While trading a path which will lead you to success, you are bound to come across several challenges and shortcomings before reaching your goal. But if you are undaunted in achieving the feat, you must be aware of the adverse situations you may come across. If you are at the mid-level of your career and contemplating getting an Executive MBA degree, analyzing the challenges along with the advantages would give you the required reality check.
In the previous article of the Careers360 Executive MBA series we had talked about the advantages of Executive MBA. This article brings to you the challenges you may face while pursuing Executive MBA.
Here we bring to you the challenges to prepare yourself for while pursuing Executive MBA.
Gap in work for a year – It is not possible to pursue the full time programme along with a regular job. The very condition to opt for this mode is to take a break from work for at least a year. Although the students and alumni members vouch for the credibility in programme, there would be a gap in your professional experience and salary for a year nonetheless. If you are planning for a career change or go for entrepreneurship or getting a corporate sponsorship, going for the Part Time mode would be more feasible for you.
Rigorous curriculum - The full time MBA, which is conducted for 2 years, is crunched into a year in the full time 1-year EMBA. Needless to say, how rigorous the programme would be. Given the fact that the curriculum is designed for the mid-level professionals, the burden of courses and the electives is vast. After the classes, projects and assignments, the students are hardly left with time to pursue other interests. Speaking about the rigour, Biju Nair, an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad PGPX and Director, Cognizant says, “In just 4 months, we completed 20 courses of the Building Blocks. The rigour involved cracking 15-20 cases per course, submitting 4 to 5 graded reports, making class presentation for the rest, getting surprised by quizzes that not only tested but also shook up our basics, doing research projects and solving gruelling end term exams.”
High Fee structure - The range of fee for the full time Executive MBA programmes at top B-schools is from Rs. 14 lakh to Rs. 30 lakh. Undoubtedly, the fee for the full time Executive MBA programmes would be higher compared to the Part Time programmes owing to the factors like higher number of contact hours, diverse curriculum, residential programmes etc. Apart from the corporate sponsorship, the students mostly rely on their personal savings and loan.
Complex admission process – Unlike the Distance MBA, the admission process at the full time Executive MBA programmes are quite complex where the selection process is of 2 or 3 stages. The first criterion is to take GMAT or equivalent exam conducted by the B-School, clearing the cutoff scores. Apart from the Personal Interview rounds, the top B-schools offering Executive MBA like IIMs, IIFT Delhi, SPJIMR Mumbai etc. conduct other rounds of selection process like written test/essay writing/Statement of Purpose (SoP), letters of recommendation from previous employers, psychometric test etc. The long selection procedure might pose as cumbersome for the Executive MBA aspirants. ISB Admission Director states the reason why getting a high GMAT score is not enough to get admission to the programme, “it is helpful to have a good GMAT score, but the evaluation process ensures that a candidate with a high GMAT score and a one-dimensional personality cannot get an offer of admission to ISB PGP. So even if you have a good score, you will need to focus on building a strong application and presenting your case well. This includes essays, recommendations, activities and awards, etc.”
Higher expectation from faculty – Since the Executive MBA students have more than 5 years of experience in managerial roles of different functions, the faculty members have higher expectation from the students. They expect them to be already aware of the basic management theories and rely more on practical assignments than theoretical classes. Also, the faculty members often expect the students to have prior conceptual clarity which might not be the case for every student. While some student have lesser work experience compared to others, some may belong to a different function or role altogether.
Adapt to a different lifestyle all over again – The full time EMBA programmes are mostly residential. This means that the students would have to spend a year in the campus. Although it might feel like an exciting prospect of going back to the good old school days, but this also implies adjusting to a different lifestyle altogether. The average age of the Executive MBA students is above 30 and by that time they are most likely to have started their own family. Hence it would be all the more difficult for them to spend a year away from the family members and get settled in the new routine. However, some institutes like ISB offer accommodation of the students’ family members as well, in that case giving them enough time after attending classes, completing assignments and preparing for competitions would be a different challenge altogether.
Getting the right placement – After the completion of the programme, the EMBA students have 2 options, either to go back to their previous employer or get placed to a new organization with a new role or similar role as that of the previous organization. Most of the time, students feel the obligation to go back to their previous employer if the programme has been sponsored by them. In other cases too, fulfilling the return of investment is often difficult owing to the hefty fee. Moreover, if the students decide to go through a change in career path, the remuneration offered to them is almost similar to their pre-EMBA days as they are yet to gain experience in that particular field. Hence, fulfilling the return of investment or getting the dream job might be a hindered process.
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