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Tips for choosing the right Executive MBA programme

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You've decided that taking an Executive MBA is the right path for you but how do you choose the best one? Visit the Rotterdam School of Management to find out. [Contributed by Rotterdam School of Management]

"How do I know which EMBA to choose?” This is probably the question that we hear most often at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, and rightly so. Choosing the right EMBA programme amongst all the offerings available can be a daunting task. However, through proper investigation and preparation you can make an informed choice. 

1. Time management

Time management is a major consideration when deciding to embark on an EMBA. Prospective students always ask how they will combine family, work and life with studying. My advice to candidates is to gain the 'regular' schedule of the programme that they are investigating as soon as possible to get a sense of the time commitment required. Furthermore, it is extremely useful to speak to current EMBA students and alumni to hear about how they structure their time. This often provides a lot of clarity. And, it reinforces the fact that candidates are not alone — most of the EMBAs lead very busy personal and professional lives, just like the candidates investigating the programme. We are always happy in RSM to provide contact details of students and alumni who are more than glad to share their RSM and EMBA experience. 

2. Profile and programme fit

Candidates are often concerned about their profile and whether they fit the programme they are investigating. I urge prospective candidates to get in contact with Admissions staff to discuss their profile and eligibility to apply. RSM has dedicated Admissions staff members who will gladly sit down with candidates to assess their CV and discuss their MBA aspirations and application.

Furthermore, RSM encourages candidates to come for a campus visit. They typically will have a personal pre-application discussion with one of the Admissions managers after which they will be linked to a current student with a similar profile and join him/her and other EMBAs for dinner. Afterwards, they will sit in on an EMBA class to get a feel for the in-class dynamic and environment. This is extremely helpful for candidates to assess whether the non-quantifiable aspects of their decision such as environment, ways of teaching, school orientation etc. fit their preferences. Basically, it answers the question: “Would I feel comfortable coming to school here?” — which is one of the most important questions to answer.  

3. Funding

Asking and/or securing funding is another major consideration for prospective EMBA candidates. We advise candidates to engage in their application process and funding-seeking process simultaneously to ensure that they receive an offer early in the cycle. When discussing funding, being able to prove an admission to a programme often adds to an employee's 'negotiation power'. We provide candidates with a business case that they can use when approaching their employers for funding, citing testimonials from previous sponsored candidates and sponsoring employers. Most schools also have financial aid offices dedicated to helping candidates investigate their personal funding options. We also advise on a basic level on the beneficial tax rebate options available, if applicable. 

4. Personal and career impact

Make sure that you assess the personal and career impact an EMBA will have. At RSM, we believe that the EMBA should be a transformational experience. That is why we do everything we can to ensure that the programme challenges the assumptions of our students and causes them to reflect on what they do and rethink some of their ways of working. Our Personal Leadership Development helps our students to build their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses. Innovative and creative teaching methods such as in-class exercises, simulations, group work, discussions, case studies, peer reviews and mentoring help them to develop deeper self-knowledge and identify practical ways to apply their knowledge.

Executive MBA candidates have to apply themselves in real situations, they receive feedback on their performance, they re-examine their actions, and work on areas for improvement. This is about reflection, discovery, and application. All of this leads to well-rounded individuals that start carrying themselves differently in the workplace. They go through a lot of (positive) change, and it shows. We hear from our participants that, before long, they start getting more new projects coming their way, they start to be involved in more strategic initiatives/decisions, they start to lead and/or to lead more people and, ultimately for some, this brings about career progression and change.  

If you wish to make an informed choice about your EMBA, visit us and we will gladly share more. 


Contributed by Rotterdam School of Management

Rotterdam School of Management

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