Executive MBAs offer the chance to study part-time for an invaluable degree while experiencing different countries and cultures. Leah Larkin spoke to EMBA grads around the world - and found universal approval
Demuri Kasradze, 34, a surgeon from Tbilisi, Georgia, could not support his family on a physician's salary in his native country. He switched to business, started his own company and is now working towards a Cross Continent MBA at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, North Carolina.
Lisa De Boer, 32, holds a doctor of pharmacy degree. She, too, wanted out of the clinical environment. De Boer, from Madison, Connecticut, started her own consulting company and now pursues a Duke Cross Continent MBA (tuition $74,000), taking courses both in Germany and the US - while running her company at the same time.
"I think it's worth it," says De Boer. "My husband [a physician] has an MBA and no longer practices medicine. He thinks his MBA is much more valuable than his MD."
There is no mass exodus from hospitals and laboratories to boardrooms, but now, more than ever, an MBA is seen as a ticket to success. After several years on the job, more workers are heading back to school in pursuit of the coveted degree - most on a part-time basis. These days most part-time programmes are known as the executive MBA (EMBA). They are geared toward more experienced people who are working full time.
The Executive MBA Council, a non-profit association of universities and colleges, states that 185 schools worldwide, which are members of the organisation, offer 212 different EMBA programmes. The council estimates that between 75 and 100 students are enrolled in each programme.
"Even during the economic slowdown, schools are doing well. Students are using this time to beef up their knowledge. Enrolments are up," says William Cox, director of Cox Communications Consultants and author of several books on MBA education.
Many schools, including Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, now stress a 'global' aspect to their programmes to enhance their reputation. They add international courses to their curriculum, recruit more students from abroad and offer short trips or residential stints in other countries. Courses are usually taught in English, although there are some bilingual programmes, such as the International Executive MBA. This one-year programme, whi