Do you have experience in the professional world, but want to go further in your career? If so, an executive MBA (EMBA) could be the right fit for you.
If you’re thinking about going back to school, however, you may be worried about the time commitment and how classes could interfere with your already busy professional life. Luckily, online executive MBA programs are geared towards students who are already working. EMBA online programs are designed for professionals with busy lifestyles, making advanced education accessible even if you are working 9-5.
Pursuing an Executive MBA Degree Online
If you’re working, make sure that the EMBA program you choose can provide you with actionable information that you can use right away to be better at your job. Business theory is important, but the ability to understand best practices and put them to work is what moves businesses forward.
Whether you choose to get your EMBA in a traditional classroom setting or online, it’s important to know that you’ll be getting a wealth of knowledge beyond what you’d get from the standard MBA experience. Students in EMBA programs typically bring years, and even decades, of work experience to the classroom. This means that class discussions are lively and filled with real-world examples of problems and solutions. This allows for greater depth of conversation than you would find in a standard classroom setting, with students who have yet to experience the real world of business.
One of the key goals of executive MBA programs is to fill knowledge gaps currently experienced by the class. In sharing areas in which you are lacking information and skill, you’ll be able to help your instructor learn how to provide you with valuable information that you can put into practice immediately. As other students share knowledge gaps that they experience, you may be able to put some of your business acumen to good use in order to help them come up with solutions for their business problems.
At the end of an EMBA program, students walk away with an enhanced knowledge of best practices in business, and they are often seen by their employers as a more valuable asset. For many graduates, this results in a raise and a promotion. Graduates have also gained a valuable new network of fellow EMBA graduates.
While many graduates choose to put their newfound skills to good use in their current job, some move on to other opportunities, either within their own company or at a new company.
EMBA Career Paths and Median Salaries
Let’s talk about the most common career paths for EMBA graduates, as well as the median salary for each career path.
It’s important to note that there are many different factors that can impact salary ranges, such as years of experience, additional education, recommendations, and cost of living in the area.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Average Salary: $159,000
Many professionals who graduate with an executive MBA degree go on to become chief executive officers of large corporations. The life of a CEO can be stressful, but the payoff can be huge. CEOs are responsible for all company outcomes, and they are typically responsible for the vast majority of large decisions that need to be made.
In addition to being an expert in their field, CEOs also need to have top-notch social skills, a charismatic leadership style, and the courage necessary to make big decisions (even when those decisions aren’t popular).
The day-to-day duties of a CEO can vary widely from company to company. The CEO is the top-level executive in the company, which means that all other executives report to him or her. It’s important that a CEO knows how to delegate, without micromanaging. CEOs must have a clear vision for where the company is headed, and they need to be able to articulate that plan in a way that motivates and encourages top leaders in the company. Many efficient CEOs are on a first name basis with their employees, and they strive to understand how the decisions they make affect the everyday lives of other people who work for the company.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Average Salary: $130,000
Working below the CEO of a corporation, a CFO has grand responsibilities. Day-to-day responsibilities differ slightly from company to company but, no matter where they work, CFOs are in charge of all items related to finance. This includes budgeting, contract negotiation, fund solicitation, accounting, and cash and credit management. It’s important that CFOs keep excellent records and reports, as required by legal regulation agencies.
Director of Operations
Average Salary: $89,000
Directors of operations are tasked with employee management, and they are often responsible for ensuring that employees are doing their jobs. Often, directors of operations are also responsible for making purchases necessary to the success of the company. Individuals in this position may work closely with human resources to make sure that employees have everything they need in order to be successful.
Directors of operations lay out policies and procedures that must be followed by all employees. This includes items such as when employee reviews will be conducted and when contracts will be distributed, as well as more mundane tasks such as what to do in the event of a fire drill. In many cases, directors of operations are responsible for all logistics within an organization. For large organizations with multiple locations, directors of operations may face the challenge of working remotely for some of those offices.
Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Average Salary: $139,000
A chief operating officer works directly below the CEO of a company, and he or she has a large number of responsibilities. While the CEO’s job is to oversee that everything within the company is running smoothly, the COO’s job is to ensure that all the pieces are in place to allow this to happen. When a problem comes up, the COO is first on the scene to solve it.
A COO is essentially in charge of quality control for the entire company, from the quality of the workplace and the employees, to the quality of the company’s goods and services. COOs receive constant data updates on what is and is not working well, and they must use this information to improve the overall well-being of the company.
Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Average Salary $156,000
In today’s digital world, more and more companies are employing chief information officers. The CIO’s job is to oversee all things related to information technology. This can include oversight of IT issues within the company, from making sure that the network infrastructure is functioning and that all employees have the hardware they need, to making sure that the company network is secure and that marketing, media, and advertising teams receive technical support.
As technology changes, so do the expectations associated with the CIO role.
Executive MBA Curriculum
An executive MBA degree takes two years to earn. Unlike traditional MBA programs, an EMBA program does not require an internship, as many students have full time jobs. While standard business topics are covered, it’s understood that students in EMBA programs already bring a wealth of knowledge to the classroom, and they do not need courses in basic business theory in order to be successful.
One of the most important parts of an EMBA online program is leadership development. As a professional, you may have already established a certain management style at work, for better or for worse. Leadership development courses will help you analyze your own unique brand of leadership, find your unique strengths and weaknesses, and see how you can improve. You’ll learn leadership techniques that you’ll be able to put into practice immediately, and you’ll be able to report back to your instructors for feedback on your implementation.
You’ll also take management communication, which will help you to improve your public speaking abilities, to learn how to persuade others during contract negotiations, to project confidence, and to improve your overall communication skills. After all, management communication skills are essential for any executive who is ready to move up the corporate ladder.
As a leader in the workplace, you’ll face a number of ethical challenges along the way. In your business ethics course, you’ll discuss ethical issues with other students and instructors, thereby gaining unique perspectives on deciding what is the right thing to do in any given situation. You’ll look at case studies of how businesses handled tricky situations, and you’ll debate what the ethical course of action should have been. Students can gain an entirely new perspective on business issues during business ethics class.
You will also take classes on managing the business enterprise, in which you’ll learn about the psychology behind the management of a successful company. Essentially, you will discuss how to get people to do what you want them to do, and how to keep them motivated.
While great leaders make management look easy, it’s anything but. An executive MBA degree can help you become the leader, manager or high-level employee you want to be.