By Jessica Brown, Senior Manager, Knowledge Services, AACSB International
MBA and EMBA are two of the many business degree paths that students may choose to enhance their education and careers. While the master’s generalist category includes a number of different degree titles that are considered broadly equivalent in educational focus to the MBA, the most immediately recognized and discussed are probably the MBA and EMBA. These two degree titles are what a lot of people think of first when looking for a business school, but, once students reach out to potential schools, it becomes clear that choosing the degree title is just the first step. Which disciplines are available and how those programs are delivered can be as important to students as the degree title itself. Business schools worldwide differentiate their degree programs in a variety of ways, from student experience and research opportunities to detailed focuses on specific fields and delivering programs in the times and ways that work best for their students’ needs.
On the 2013-14 AACSB Business School Questionnaire (BSQ), 533 AACSB-accredited schools worldwide reported offering at least one MBA degree, while 243 reported offering at least one EMBA degree. The overall numbers show that an average of four MBA programs and one EMBA program are offered at each school, but when the data are broken down by region, the number of MBA programs per school is highest among reporting schools in the Americas. As the data from the Americas represent more than 80 percent of the reporting schools, breaking out the regional data is one way to better understand how the data reported by AACSB-accredited schools from other areas of the world may differ.
2013-14 Programs Reported with MBA or EMBA Degree Titles at AACSB-Accredited Schools
One way that schools can differentiate their programs is by offering specific field or discipline concentrations for their degrees. Depending on the school, this approach may be in the form of an official discipline for each degree (such as awarding an MBA in accounting) or as a major focus for the degree (such as awarding a MBA degree with a concentration or focus on accounting). On the annual BSQ, schools are asked to provide a focus discipline for each degree program listed. For many MBA programs, the discipline may be listed as General Business to indicate that the program is an overall generalist degree without any additional specialization, but increasingly MBA programs are being reported with different disciplines as schools continue to tailor their MBA programs to meet student and industry needs.
The data charts below illustrate that General Business and Management are still the strong leaders among the disciplines offered for both EMBA and MBA degrees, but other disciplines are also well represented. While General Business and Management were the most commonly reported disciplines for the EMBA degree (86.9 percent of reported EMBA programs), at the MBA degree title, those two disciplines accounted for only 51.4 percent of the reported MBA programs. At the MBA degree title, Finance, Marketing, and Other (a category for disciplines beyond the standard 27 disciplines collected on AACSB surveys) were the next most commonly reported disciplines, with another 28.4 percent of MBA programs reported with one of the remaining 23 disciplines.
2013–14 BSQ: Five Most Common Fields or Disciplines by Percentage of MBA Degree Programs Reported
For the EMBA, while other disciplines represented a smaller portion of those reported overall, the disciplines other than General Business and Management that appeared in the five most commonly reported were not the same as those for the MBA. At the EMBA level, International Business and Health Services / Hospital Administration joined the Other category to complete the top five.
2013–14 BSQ: Five Most Common Fields or Disciplines by Percentage of EMBA Degree Programs Reported