pleasant conversation but it was unstructured and I should have pushed the agenda a bit more to make my case for admission. In retrospect, I spent a lot of time and effort. I'm thankful it worked out.
Which leads me to my only real advice: have a backup plan. I only applied to Wharton. If that had failed, I would have had to pick up the pieces and regroup. I might have quit on the idea, as I wasn't truly excited about Columbia. Having been through the process, my conclusion is that it's fairly fickle. I think adcom does the best they can, but it's a difficult process--they really just have a keyhole view of their applicants. They make the best calls they can and benefit from having a good pool to choose from. I know I could have just as easily been one of the non-admits though. Have a backup plan.
Read back through and look for RVDs posts and go to whartonblog.com and execmbajourney.blogspot.com. Read about what doing this is really like. The various WEMBA blogs were a great source of information (and inspiration) for me (thx to RVD and Chairman P), I think I read every post. I recommend really trying to understand what the program is like--the official brochures and web site are going to tell you this is a lot of work and a big commitment, but I think it helps to get a picture of what that really means in real world terms.
Good luck. It's a good time to start the process imo--I think I started getting down to business about May of last year.
That way if you don't get into 1 or 2, you can fall back on 3 and it's pretty minimal travel.
If you don't get into 1, 2, 3 then you need to ask yourself how badly and how important an MBA really is for your future. You can go further down the line and add USC, Santa Clara, etc. but it may or may not be worth your trouble.
I took Wharton off of my list simmply because it is every other weekend for 2 years and I would be forced to stay in a hotel in SF every other Friday night. Since I live close by, this would be difficult to justify to my wife. Berkeley, on the other hand, has sessions about once a month as do most of the other programs I mentioned. Travelling for one weekend a month does not bother me much. I get a ton of vacation time from work (28 days a year) so I should be able to easily accomodate one long weekend a month.
I have not taken my GMAT yet but hope to next month. Many of the eMBA programs say they do not require it. Haas and Wharton do require it though. For those that don't, are my chances better if I take it anyways? My undergrad is not finance related (organizatinal behavior) so I assume it may help
Any thoughts on the Kellogg or Duke programs? I seem to be leaning towards Kellogg, Haas, and Duke (Fuqua global exec program).
Thanks for the response. After speaking to my boss (who is a Wharton Grad), I decided I could not make the schedule work. Taking off every other Friday for 2 years would be difficult at best....
I am currently applying to Haas and will see what happens. If I don't get in, I may reconsider getting my MBA altogether, or go to a local program like Santa Clara University or St. Mary's. At this point in my career (Director level in one of the world's largest software companies), I am not sure it will make a huge difference. In fact, even if I get into the Haas program, I am unsure if I want to pay the $150k....
How about evening weekend? no days off, and way cheaper than the Haas eMBA program.
I had decided against an MBA until I audited a couple of classes and realized I would be depriving myself of some serious synergies in the form of higher level thought.
Just my 2 cents--but if you're going to go through an MBA--why not go the extra mile and do Wharton? No offense to your or the other schools but you don't sound like someone that would be stimulated by St. Mary's or a similar school.
I have 4 smaller companies and am going to do what I have to do make time for Wharton.
Good luck whatever you decide!
If you want to chat off-line I'll tell you more about my auditing experiences. I did 3 full semester classes at Haas and a day long visit to Wharton.
Re: Top Rated Executive MBA Programs
28 Nov 2009, 23:48