MBA, MBA Programs, MBA Preparation

EMBA Candidate: Are You a Good Candidate for an Executive MBA?

May 16 2022 By The MBA Exchange
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An executive MBA (EMBA) candidate typically has more professional experience than candidates for traditional MBA programs. If you’re applying to programs for EMBA candidates, chances are you’re looking for a high-quality experience that updates your skills and enhances your networking opportunities, without needing to step away from your acting career in order to complete your studies.

EMBA candidates have to compete with other high-powered corporate executives and senior managers. In order to be a strong candidate for executive MBA admission, you have to stand out from a field filled with other successful movers and shakers. Can you articulate, demonstrate and impress upon admissions committees that you’re the one they should admit as an incoming EMBA student? 

At The MBA Exchange, we have more than 20 years of experience supporting executive MBA candidates, and we can help you understand the possibilities of being an EMBA candidate for you.

What is an EMBA Candidate?

Let’s start by establishing the basics of an EMBA candidate meaning. What does it mean to be an EMBA candidate? EMBA candidates are individuals with extensive professional experience and achievements who would like to add experience and further credentials to an already-impressive resume. You don’t need a traditional MBA program to give you an initial boost. An EMBA program tailored for older applicants with more skin in the game is likely to be a better fit.
What is an EMBA program like? Programs for EMBA candidates focus on leveling up advanced professionals. Here’s what you need to know to figure out if becoming an EMBA candidate is the next right move for you.

What Makes a Good EMBA Candidate?

Good EMBA candidates are working from a strong personal and professional base, but are also forward-focused and interested in finding and pursuing new opportunities in an ever-shifting and constantly evolving, often international, business world. Here are some of the different ways to look how to compare EMBA vs MBA programs.

EMBA Candidate Experience

EMBA programs aren’t for new college graduates. Most people who become EMBA candidates are between 30-50 years old. If you’re an EMBA candidate, you likely have at least 8-10 years of full-time work experience under your belt already, and you’re looking for new opportunities for personal and professional growth. (Because EMBA candidates tend to have more extensive professional resumes, test scores typically won’t weigh as heavily. Learn more about what’s a GMAT for EMBA candidate success.)

EMBA Candidates Keep Their Jobs

Most of the EMBA candidates that we work with at The MBA Exchange are looking to continue working full-time while pursuing flexible study options like online, evening, or weekend sessions. It could take you 1-2 years to complete your EMBA course of study, as you’ll be accomplishing this in the space you clear around your career without taking time off work for school.

EMBA Candidates Accelerate Their Careers

After completing an EMBA program, you’ll be perfectly positioned to put the pedal to the metal and hit the gas on your career development. Networking opportunities, glimpses at future opportunities, and cutting-edge instruction all combine to give you the fuel you need to accelerate your professional development for real. After graduating from an EMBA program, you’re most likely to remain in your industry, with salary gains and promotion opportunities coming your way within the next 2- 3 years.

The Most Important Qualities for an EMBA Candidate

To be a strong candidate for an executive MBA, it’s not enough to just have the full-time career years locked down. You’ll need to be able to show a variety of strengths in your EMBA application materials. Look over these key executive MBA candidate attributes and consider how you’d finish in comparison with the competition.

Career Progression

An EMBA candidate is often an individual who’s visibly headed to executive or senior management tier positions but could use a stronger academic credential and updated training to make that jump. That said, it’s essential that your MBA resume be able to document the progression and advancement of your career during your years of full-time work experience. Listing each job title you’ve held separately on your resume for a b-school application is a good way to present your career progression for fast visual impact.

Cross-Cultural Sensitivity

EMBA candidates work closely with others, including other students, faculty, and associated professionals and experts. At the executive level, an ability to deal productively with cross-cultural differences becomes essential. Can you connect with people who don’t share your same background and find cross-cultural opportunities that can benefit all? These soft skills or people skills are just as necessary as your high GMAT score when it comes to your EMBA candidacy.


If you want to make it through initial applicant screenings and get an invitation for an MBA admissions interview, EMBA adcoms are going to need a demonstration of your communication capabilities. Can you get yourself across on paper, or handle complex concepts and still communicate clearly on the fly? Essay questions, interviews, and other communication challenges are designed to test these executive MBA candidate attributes.


The application process you’ll face as an EMBA candidate is rigorous, multi-strand, and full of opportunities for missed chances and temporary losses of professionalism. However, it’s precisely your professionalism throughout the entire EMBA application process that’s being observed by adcoms. Keep on top of your application demands and deadlines, reply promptly to correspondence related to your EMBA candidacy and stay professional at all times as you pursue EMBA admission.


You need to be willing and able to show your investment in your EMBA program of choice. Learn about specific program offerings, visit and meet instructors, current students, and even adcoms and generally take the time to do the reading when it comes to being an EMBA candidate. Do your target business schools prefer GMAT or GRE scores from EMBA candidates?  How important is an international experience to your top choice of EMBA program?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you might even want to take time to further improve and develop your profile before deciding to apply to an EMBA program. Getting your candidacy evaluated by the experts at The MBA Exchange is one good way to determine where you are in the process of becoming an EMBA candidate.

The Best Executive MBA Programs

Of the around 200 EMBA programs available to you worldwide, which is best for your current experience and future career goals? You can check out online EMBA program rankings from sources like Fortune magazine, and consulting with an admissions consultant from The MBA Exchange can help you learn more about EMBA opportunities you might not have been aware of otherwise. Here are some of the top-tier EMBA programs that the team at The MBA Exchange has assisted candidates to target successfully.

Columbia Graduate School of Business

Columbia GSB offers EMBA students access to 150 full-time faculty, as well as more than a hundred adjunct faculty members with unique perspectives and leaders in industries from across the world. You also benefit from the Executives in Residence program, regular chances to connect with visiting business leaders and guest lecturers, and members of a global alumni network 48,000+ strong.

You need to be an impressive EMBA candidate to make it at Columbia. What’s a good GMAT score for you if you’re aiming for this program? The average EMBA student starting at Columbia has a 724 GMAT score and a $130,500 median base salary prior to enrolling. EMBA candidates come to Columbia from all over the world, with 90 countries represented in class diversity metrics.

Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management

EMBA students at Northwestern Kellogg SOM can study at one of two locations within the United States (Miami, FL, and Evanston, IL), and can also take advantage of the Kellogg EMBA Global Network of five premier partner institutions around the world.

At Northwestern, executive students live and study on campus in specially-designed environments to stimulate growth, connection, and immersion. Northwestern boasts one of the most globally-oriented executive MBA networks out there.

University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business

At UC Berkeley Haas, EMBA students pursue a concentrated program of study that pays off with a degree in 22 months. Here’s how the EMBA program structure works. 25% of your EMBA curriculum is experiential, comprising a series of five field immersions. During on-campus study blocks, you reside in Berkeley’s Graduate Hotel with your classmates, taking time to collaborate and connect.

In the EMBA program at Berkeley Haas, terms 1-3 cover your core courses, leaving terms 4-5 free for elective pursuits. After 22 months at Berkeley Haas, you emerge with cross-disciplinary and collaborative experience and knowledge in areas like entrepreneurship and social impact.

Are You a Strong Candidate for Executive MBA Admission?

Find out if you’re ready to become an EMBA candidate this year, or if essential executive MBA candidate attributes still need to be fleshed out in your profile for admission success. It might be time to open your applications or to add needed experiences, leadership roles, or credentials in preparation for application next year.

Either way, get started now by submitting your free, confidential online profile evaluation request to the admissions experts at The MBA Exchange today, and discover how close an EMBA candidacy could be for you.